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Moving mailboxes from one organization to another

Posted on 2006-05-15
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2008-11-11
We currently have a single Microsoft Exchange server SP1 serving about 1000 users. We plan to replace this server and eventually decommission it. Unfortunately when we bought this server a few years ago from a third party, they sold it to us with their_company_name as the organization name. Their_company_name organization name is all over our server and we just want to get rid of it.

Everything is working fine currently, mail is delivered to user@our_company_name.com.

For our new server, we're thinking about building it with our_company_name as the organization name and moving the mailboxes over. I've been searching all over the internet on how to do this and what the consequences are of moving the mailboxes between organizations. I found a lot of documents, but I'm still not 100% sure of what's involved.

It looks like it can be done with the Move Mailbox Wizard, however Outlook clients will need to be reconfigured? Mail will not be redirected automatically. I'm sure there are other consequences.

If it turns out to be too much work, we just may add the new exchange server to the administrative group, keep everything the same and just move the mailboxes over.


Question by:rocklin_rebel
LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 16686756
In case, you just need to change the email address format of all users in your organization from user1@thirdparty.com to user1@your_company.com, then, its possible, without doing migration from 1 organization to other organization.
You simply need to add a new SMTP address to all your existing users using recipient policies (Recipient Update Service) and make it primary.

How to Modify an SMTP E-Mail Address by Using Recipient Policies.

In case, you already have all your users with email address in the desired format, means user1@thirdparty.com and just wanna change the organization name being displayed in your Exchange System Manager, you can use the tool available "legacyDn.exe" for this.

How to use Legacydn.exe to correct Exchange organization names or Administrative Group names in Exchange Server 2003 or in Exchange 2000 Server.

Amit Aggarwal.


Expert Comment

ID: 16689136
Need to you use legacydn.exe


1. Obtain a copy of Legacydn.exe from the Microsoft Download Center. To do this, visit the following Microsoft Web site: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=5ef7786b-a699-4aad-b104-bf9de3f473e5&displaylang=en (http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=5ef7786b-a699-4aad-b104-bf9de3f473e5&displaylang=en)
2. For detailed information about the tool, review the Legacydn.doc file that is included with Legacydn.exe.
3. Copy the Legacydn.exe file to the Exchange 2000 Server or Exchange Server 2003 computer, and then double-click the file to open the graphical user interface (GUI).

If you use Legacydn to make changes to the legacyExchangeDN values in a production environment, you can no longer start any Exchange database.
4. If Legacydn.exe is not running in read-only mode, this means that you are working in a lab environment and have used the FORCEWRITE command-line option. In this scenario, you can make changes to the legacyExchangeDN values by using the Legacydn interface.
5. When you run Legacydn.exe, a log file named LegacyDN.log is created to record the startup search information and any changes that you make.

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Author Comment

ID: 16691986
Let me clear things up a little. Our current exchange server is running fine and all mail is delivered to user@our_company_name.com. This is our primary SMTP address.

The third pary organization name I'm referring to appears in our public folders, specifically in our Offline Address Book as /o=their_company_name and in our Schedule+ Free Busy as EX:/0=their_company_name. This value (their_company_name) also appear in the properties of everone's email address as MS:, smtp (secondary) and x400.

The users don't really see their_company_name, nor does it effect anything. We'd just like to get rid of it if we can.
I'm not correcting any problems on our current server, nor do I want to attempt to do anything drastic. I don't think these values can be changed without a complete re-install of exchange.

Let's say on the new server, I build Exchange with our organization name. Can we then move the mailboxes over and synch up public folders without too much difficulty?

Both servers are Windows 2003/Exchange 2003.

LVL 104

Expert Comment

ID: 16692376
You can only have one Exchange org per domain.
Therefore you are looking at either

- a new domain
- removing Exchange totally from the domain - scrubbing all trace of Exchange from the domain, so that you can install Exchange fresh.

As it would have to be a totally separate domain, you are probably looking at a manual migration, using exmerge. Pull the data out of the old site, and put it in to the new site.
The user workstations would then have to be reconfigured to pick up the new location.

With some careful planning you could probably do some co-existing. Look at the articles for sharing the SMTP namespace to get the email to flow between two servers.
You could also use trusts to try and ease the co-exist phase.

Public Folders have to moved in to PST files manually. There is no automatic method that I am aware of, without using third party tools.


Author Comment

ID: 16694948

Thanks for the help. This is starting to make some sense.

Let's say we want to remove exchange totally from the domain, how would we go about doing that? What do we do with all the data we currently have in exchange, and how do we get it on to the new server? If it's not well documented, I probably don't want to attempt it, especially if we can't afford to be down for any extended period. However it looks like you are suggesting the first solution anyway, creating a new domain and then co-exist for a while.

The way I understand exmerge, mailboxes would have to be created on the new server in order to merge them, so I'm guessing we would have to re-create everyone's mailboxes? Whatever the case may be, user workstations would need to be reconfigured.

Thanks, John
LVL 104

Accepted Solution

Sembee earned 2000 total points
ID: 16695121
Exmerge is a two step process - you exmerge the content out (in to pst files), then move them to the new server and exmerge them in to the new server.

Removing Exchange from the domain is literally a matter of getting all the content out in to PST files, then removing Exchange using add/remove programs.

You are then looking at a combination of these two articles to completely remove.


That depends on how many mailboxes you have in the server. You have a 1000, so I would give yourself an entire weekend. The strip out of Exchange once the data is out, and then reinstall of Windows/Exchange is about six hours.

You would probably need to build your self an interim relay server that has very long timeout windows to except email for your domain while you are down.

I have only done it once before for these reasons and I was down from Friday evening 5.30pm until late Sunday.


Author Comment

ID: 16700556
That sounds like some heavy lifting, and I do appreciate your input. We've been thinking about these solutions you've proposed with our staff here, and we just may forego these somewhat drastic procedures and go with KB article 822931 "How to remove the first Exchange Server 2003 computer from the administrative group". We were hoping Exchange would make it easy for us.

Maybe future versions of Exchange will deal with these types of scenarios.

Since this organization name we want to get rid of is transparent to the user, and doesn't effect anything, we're just going to deal with it and leave it the way it is with the new server. This way users mailboxes are automatically re-directed, etc. The KB article 822931 is fairly straightforward.

We have a lot of POP and OWA accounts. Do you know how those accounts will be effected? I'm guessing the POP accounts will need to be re-configured. Currently our incoming/outgoing POP mail server is mail.our_company_name.com. Will the new mail server need to be something like mail2.our_company_name.com?

Will OWA be redirected?

Thank you,


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