Troubleshooting Guide

'Exchange is in recovery mode' errors

"Exchange is in recovery mode" is an ambiguous error that can be difficult to diagnose. It could indicate that Microsoft Outlook is detecting differences between cached data on the client machine and data stored on Exchange Server. But an "Exchange is in recovery mode" error could also signify misconfigured DNS settings or an Active Directory issue. This troubleshooting guide will help you pinpoint and fix "Exchange is recovery mode" errors in your environment.

  Potential Cause   Cached Exchange mode

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If an old email profile is used against an information store that was recovered or imported from another store, it can cause a conflict between local data and remotely cached data. The solution in such a case is to delete and recreate the Exchange Server profile for the Microsoft Outlook client in question.
More Cached Exchange mode troubleshooting tips:

Microsoft Outlook caching considerations

Cleaning up Microsoft Outlook after a dial-tone database restore

All about .OST files  


  Potential Cause   Domain Name System (DNS) failure
If a client machine is unable to resolve the Exchange Server because of misconfigured internal DNS settings, you may receive a (rather misleading) "Exchange is in recovery mode' error.
More tips and tools on resolving DNS failure:

DNS failure causing 'recovery mode' error in Exchange 2003

Free diagnostic tool for SMTP servers

Tools for automating DNS management

A primer on DNS and MX records

Nslookup: Check the DNS record associated with your domain

Reverse DNS lookup failure  


  Potential Cause   Active Directory
A failure to have the client rejoined to the proper domain (but not necessarily a complete failure of network connectivity) can also cause an "Exchange is in recovery mode" error. This is more of an Active Directory problem than an Exchange Server problem. But so much of Exchange Server's functionality is tied into how Active Directory works, so the two are essentially inextricable.
More Active Directory troubleshooting tips, tools and advice:

'Exchange is in recovery mode' domain issue

FAQ: Exchange Server and Active Directory

The Exchange Server and Active Directory Toolbox  

Related information from

  Fast Guide: Troubleshooting Exchange Server Event IDs
  Learning Guide: Exchange Server backup and recovery
  All-in-One Guide: Exchange Server backup and recovery
  Reference Center: Exchange Server administration tips and resources

This was first published in March 2007

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