Answer

Dismounted Exchange 2010 database refuses to mount

I've got an issue where an Exchange Server 2010 database dismounted and I can't get it back online. The only error I could find was event ID 5003. After some research, I discovered that this error is related to the server time being incorrect, but I double-checked and it was most definitely correct. What is the best way to solve this issue without going through a painful rebuild?

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An error message when trying to mount an Exchange database certainly isn't a great feeling. This is especially the case in Exchange 2010, where the failure is accompanied by a stack of red crosses and abbreviated words that you simply don't want to deal with and when you know that a flurry of calls about "Outlook not working" are on the way.

In your situation, the quickest way to get things working is to log onto the offending Exchange server, open an elevated command line prompt, type GPUPDATE, and then press Enter.

Why does this work? Well, as you mentioned above, it has to do with the server time. If you're running a domain-based network, you likely have a policy that syncs time for all devices to the domain's primary domain controller. Applying a GPUPDATE refreshes the policy and corrects any time skew that was preventing your Exchange 2010 database from mounting.

This particular error is more likely to occur on virtualized servers, as the time is less likely to stay in sync. Although this has been much improved recently, make sure to check the time source of your server.

Use the following command:

 W32tm /query /status

The output will display the last sync, the time server used and whether it was successful.

About the author:
Dave Leaver has worked in the IT industry for the last ten years as an IT support engineer. He currently works for an IT support company in Cheltenham, U.K., supporting more than 1,000 users and spanning more than 40 companies. Leaver specializes in Microsoft system migrations and Exchange Server. Leaver has also been a network administrator for the National Health Service and several large construction companies throughout the U.K.

This was first published in May 2013

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