A time consuming issue caused by the SBS 2011 to Windows Server 2012 Essentials Migration procedure

Overnight and today I have been working on Migrating from Windows SBS 2011 Standard server to Windows Server 2012 Essentials with Office 365 Hosted services.   The whole process appeared to be going pretty well until this morning when I noticed that Outlook 2010 could not connect to any of our existing internal mailboxes.   (Though the ones that were already connected and logged in, remained in).

Obviously, I required access to these mailboxes so that I could perform a manual export of the old mailboxes and import this data to the Office 365 cloud services.    Not having this mailbox access was really bad, and started delaying the migration dramatically.

Anyway, what then ensued was a few hours of trying to find the issue.   The strange thing was that Outlook Web Access on our SBS 2011 box continued to function, but outlook clients simply would not connect.    I looked at DNS, Encryption settings, Internal CAS URL’s and all that other normal stuff, but nothing worked.

Then it struck me….       I wondered if the server was no longer a Global Catalog. (The SBS2011 Box).

Sure enough, the Windows Server 2012 Essentials migration process had somewhere along the way turned off the Global Catalog without telling me on my old SBS2011 server.    Not a problem UNLESS you have a reboot at some point!  (I did).    What then happened is that the Microsoft Exchange Address Book Service (something that until today I though unimportant) would not startup unless the server remained as a Global Catalog.   I reenabled the SBS2011 machine as a Global Catalog, waited the 5 or so minutes for it to kick up, then started the Microsoft Exchange Address Book service.

The Outlook Clients then connected….

Gaaaaaah!   There is 5 hours I wont get back.   Hopefully you wont lose them yourself because you read this.