Transitioning from Exchange Server 2003 to Exchange Server 2010—-Step by Step

Step 1: Prerequisite

· Windows Server 2008 with Service Pack 2 or later or Windows Server 2008 R2 must be used for all servers running Exchange 2010 server roles or management tools

· .NET Framework 3.5 (Windows 2008 feature)

· Windows Remote Management 2.0

· Windows PowerShell v2 (Windows Server 2008 feature)

· Desktop Experience (Windows Server 2008 feature)

· Net. TCP Services started and set automatic (services.msc)

· Disable TCP/IP6 from Registry (if you use tcp/ip4)

· 2007 Office System Converter

· IIS for Client Access Role

· Active Directory Services Remote Management Tools (ServerManagerCmd –i RSAT-ADDS)

Step 2: Migrating from Windows 2003 AD Forest to Windows 2008 AD Forest

· Create user with domain admin, schema admin and enterprise admin role from existing AD

· Log on using new user name

· Run Dcdiag and Netdiag tools

· Bring the AD forest and domains to Windows Server 2003 Functional Level

· Insert Win2k8 Server DVD into Win2k3 DC

· Run following command from Command prompt

· d:\sources\adprep\adprep.exe /forestprep where d: is DVD ROM

· d:\sources\adprep\adprep.exe /domainprep /gpprep

· d:\Setup and select upgrade option to use existing DC

· Transfer FSMO Roles for a new Win2k8 DC with new Hardware

· Make one DC as GC

· Replicate AD database, GPO or wait tomstone to replicate

· Retire Windows 2003 DC

· Run DCPROMO (Uncheck this is last remaining DC)

· Raise new Domain Functional level to Win2k8

Step3: Transition from Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2010

· Bring the Exchange organization to Exchange Native Mode.

· Upgrade all Exchange Servers to Exchange Server 2003 Service Pack 2.

· Upgrade at least one Global Catalog domain controller in each AD site that will house Exchange Server to Windows Server 2003 SP2 or greater.

· Prepare a Windows Server 2008 (RTM or R2) x64 edition server for the first Exchange 2010 server.

· Install the AD LDIFDE tools on the new Exchange 2010 server (to upgrade the
schema by running d:Exchange2010\Setup /PrepareSchema or Setup /ps)

· Run d:\Exchange2010\Setup /PrepareAD /OrganizationName:your_organisation_name from command prompt where D: DVD ROM

· Install any necessary prerequisites (WWW for CAS server role).

· Run setup on the Exchange 2010 server, upgrade the schema, and prepare the forest and domains. (Setup runs all in one step or separate at the command line eg.

D:\Exchange2010\ /mode:install /roles:H,C,M

· Install Client Access Server role servers and configure per 2010 design. Validate functionality.

clip_image001 ServerManagerCmd -i Web-Server

clip_image001[1] ServerManagerCmd -i Web-ISAPI-Ext

clip_image001[2] ServerManagerCmd -i Web-Metabase

clip_image001[3] ServerManagerCmd -i Web-Lgcy-Mgmt-Console

clip_image001[4] ServerManagerCmd -i Web-Basic-Auth

clip_image001[5] ServerManagerCmd -i Web-Digest-Auth

clip_image001[6] ServerManagerCmd -i Web-Windows-Auth

clip_image001[7] ServerManagerCmd -i Web-Dyn-Compression

clip_image001[8] ServerManagerCmd -i NET-HTTP-Activation

clip_image001[9] ServerManagerCmd -I RPC-over-HTTP-proxy

clip_image001[10] ServerManagerCmd –I Web-Server Web-ISAPI-Ext Web-Metabase Web-Lgcy-Mgmt-Console Web-Basic-Auth Web-Digest-Auth Web-Windows-Auth Web-Dyn-Compression NET-HTTP-Activation RPC-over-HTTP-proxy –Restart

· Transfer OWA, ActiveSync, and Outlook Anywhere traffic to new CAS servers.

· Install Hub Transport role and configure per 2010 design (New internal/external SMTP connector)

· Transfer inbound and outbound mail traffic to the HT servers.

· Install mailbox servers and configure Databases (DAG if needed).

· Create public folder replicas on Exchange 2010 servers using Exchange 2010 Public Folder tool.

· Move mailboxes to Exchange Server 2010 using Move Mailbox Wizard or PowerShell.

· Re-home the Offline Address Book (OAB) generation server to Exchange Server 2010.

· Re-home the public folder hierarchy on the new Exchange Server 2010 admin group.

· Transfer all Public Folder Replicas to Exchange Server 2010 Public folder store(s).

· Review and verify Installation log, events, Exchange related Windows services, server roles

· Test Mail Flow, public folder, webmail, outlook config

· Run BPA

· Delete Public and Private Information Stores from Exchange 2003 server(s).

· Delete Routing Group Connectors to Exchange Server 2003.

· Delete Recipient Update Service agreements using ADSIEdit.

· Uninstall all Exchange 2003 servers and remove from domain.

Tools to use:







Exchange Management Console

Further Help:

Microsoft Technet

Keywords: FSMO, Exchange 2010, Exchange 2003, Exchange Server Roles, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2003

Important Warning: I am talking about messaging technology. It could be heart of your organization. So Prepare a test lab that simulate your circumstances and fit in your organisation. I created this instruction in a VMware lab environment. Visit TechNet web site to learn more about Exchange 2010 before you deploy in production environment. 

Cheers & Good Luck.

Author: LM Publications

This is me.

24 thoughts on “Transitioning from Exchange Server 2003 to Exchange Server 2010—-Step by Step”

    1. Hi Scott,
      It’s a good question. I don’t have it right now. I will try writing a step by step for going from Exchange 2007 to Exchange 2010 at my own time. But if you are in hurry then you can follow this TechNet link
      To view this virtual lab, you must log on to TechNet using hotmail/live account and must be a subscriber.
      Thanks for visiting my site.


  1. In Step 3, you ran “…Setup /PrepareSchema” and then “…Setup /PrepareAD /OrganizationName:your_organisation_name”. At a later step, you ran “setup on the Exchange 2010 server, upgrade the schema, and prepare the forest and domains”. Are you running this twice? Just wanted some clarification around this.


  2. Dear Raihan,

    what i understand from Microsoft Technet about exchange 2007 and 2010 setup switches is that

    if you run /prepare AD switch this will take care all the below mentioned switches

    /prepare schema
    /prepare adpermissions


  3. Both our Exchange server and our DC are running on Windows 2003 servers. I want to upgrade from Exchange 2003 to 2010 and eventual upgrade the DC from 2003 to 2008. Do I need to upgrade the DC first?


    1. Hello Jess,

      Yes first you need to upgrade DC to Win2k8 Native Mode. Then Prepare Exchange 2010 infrastructure. Exchange 2010 & 2003 can co-exist. Then migrate mailbox, HT so on and so forth.



  4. We have 2008 DC’s but our forestlevel/domainlevel is 2003. As far as I could tell this would be sufficient. But you are talking about Win2k8 Native Mode for Exchange 2003 & 2010 to be able to co-exist.
    Could you please explain yourself?



  5. I had just performed an exchange 2003 to exchange 2010 migration. First off, this went flawless! I was so happy with the outcome. As many of you know, Exchange 2010 requires 64 bit OS. THEREFORE, I started the projected by creating a new 64-bit Windows 2008 enterprise server and a new windows 2008 64 bit enterprise domain controller in an existing 2003 active directory environment. First, let me say that you have to run adprep off the 2008 cd on your DC that holds your fsmo roles. I installed exchange 2010 and brought up a new BES 5.0.2 server as I thought this would be an excellent time to refresh corporate blackberry users. I love this version of exchange! I was running co-existence mode until the migration was complete and then I uninstalled exchange 2003 from my environment and retired that old clunky exchange server. Let me say that despite the noise about making your client access and mailbox role a VM. I had no issue doing this, as I am a huge VMware and virtualization fan. I have had no issue with my cas, hub, and mailbox roles all in one VM with zero performance issues. One thing I do not like is that by design store.exe is now a memory hog! However, there are parameters that you can use in adsiedit.msc where you can limit the memory usage of store.exe that work great! All in all the only complaint I got was from the helpdesk, as they cannot install Exchange management tools on their desktops because they run 32 bit OS. I told them to upgrade their desktop OS to 64 bit so they can run the tools. I know they make some third party management tools that allow your helpdesk to still perform common exchange tasks but I am NOT a big third party fan. If anyone has any questions about more details about my migration from exchange 2003 to 2010 I will be more than happy to answer them. In addition, when you plan your exchange 2010 rollout one big thing to remember here is give yourself plenty of space for the info store lun as exchange 2010 does NOT like to have less than 2 gb free space of the store lun or luns. If it goes below 2 GB mail will stop flowing and will not flow again until you free up some space.
    Frank Bicocchi


  6. hello,

    i would like to ask one clear question about transitioning from ex2003 to ex2010; can i perform clean installation of the new ex2010 server roles (MB, CAS and HT) without affecting the 2003 users and even before moving any single mailbox?? the main idea of this that i wanted to make sure that installation has been done completely as a first stage, and then to plan for the next stage. if possible plz guide me for best safe scenario.
    “i want to make the installation without rerouting the OWA users to CAS and without moving the rest of stuff, and then on another phase will be transitioning the OWA, routes, offline address book, mailboxes, public folders,…etc”. is that possible anyhow??

    thanks in advance,


    1. I reckon, you can clean install Exchange 2010. There will be down time when you create HT connector, MX record etc. So installation phase no downtime but configuration phase yes.
      You can transition from OWA to CAS OWA once you finish installation of MBX, HT, ET. I reckon, i mentioned steps in transition doco. Further doco available in
      you will find all installation and configuration guide there.


  7. Hi and Thanks for your response, but i believe this will need special consideration during the installation!! for example (plz correct me if im mistaken!) during installation the CAS, i should NOT select “this is internet facing server” and so i should not put my current webmail! am i right?

    please let me know if u have clear docs about that. and one more thing, it seems microsoft has removed the V-lab of transitioning from ex2003 t0 ex2010, so any recommendations where to find similar thing?


    1. Internet facing option, you need to provide FQDN /alias of the webmail if you want your staff to access OWA, Anywhere, Active Sync to access email from outside to inside organisation. Create a alias /www record of CAS server. Publish OWA this using TMG reverse proxy. Internet facing means in which way you want to provide access to email from external users and what is the fqdn of the url. please follow these links


  8. thanks indeed, and actually this is what i meant, so once i install the CAS then i need immediately to complete the configurations, the certificates and the publishing, even if i did not move any single mailbox yet still i need to complete this task, otherwise the OWA, Mobile Sync,… etc will stop working for the 2003 users at the moment i install the CAS!! right?

    And so, i will need to complete the legacy certificate as will on the current FE! right?


  9. We are migrating from Exch03 to 2010 but only moving groups of users over at a time. What should we do about the OAB because users on Exch2010 are not getting their OAB updates which is needed b/c Outlook03 is running in cached mode. The Generating server is still our ’03server. Is it best to move it or create a new one on 2010? If we move it will the 03 users still be able to get updates?


  10. We are using exchange 2003 mailbox role,we would install a new exchange server 2010. we need to move our 2003 mailbox to exchange 2010. So what the requirements will do that job. please can you give step by step in all stage guide from initial.


  11. Dear Raihan , i have instaled 2010 TMG i have configured the server as proxy and chache i need to block some site and allow some sites please can you guide me.
    regards a jabbar


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