Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2013

Hi, can anyone confirm if I can cleanly uninstall Exchange 2003 then cleanly install Exchange 2013 in the same Domain (as an Exchange 2003 to 2013 upgrade scenario)?  We will have all mail data exported to PSTs prior.  Most of what I see posted says this is a possible scenario but people don't recommend because of the data migration part.  However, there will be no issue with us moving all mail data to a pst now then importing all data to Exchange 2013 via Outlook later.

Current environment has approximately 30 people on a Windows 2008 domain controller with a separate Exchange 2003 server and all is working fine.  All users use Outlook 2007 or above and are actually downloading their Exchange email to a PST file already (weird legacy setup).  The current one Mailbox store is only 2.3GB and we will make sure to export any other data (including Public Folders).

Our goal is to setup a Windows 2012 server with an additional 2012 domain controller vm and an Exchange 2013 vm.  The current 2008 domain controller will stay in-tact so that we have DC replication but we will eventually decommission the Exchange 2003 server (not a domain controller).

Thanks in advance,
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AmitIT ArchitectCommented:
If you are removing Exchange 2003 completely and then installing Exchange 2013. As that is the minimum requirement. That you should not have any Exchange 2003 in the environment. It will surely work.

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Riaan SmithNetwork AdministratorCommented:
Why don't you install Exchange 2010 onto a temp server - migrate all your mailboxes to the Exchange 2010 host from 2003, remove the 2003 server, then install Exchange 2013 on your new hardware / VM and migrate from 2010 to 2013?

I know it sounds like a lot of work, but its really not that bad - thats exactly what I did at work, with no problem at all?

It would save you from having to backup everything to PST and then reimport everything after you've recreated all the mailboxes? Would also retain all your distribution lists, etc...

Just a thought - I know its not what you asked, but might be worth considering.
eloredoAuthor Commented:
Hi RiaanSm, yes, under normal circumstances I would go that route.  However, we don't have access to Exchange 2010 (only Exchange 2013) and the customer already has most of their mail saved to a PST file (weird legacy setup).
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Riaan SmithNetwork AdministratorCommented:
I might be wrong with this, but don't you have 120 days after installing Exchange 2010 to activate it? So even if you don't have a license, you could run it in the trial period, with only 30 users that should be more than enough time to do the "hop"? That is a strange setup :-) Fortunately I only have 1 user who insists that his mail is downloaded to his local PST - the rest are all to happy to have it in Exchange. We have about 248 mailboxes.
AmitIT ArchitectCommented:
For 30 users installing 2010 will add too much of work. You just remove 2003 and install 2013. Remember you need to remove mailboxes for all 30 users in Exchange 2003 and then only you will be able to delete Exchange db. Note down the email address used by users, so you can provide same. Once 2013 is ready create new mailboxes and merge the data.
Riaan SmithNetwork AdministratorCommented:
Thats true - might be a bit of an overkill...
eloredoAuthor Commented:
If we have all the old data we need from Exchange 2003, can we just power off the old Exchange 2003 server and install Exchange 2013 on our new server and create our mailboxes for our existing AD users?  Would there be any reason we would have to do a mailbox removal and Exchange 2003 uninstall if we shut down the only server that has Exchange 2003 and the old mailboxes?

In this scenario, we would not plan to bring the Exchange 2003 server back online.  We would remove the Exchange 2003 member server (not a DC) from AD and DNS.
AmitIT ArchitectCommented:
You need to clean up Exchange 2003, before you can install 2013. Use add/ remove program to remove Exchange 2003 properly.
eloredoAuthor Commented:
We have the project approved and are confident that this will go as planned.  Thanks for the assistance.
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