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Rename Domain in Windows 2003 server environ w/Exchange

Hi all,

we are running a very small network, 25 users, with a Win 2003 server as the main file server.  we would like to go to exchange for email and have bought the required material and licenses.

However, for Exchange you have to setup domains and Active directory, which I don't know much about.  I am making this exchange server the Domain controller since I don't have one already, but have to have one installed to install Exchange 03.

Question: Does your Domain name specified when you install the domain controller have to be a real domain name?  like www.microsoft.com that you pay for as a web address?  or do those two things not have anything to do with each other.  In other words, can I have anything for my Domain name that I specify at the domain controller?  I am looking at a domain as a glorified workgroup.  I don't need to grant rights and such as I only have 1 file server which I create local users on.


3 Solutions
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
No, the domain name can be anything you want when you set it up.  Exchange can then be told to manage e-mail for multiple DNS domains (my exchange server handles 6 domains right now).
A domain is VERY DIFFERENT from a workgroup and I would not call it a glorified workgroup. You may think of it as such, but technically they are very different.

When you make the server a domain controller then you will no longer have "local users" on your server.  A domain controller has no local user database to authenticate to since it runs Active Directory. You will add your users into Active Directory and they will log onto the "domain" instead of logging in locally to the server.  You will NOT want your normal users to log on directly to your server.

You will need to grant rights to files/folders because this will be how your users are able to access files.  

Now just a warning.....it is generally not a good idea to install Exchange on a domain controller because Exchange is very resource intensive.   But for such a small network....you should be fine IF you make sure you have a decent server that is capable of handling such a load.

If you are running Small Buissness Server then you have no option but to install Exchange on the same box. And just as an added comment you are recomended to use a different name for your domain like microsoft.local. It should be a name with extension that is name.ext and the extension should not be able to resolve to the internet like local, internal or something else that is not to long.
Exchange is also integrated with AD and therefore you will have to install AD and you will prefer to join your workstations to the domain.
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Regarding naming of an AD domain - it's a common practice to give the internal domain a name that is not able to be resolved on the internet, for security purposes.  domain.local or domain.ad or whatever.

Your implementation of Exchange 2003 is secondary in scale to your moving from a workgroup model to a domain model.  Domains, as described above, use domain user accounts as opposed to local user accounts.  Making that change is going to be considerably more involved than implementing Exchange once the migration is finished.
You need to promote your server to a domain controller using DCPROMO or the Manage your server wizard.
The process is fairly straight forward for a first domain controller - if you follow this article


This must be done first!!!!!! Exchange server will not work without Active Directory running
Once this is competed you would need to add all your users and computers in Active directory users and computers
(Which will appear in Administrative tools once the server had been sucessfully promoted)
You can use a domain name as mydomain.local if you wish or (if you must) your purchased domain name as long as you dont have your DNS server open to incomming from the internet allowed through your firewall! If this is done like this email configuration is automatic when exchange is installed as it already has the correct email domain. Other than that you can add another mail enabled domain for exchange to manage throught the system manager

You will then have to go to each computer and join it to the new domain.

Again a usefull article on this


After this is complete you can then start sharing files/folders from the server, create roaming profiles etc.
Map network drives using logon scripts etc.

Once this basic server network is working ok, I would then look at adding Exchange

Too many things in the pot at once could get complicated and confusing if you havent first got the basics of managing an active directory domain and server
ebarroukAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the great answers.  That is just what I needed.

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