Exchange 2007 SP3 schema upgrade – which domain and command should I use?

ITD_PHM used Ask the Experts™
Hello Experts

I'm going to upgrade our Exchange 2007 SP1 environment to Exchange 2007 SP3, but I'm a bit confused about how to do the schema upgrade.

Our domain-setup is as follow, except that I have replaced our company name with contoso.
contoso.local (root domain)
edu.contoso.local (education domain)
emp.contoso.local (employers domain)
shared.contoso.local (shared services)

Our important servers in this scenario are:

dc01.contoso.local (RID, PDC, Infrastructure, SCHEMA, DOMAIN NAMING)
EDU: (RID, PDC, Infrastructure)
dc03.emp.contoso.local (RID, PDC, Infrastructure)
dc04.shared.contoso.local (RID, PDC, Infrastructure)

As you can see, our Exchange servers are located in shared.contoso.local, and hosts mailboxes for the root and the employer's domain.

My question is now how do I upgrade the scheme from Exchange SP1 to SP3?

I have read a lot of articles, and I can see the best way to control it is to run: /prepareschema – from the CAS-server. But do I have to use the /DomainController parameter and point it to the dc01.contoso.local (the schema-master)?

And what about the /PrepareAllDomains parameter? Do I have to use this to prepare all my domains?

I know this is a very long and confusion questions, and my grammar and spelling is not making the understanding better, but I really hope that there is a kind expert somewhere out there, who will help me by answering my questions.
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Top Expert 2011

"Setup /PrepareSchema or Setup /ps must be run from a server in the same Active Directory site and domain as the schema master. Typically, the schema master role will be on a domain controller in the first domain created in the forest."

Setup /PrepareAllDomains prepares every domain in the forest.

Read this article it gives details on all prepare options and where to run them.
AmitIT Architect
Distinguished Expert 2017
Schema prepare or extension is done once only and it is present on only one server. Which hold the FSMO.

Second, if you have Exchange in other domains, use Prepare all domain switch and start the service pack update.

If you have any test lab same as prod, test in the lab first.


Hey Guys, thanks for yours answers.

Okay – so let me try to wrap up what you are telling me, to see if I'm getting everything right :-)

I will run the /PrepareSchema on dc01.contoso.local which is the scheme-master. After it has been updated I will run /PrepareAllDomains to prepare all domains for the Exchange SP3 upgrade.

I'm wondering: would it be sufficient to run /PrepareDomain:shared.contoso.local since we only have Exchange servers in this domain?

What about the /PrepareAD, do I have to use this command to anything, or is it only for first-time Exchange installations?

After the schema changes have replicated to all DCs, do I have to do anything else, or can I just start the GUI Setup on the first CAS-server?

I'm going to sleep now, but I will respond again tomorrow. Thanks to everyone answering.
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Top Expert 2011

Don't know if you already started the prepares, but yes you have to also do the /PrepareAD, it has to be run in the same active directory domain where the schema is, so for you: dc01.contoso.local

After everything has replicated well you can start the gui setup and start with the CAS, then HUB and last MBX server


Hey – once again thanks for the answers.

I'm sorry for not reporting back sooner, but I have used the time to read about the topology preparation. – unfortunately the reading have resulted in some new questions.

Okay – first:

1: Setup /PrepareLegacyExchangePermissions are only necessary if any legacy Exchange exists. (not important to me)

2: Setup /PrepareSchema – it will update my SP1 Schema (11116) to SP3 Schema(14625) - OK, no problem, I understand that.

(Actually I have found out that it is possible to use the Exchange 2010 SP1 schema update (14726) to prepare for the Exchange 2007 SP3. This will safe you for a schema upgrade if you sometime in the future are planning Exchange 2010)

3: Setup /PrepareAD will create the Exchange Security Groupes ect. + Prepare the domain which the command is run in. (Question1)

4:Setup /PrepareDomain will prepare the domain for Exchange. (The changes can be verified by the Object Version number…) (Question2)

But step 3+4 is actually making me confused:

PrepareAD will create security groups etc. in a new Exchange 2007 environment, but since this is already an Exchange 2007 org is it then really necessary for me?

PrepareDomain will prepare the domain/domains for holding Exchange 2007 servers or users. The change can be verified by the ObjectNumber, but a quick look at this table below reveal that Exchange SP1 to SP3 is identical in th ObjectNumbers – so is it required to run?

Exchange 2000 RTM        4406
Exchange 2000 SP3        4406
Exchange 2003 RTM        6936
Exchange 2003 SP2        6936
Exchange 2007 RTM        10628
Exchange 2007 SP1       11221
Exchange 2007 SP2        11221
Exchange 2007 SP3        11221
Exchange 2010 RTM       12639
Exchange 2010 SP1      13040

I know that people have already told me what to do once, but the reading is making me a bit skeptical simply because I don't understand it…

I hope that some of the Experts in here will make it clear in my mind once for all…

Thanks a lot…


Hi everyone -

Okay - it has been a while and I guess that there will not come any future answers, so it must be time to close this question.

I did the Exchange upgrade last week, and everything went fine... 2xMailbox (SCC), 2xCAS, 2xHT, 2xmanagement servers.

Everything is now up to date - SP3 - Rollup 3v2.

I did the scheme upgrade with 2010 SP1, and the rest of the upgrade with 2007 SP3.
Thanks to everyone answering.


The question was not answered compete, but part of the answer was useful to me.

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