How to setup a Windows 2003 domain with exchange for 7 computers

Posted on 2007-04-06
Last Modified: 2012-05-05
Been the kind of hand of person I am. I am trying to assemble a Windows 2003 domain in my house to learn about it and then study the books to take the MCSE exams. I had some experience with an already established Windows 2003 small  business server installation, but I want to learn more.

I am looking for a very simplified guide in how to setup a windows 2003 server domain with exchange for email for a group of 7 computers (I dont know why I pick the number 7, just a number). I have comptuers laying around and I will buy the server on a store. So basically, Windows 2003 server will come installed.

Looking for a guide in both installation, buying tips, etc.

Question by:supercoqui
Welcome to Experts Exchange

Add your voice to the tech community where 5M+ people just like you are talking about what matters.

  • Help others & share knowledge
  • Earn cash & points
  • Learn & ask questions
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • +2
LVL 96

Accepted Solution

Lee W, MVP earned 250 total points
ID: 18864861
STRONGLY recommend you save your money. If you don't have one decent machine, buy one decent machine (meaning dual core or better CPU with 2 GB or more of RAM).  Then go get a copy (free download) of Virtual PC or VMWare.  Setup a VIRTUAL domain to learn from.  This will make it much easier to "reset" as you play and learn.  (  Then, or rather before that, go spend a relative minimal amount of money on TechNet Plus Direct - $350 - it includes DOZENS of software titles, including Windows Server versions, Exchange versions, SQL versions, ISA, SBS, Office, and many others.  Use those CDs to install and setup your environment (they are not licensed for production use, but learning/testing should be fine).

Note: ask yourself what you want to do.  If you want to help people with Small Business Server, DO NOT spend the majority of your time, at least at first, learning server.  SBS and Server, though at the core they are the same, are actually VERY different in that SBS is designed to be managed by wizards by and large.  Standard server has FAR fewer wizards and does not include exchange (as SBS does).
LVL 74

Assisted Solution

by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy earned 250 total points
ID: 18865597
I can tell you from my own experience that you want to install SBS and not standard Server 2003.  That's exactly how I learned... when I put an SBS in my home about 3 1/2 years ago.  There are some folks who actually have nick-named SBS as "MCSE-in-a-box" because it allows you to learn so many different products.

Also, for less than the price of SBS Operating System (which runs about $499), you can become a registered Microsoft Partner and get the Action Pack for only $299.00 which includes most everything you need.  See for details.

(I started with a TechNet subscription and soon moved over to ActionPack because it was a better deal and I didn't want to get that technical).  :-)

LVL 96

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 18865628
TechNet and Action pack are two very different deals.  Action Pack is licensed for production use in your company.  Technet is not.  Technet INCLUDES 2 free tech support calls to microsoft - a $490 value - so in a sense (if you want to think of it this way), you are getting two discounted support calls for $349 plus a HUGE amount of MS software for learning FREE.
Free NetCrunch network monitor licenses!

Only on Experts-Exchange: Sign-up for a free-trial and we'll send you your permanent license!

Here is what you get: 30 Nodes | Unlimited Sensors | No Time Restrictions | Absolutely FREE!

Act now. This offer ends July 14, 2017.


Expert Comment

ID: 18865995
If someone had <20 users, and wanted to use many if not all the features of SBS (Exchange, Sharepoint, SQL, ISA, file/print, etc), would it be a reliable, stable and productive environment on just one (nicely powerful) machine?

Also, does SBS support a Quad Xeon CPU?
LVL 40

Expert Comment

ID: 18866144
Actually, I have both...  like so many experts here do, probably including all these experts commenting right now..  you get so much software with the Action Pak, including 10 licenses for XP Pro, Media Center Edition, SBS 2003 Standard, Server 2003, SBS Premium (SQL), etc., etc., etc.,   you cannot beat the price...  Technet is also a great learning tool, including scripting..  hard to complain as you certainly get your money's worth..
LVL 96

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 18866217
SBS supports 2 CPUs (where a CPU is defined by socket on the motherboard).  It SHOULD support as many cores/hyperthreaded appearing CPUs as those two sockets can give you.

One server (with sufficient RAM) should be able to handle the load for as many as 75 users (the SBS Max) in MOST organizations.  It does depend on what you are doing - and running an e-commerce site or database or doing LOTS of large emails MIGHT be stretching things, but for AVERAGE everyday small business use it should be fine.  I'll generally recommend 2 GB of RAM and a single CPU (with the hardware ability to support a second cpu for expansion) for a business of 20 users. 30-40+ users and you'll probably want to max out on the RAM.

Expert Comment

ID: 18866496
Thanks, leew
Any advice on an nterprise AV solution?
I am currently using Sunbelt Software Ninja for Exchange spam and email viruses, but I will be needing something to protect the server and push to the desktops as well.
LVL 96

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 18866521
You should probably ask your own question for that.  TECHNICALLY, it should be one question per post and you didn't even ask this one.

Expert Comment

ID: 18866594

I am a newbie here, so pardon the faux pas.

Author Comment

ID: 18866680
Thanks everyone, this is an even better solution that expected.
LVL 40

Expert Comment

ID: 18867755
Yes, especially when you are running SBS..  these SBS Experts do the site justice..    Although I don't run it, I have learned a lot from them..  :)

Featured Post

On Demand Webinar: Networking for the Cloud Era

Did you know SD-WANs can improve network connectivity? Check out this webinar to learn how an SD-WAN simplified, one-click tool can help you migrate and manage data in the cloud.

Question has a verified solution.

If you are experiencing a similar issue, please ask a related question

An article on effective troubleshooting
Windows 10 Creator Update has just been released and I have it working very well on my laptop. Read below for issues, fixes and ideas.
Windows 10 is mostly good. However the one thing that annoys me is how many clicks you have to do to dial a VPN connection. You have to go to settings from the start menu, (2 clicks), Network and Internet (1 click), Click VPN (another click) then fi…
In this video, viewers are given an introduction to using the Windows 10 Snipping Tool, how to quickly locate it when it's needed and also how make it always available with a single click of a mouse button, by pinning it to the Desktop Task Bar. Int…

726 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

Join & Ask a Question