Moving from Exchange 2003 directly to Exchange 2013!

I know there is no direct migration path between Exchange 2003 to 2013, and I just bit the bullet and purchased a new 2012 server and Exchange server 2013 with CALS.  I was planning on simply exporting all 15 user's mailboxes via Outlook 2010 to pst files.  Also exporting several public folders (not many 4 mail and calendar folders in total).  

I understand I will first need to remove Exchange 2003 from the 2003 Active Directory domain.  Once Exchange 2003 is removed from AD I can then go ahead and install Exchange 2013.

I forgot to mention I also purchased another server as well that will be our new 2012 DC.  I was planning on joining this server to the existing domain and having it replicate.

Anyway, I am just wondering if all that is needed is to remove Exchange 2003 is going thru add/remove programs on the server.  I am hoping it will allow me to remove it as well.  Also I know I need to disconnected each user to their respective mailbox beforehand.  I am hoping doing so will completely remove Exchange 2003 from AD.

I was thinking of saving the Outlook client steaming file for each user so their autocomplete entries will remain intact.  Am I looking at any other complications that I am not aware of?  What I mean are problems installing Exchange 2013 and also once I get it installed and everyone's mail in their mailbox will they have problems responding to previous emails, etc?
cmp119IT ManagerAsked:
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jeorgeConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Hi, please upgrade to Exchange 2010 first, then please wait for Exchange 2010 SP3 and migrate to Exchange 2013.

I would suggest you don't update the Domain and forest functional level at the moment. According to Exchange Server Supportability Matrix, Windows server 2012 domian/forest functional level is not supported yet.

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff728623.aspx

For more reference refer this block...

http://www.infoworld.com/d/microsoft-windows/you-cant-migrate-exchange-2013-207258

I hOpe it helps you.
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Chris HInfrastructure ManagerCommented:
For 15 users, nothing beats a fresh AD install.. Just saying.

And no, mail is mail.
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cmp119IT ManagerAuthor Commented:
What do you mean by "and no, mail is mail."?
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Chris HInfrastructure ManagerCommented:
Whether or not you'd have any issues with importing mail, i'm saying no.  Exchange is backwards compatible with all previous versions.  We went from 2000 to 2010 without a hitch.  

Your size network, you have the convenience of reinstalling active directory and starting off with a native 2012 forest.  It's never been a problem, but ADPREPs always neglect to do something that Microsoft doesn't find out until years later.
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Simon Butler (Sembee)Connect With a Mentor ConsultantCommented:
If you remove Exchange then you will lose everything - email addresses on groups, permissions etc. The biggest headache will be with old email calendar entries etc. The problems will continue for some time.

What is the rush to Exchange 2013 anyway? I and many of the Exchange MVPs don't consider it complete - it is rushed and missing a lot of functionality. Third party support is still weak and will be for a few months more. As suggested above, your best option would be to use downgrade rights, go to Exchange 2010 on Windows 2008 R2 which is a rock solid platform, then upgrade once the problems have been sorted out.

Simon.
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cmp119IT ManagerAuthor Commented:
Sorry for the delay responding.  So let me ask why is it suggested going to Exchange 2007 then to Exchange 2010, and then to Exchange 2013.  Why not skip Exchange 2007 altogether. My understanding is Exchange 2003 and Exchange 2010 can coexist and provide an ideal migration path.  I just want to make sure I get this straight.  The new exchange server has Windows 2012 Standard OEM installed.  I am hoping this will not be a problem.

I am also thinking of joining a Windows 2012 DC to the mix.  The existing AD 2003 domain functional level and forest functional levels are at Windows Server 2003.  Can I safely join a Windows 2012 DC to a 2003 AD infrastructure?
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cmp119IT ManagerAuthor Commented:
I am taking your advice and I am adding my first 2012 DC to the existing 2003 AD domain, and downgrading our new exchange server os from 2012 to 2008 R2, and also downgrading Exchange 2013 to 2010.  Thanks.
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