Steps to upgrade from Exch2000 to Exch2003

Posted on 2006-10-22
Last Modified: 2010-03-06
I'm planning an exchange upgrade need some guidance on how to do this.  Here's my scenario:

I have a mixed Win2k, Win2003 server environment.  My PDC is on a Win2k box, which also happens to host my Exchange 2000 server.  I plan to buy 2 new boxes, one for a new DC, and one for a new Exchange 2003 install.  I want to ensure that I don't lose my mailboxes, GC, etc when I shutdown the old server.  

What steps should I follow to:
1. Move my DC to a new box (probably sticking with Win2k Server) and move all roles?
2. Prepare the domain for Exch2003?
3. Install a new exchange server and have all mailboxes and stuff move to this new machine?
4. Shutdown the old PDC without affecting my network?

I don't know much about DC's, roles. AD, etc - so hopefully a step by step would be great.

Question by:Jason Dupont
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Deal with the domain controller change and the new Exchange server as separate items.
Unless you have a real reason not to, I would suggest switching the domain up to Windows 2003 as well. If you are purchasing new machines then you will get Windows 2003 licenses so you may as well use them.

Do the domain first. You will need to forest prep and domain prep for Windows 2003.
Then introduce the machine that you are going to use as a domain controller as a member server and update it. Then DCPROMO the machine in.
Make it a global catalog and then leave the domain to settle. (GC:

For Exchange 2003, you will want to do what is known as a swing migration. This allows you to take your time and have zero downtime of email to the users.
I have instructions on doing the swing here:

Do not attempt to rush things - take your time. The initial replication of public and system folders off Exchange 2000 is very slow, so you need to allow at least a week, preferably longer before moving any mailboxes. Many people move the mailboxes first and then try and bring the public and system folders in afterwards, only to have a hit on performance and operation of Exchange.
Make sure that you remove Exchange correctly, my article covers what you need to do.

Don't worry about moving the roles until you are ready. This article explains what you need to do:


Author Comment

by:Jason Dupont
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My company is really tight on budget - so we're buying clones without Windows 2003 licenses (hoping to reuse Win2K Server licenses).  We already have 2 Win2003 servers (not DC's) on our domain, so do we still have to do a domainprep and forestprep?  (Is this related to Win2003 or Exch2003 ?)

When I DCPROMO the new DC machine - does it become a PDC?  (I think that concept is gone is Win2003 - everything is just a DC?)  If I bought a Win2003 license and made that a DC, does that mean there is no longer a PDC on the domain?

I'll read over your links shortly.  Thanks
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Expert Comment

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If you want the full feature set of Exchange 2003, including RPC over HTTPS then you will need to go to Windows 2003. RPC over HTTPS (Email access with Outlook without a VPN) requires at least one Windows 2003 DC/GC.

Are you sure that you can move your licenses across? If they are OEM licenses then you cannot. If they are retail licenses then you paid over the top for them (should have bought OEM licenses). Plus why are you using an OS that is seven years old?

If you introducing a Windows 2003 machine as a domain controller (not a member server) then you have to forest prep and domain prep. This is a different prep to the Exchange prep.
When you are introducing Exchange 2003 you must also forest prep and domain prep.


Author Comment

by:Jason Dupont
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After a budget review, Win2003 and Exch2003 are out - so I will just be moving the Win2k DC and Exch2k to seperate (new) boxes  From what I read in your links, your instructions should work for Exch2k -> Exch2k and Win2k DC -> Win2K DC migration as well.  (Correct me if I'm wrong)

The only thing left is DC roles.  Your link talks about setting up another GC, but what about the other (3 ?) roles of the DC?  Operations master is one role I've heard of...

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Sembee earned 250 total points
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Did you read the last link I provided at the That covers the AD roles.


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