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Formating Exchange Server 5.5 and NT 4 and Installing Windows 2000 With exchange 5.5

Posted on 2004-09-23
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2009-12-16
Hi there,

I have a Server which is running Exchange 5.5 and NT 4, we are having problems with that machine so i need to format it and upgrade the Operating system on it. Now my question is if i backup everything in Exchange and Note all the Information  That is set up in the current version of Exchange 5.5. Will i have any problems in restoring the Information to the Newly formatted machine.

What do i need to know, what should i look for and what should i do???

Ideally i want to put Exchange 2000 on the server. Is it better to Install 5.5 and make sure that works then upgrade to Exchange 2k? Help with this would be greatly appreciated... I do not want to start this whole process and have it fail on me..


Question by:Robertwedd
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Expert Comment

ID: 12134350

I cannot give you good advice on the backup/restore aspect you mention above, but I can help with some of your questions.

If possible, I would install Exchange 2000 on a new machine and migrate your users to it rather than installing 5.5 and then upgrading to 2000.  The reason I have for this is you then have a clean exchange install.  Both options will work, however I prefer a fresh Exchange 2000 install over an upgrade.  

Things you need to be aware of, you will need to be on a Windows 2000 AD network to run exchange 2000, also the exchange 2000 install extends the schema of AD so be prepared for the time involved depending on the size and scope of your network.  If your looking to migrate exchange 5.5 users to newly installed Exchange 2000 server let me know I have found some excellent documentation online to help through this process.  

I hope that helps a little, sorry I cannot help with the backup/restore part of the question as I would not want to lead you astray with my ideas on this when I have in fact never tried it.


Author Comment

ID: 12140410
Ok i see your point.

Now I was thinking during the evening. The main problem that I had was that i formatted what i thought was the BDC but it was actually the PDC, and have Installed Win2k Server on it along with SQL. Now what i was thinking do you think that if i promoted that server that is already running win2k to a PDC then configure all the machines to connnect to that machine. then Install exchange 2k on there and Migrate the users to that machine, then format the machine with exchange5.5 put w2k server in there make that a BCD with AD then Install exchange 2000 on there and migrate the Users back to that machine?

Do you think that this option would work? As i have been told as soon as one win2k machine becomes the PDC it has to stay the BDC, is this true..  Could you also send me the docs that you said you found on the Internet?

Any other suggestions would be welcome as i will be doing this whole process this weekend and really need to get this sorted out brfore everyone is back at work!!


Robert Wedd

Accepted Solution

sergold earned 2000 total points
ID: 12143980

Ok I think I understand what your saying and hopefully this will help.  

First, If you currently do not have a PDC in your NT network you will need to promote one of your BDC's to a PDC so that you have a read/write copy of the directory database.  Second once a PC is the PDC it has to remain the PDC of an NT network, unless you take it offline and and format it, which sounds like what you did.  After which you would need to promote another BDC to the role of the PDC on your network.  Now the rules change in a windows 2000 network.  There are no longer a PDC and BDC's, but rather once you have AD running we have just DC's (Domain controllers) and you can easily promote machines to act as DC's.  

This website might help explain it better then I can:

Now as to your question on migrating users from exchange 5.5 to a exchange 2000 server and then to another exchange 2000 server, yes this should work fine.  It might be more work that way though and if the exchange 5.5 server has enough hardware I would think about just doing the in place upgrade at that point, if possible.  Remember like I noted before, you have to have your network moved over to a windows 2000 AD network before you can install and run exchange 2000.  There might be a way around this, but I do not know it.  Here is the site I followed when I converted our network to exchange 2000, it links in all the related articles from Microsoft that you need, I suggest printing it out along with the associated Microsoft documents.  I think the website assumes a parallel install of exchange 2000 with another machine running exchange 5.5 and then migrating the user accounts.


So I think the only other thing you need to be prepared for is in order to do the above migration to exchange 2000, you need to have your network already running Windows 2000 AD in native mode.  To do this Microsoft has excellent documentation online, but I used this reference, starting on page 8 is the in place upgrade from an NT domain to Windows 2000 AD:


One cool note on upgrading the PDC to a DC for Windows 2000 AD is it will act as the PDC emulator so that older clients can still log into the domain (basically provides netlogon share).  One huge note here, once you switch to AD native you can no longer run windows NT BDC's on the network.  See this article for a quick overview:


Hopefully this helps you, the only other option I see would be to try the restore to the Windows 2000 machine running exchange 5.5, as I stated before I have never tried this, but I can say exchange 5.5 will run on Windows 2000 server in a Windows NT domain, so that might be an option too.

Good luck,

P.S.  Be ready for a long week-end and make plenty of backups as you go.  Also if you do migrate to a Windows 2000 AD domain, do not wait too long in promoting another server to the role of a DC for redundancy.

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