Monday, May 31, 2010

How to Migrate Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2010

We will talk about upgrading from Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2010 in premises. This article will assume you have existing exchange 2003 server in your messaging environment and will talk about high-level steps going forward.

Your environment could be multi role exchange environment or clustered servers or even a single server. The process of upgrading from Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2010 is fairly same and simple and much less complicated compared to Exchange 2007 migration scenarios in my opinion.

Task 1

  • Decide your hardware, your Disk type, Memory, CPU requirement based on your needs. The basic printable for deploying exchange servers are still the same
  • Calculate your IOPS and future growth
  • Install adequate memory on the new Exchange servers, Memory prices are not the main factor these days , more memory is better ( 8,16,24,32 Gig memory)
  • CPU requirements , use MS guidelines and same goes for CPU the more power is better for your Exchange servers
  • Disk type and local storage requirements, JBOS ( no RAID, just bunch of disk) , If you are going to take advantage of new redundancy futures perhaps you will look more into DAS ( direct attached storage) or go JBOD RAID less.
  • Most likely this is ( DISK) where the price difference will come into play, at least no more SCSI expensive disk is required, SATA disk are most preferred disk type for small and large deployments. DELL, IMB and other hardware vendors do have DAS (direct attached storage) you may want to explore to see what options you have.
  • RAID type is one of the most asked questions, remembers Exchange 2010 is above %50 percent faster in speed to compare to Exchange 2007 and somewhere 150 times faster compared to Exchange 2003. (These are round numbers). The fastest read and write you can provide to Exchange 2010 is better with utilizing SATA disks as general rule and yes how much redundancy you wish to have it up to you as well. For instance utilizing one exchange server 2010 with DAS configured in RAID 10 seems to be valid option. SATA disks are cheap compared to SCSI drives.

You need to decide what hardware to use or what type of configuration you will use to move forward with Exchange 2010. I am sure you already heard about lowering the cost and making Exchange redundant by utilizing (DAG) or maybe you will deploy single server. Sizing your hardware and making up your mind for hardware redundancy is entirely optional, as budget constrains effects such decisions.


  • Install New Exchange 2010 server into existing Exchange org.
  • Replicate all Public folders and its entire content to Exchange 2010
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  • Use mailbox move wizard to move some pilot users
  • Test mail ( inbound and outbound ) for the pilot users
  • Configure and test OWA, outlook anywhere etc. on the exchange 2010 server
  • Schedule to move rest of the users from Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2010
  • Change mail flow inbound and outbound SMTP traffic to Exchange 2010 server
  • Stop all exchange related services on Exchange 2003 server and make sure everything is working, if you encounter problems, turn the services back on and find out what did you forget to do.
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  • Delete all mail stores, databases from Exchange 2003 server.
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  • Shut down Exchange 2003 server for couple days to make sure everything is working.
  • You may forget receive fallowing errors and warning when you ready to remove the exchange server from windows 2003 server.
  • One or more users currently use this mailbox store. The users must be moved to different store or be mail disabled before deleting this store. ID no c1034a7f, exchange system manager. You don’t see any mailboxes but there are objects in AD which are pointing to Exchange server you are trying to decommission
  • Now we need to find out which object is still has a partial information pointing to this exchange server we wish to remove from out Mail organization


Lets fire up, ADUC  on the Exchange 2003 server.

  • Start run
  • Dsa.msc
  • Right-click the domain container, and then click Find ( or click on the find icon on top left)
  • Select the Advanced tab
  • Select User from the Field button
  • From the list of attributes displayed, choose Exchange Home Server
  • Set the Condition field to Ends With
  • Enter the Exchange server name into the Value field ( server you are trying to get rid of)
  • Click Add
  • Click the Find
  • Make a right Click and Delete all those found in the search
  • image
  • Go back and kick of uninstall process one more time
  • you may receive warnings for routing group connectors and routing group master as the old exchange 2003 is the only server and un-install wizard wont move head. You may need to use ADSI edit to delete the routing group connector etc (Warning , ***make sure you understand what you are deleting, ADSI edit is serious tool and wont have tolerance if you delete the wrong information, so be Extremely careful****

Finally Un-install wizard will let you move on and last you need to point the uninstall wizard to Exchange 2003 binaries location or the install CD in order to finish.

Take a look

Best regards,
Oz Casey , Dedeal
MCSE 2003, M+, S+, MCDST
Security+, Project +, Server +
Http:// (Blog
Http:// (Blog)
Http:// (Blog


Christopher Sys Admin said...

This worked great! Instructions were easy to follow. Thanks.

Tom Brown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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Unknown said...

Beautifully written article about Exchange Migration. It is really very useful, because still now days many organizations are using Exchange Server 2003. But some of them are thinking about migration and some of them are still migrating their Exchange Server.
But the biggest challenge for all organizations are saving mailboxes from corruption, therefore most of them uses a third party tool for recovery & migration of Exchange 2003 Mailboxes. While some technical user or Exchange Administrators uses any tool for Exchange server recovery. This kind tool first recover Exchange mailboxes in case of corruption and then export all mailboxes into PST file.
After successful export Exchange Admin can easily import all PST files into Newly Installed Exchange Server with the help of New-MailboxImport CMDLET Commands.

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