Migrating from Small Business Server 2003 to Exchange 2003 Standard Part 2 – Configuring Exchange

If you missed the first part in this article series please read Migrating from Small Business Server 2003 to Exchange 2003 Standard Part 1 – Preparing your network.


In Part 1, I covered the main steps required to prepare the forest, domain and network for decommissioning Small Business Server 2003 (SBS) from a forest. In this article I will cover the steps necessary to move Exchange from SBS to a different server and decommission SBS from the network.

At this point, we should have a new domain controller (DC01) installed into the domain. This is also a GC and holds all the FSMO roles. Next up, we will join Exchange01 to the domain and install Exchange 2003 onto Exchange01. 

I’m not going to run through the installation process. Suffice to say, for the purposes of this tutorial, I have accepted the installation defaults. You can find a good article on the msexchange.org website for best practices on installing Exchange Server 2003. 

Make sure you use Netdiag and Dcdiag to test all your network settings and connections. Also use these if you run into problems. It will instantly tell you what’s going wrong on the network. 

You might also want to throw in gpupdate /force to check that the domain is refreshing policies OK. This checks if user permissions are running as expected and everything can talk to each other.

During this next stage, we will accomplish the following tasks:

  • Replicate all public folders to Exchange01
  • Rehome the Offline Address Book folder
  • Change the server that is responsible for generating the Offline Address List
  • Rehome the Schedule+ Free Busy folder
  • Rehome the Organization Forms folder
  • Rehome the Recipient Update Service (RUS)
  • Designate another server to be the routing group master
  • Create another Site Replication Service (SRS) instance
  • Rehome connectors to Exchange01
  • Move mailboxes to Exchange01
  • Decommission SBS

Step-through Exchange 2003 Migration settings

Open Exchange System Manager and check that the SBS and Exchange01 are showing as servers in the organisation.

Firstly, you want to replicate all the Public Folders on to Exchange01. This will then give you two copies of your public folders, which is good working practice anyway.

Click Start, point to Programs, point to Microsoft Exchange, and then click System Manager.

If the Display administrative groups option is turned on, expand Administrative Groups, and then expand First Administrative Group. (To display administrative groups, right-click Your_Organization, click Properties, click to select the Display administrative groups check box, click OK two times, and then restart Exchange System Manager).

Figure 2: Display Administrative Groups

Expand Folders, expand Public Folders, right-click a top-level public folder, and then click Properties.

Click the Replication tab, and then click Add.

Figure 3: Public Folder Replication

In the Select a Public Store box, select the name of the server where you want a replica of this public folder (Exchange01), and then click OK.

Click Apply, and then click OK. If this public folder has any subfolders and if you want these subfolders to have a replica on the destination server, right-click the top-level public folder, click All Tasks, and then click Manage Settings.

In the Propagate Folder Settings box, click to select the Replicas check box, and then click OK. When you complete this step, all subfolders of that top-level folder have a replica on the destination server.

Repeat steps 1 to 7 for all the Public Folders.

Next you need to wait for replication again, and then check that the public folders are In Sync. Follow these steps:

  1. Right-click the public folder to verify, and click Properties.
  2. Click the Replication tab, and click Details.
  3. The Replication Status column should indicate In Sync.

Figure 4: Public Folders In Sync

Next you must turn off replication for each public folder. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Expand Public Folders, right-click a top-level public folder, and then click Properties.
  2. Click the Replication tab.
  3. In the Replicate content to these public stores section, click the name of the public folder store that is on the source server, click Remove, click Apply, and then click OK.
  4. Repeat these steps for each public folder:

    • Offline Address Book folder
    • Offline Address List
    • Schedule+ Free Busy folder
    • Organization Forms folder
    • Recipient Update Service (RUS)

    Designate another server to be the routing group master

    You must designate Exchange01 to be the routing group master. To do this, follow these steps:

    In Exchange System Manager, expand First Administrative Group (where First Administrative Group is the name of your administrative group), expand Routing Groups, and then expand First Routing Group (where First Routing Group is the name of the routing group where you want to change the routing group master).

    Click Members, right-click the server in the right pane that you want to make the routing group master, and then click Set as Master.

    Figure 5: Routing Group Master

    Create another Site Replication Service (SRS) instance

    If you have Site Replication Service (SRS) installed and running, you must create a new SRS in Exchange System Manager. I’m leaving this out, as we are assuming the SBS Server was a stand alone system.

    Set-up connectors on Exchange01

    Next you need to set-up any connectors from SBS on Exchange01. To do this, simply write down the connector settings from SBS and recreate them on Exchange01.

    Move mailboxes to Exchange01

    To transfer mailboxes from SBS to Exchange01, follow these steps: 

    Open Exchange System Manager and drill down to the Mailbox Store on SBS.

    In the right pane, select the mailboxes you wish to move by holding down the Ctrl key and selecting the mailboxes with the mouse. Then right click, and click Exchange Tasks. Click Next on the Exchange Task Wizard.

    On the Available Tasks page, under Select a task to perform, click Move Mailbox, and then click Next.

    On the Move Mailbox page, click the destination server that is in the Server list, click a mailbox store in the Mailbox Store list, and then click Next.

    Configure how to handle corrupted messages that are found during the move, and click Next two times.

    Expected errors while moving mailboxes

    Some mailboxes might take a couple of goes to transfer over. This is normal. Get as many done en-mass, then correct the errors. 

    After you have transferred mailboxes to the new server, the final stage of the process is to uninstall Exchange from SBS, dcpromo down to a member server, then remove SBS from the domain.

    To uninstall Exchange Server from SBS, go to Control Panel and double click Add or Remove Programmes.

    Select Windows Small Business Server from the list of programmes and click Change/Remove. Click through the wizard until your reach the components selection page.

    In the Action column, select Remove from the drop down list. Click Next twice. Exchange will then be unistalled from the server.

    Figure 6: Uninstall Exchange from SBS

    When the uninstall has completed, reboot. Then run dcpromo. To do this, Click Start, Run, type dcpromo and click OK. Following this process the SBS will be a member server in the domain. 

    To remove SBS from the domain, right click MyComputer and select properties. Click the Computer Name tab and click the Workgroup radio button. Enter WORKGROUP for the new workgroup name and click OK. You will be prompted to reboot.

    Following this, your new network will be running with a Stand alone Domain Controller (DC01) and stand alone Exchange Server (Exchange01).


    This is a relatively straight-forward process so long as you take your time, and you’ve tried it out before. Do not experiment on a live system. When I did this for real the first time, I had a test network set-up that I used to try all the steps first. You could use Virtual server for this.

    You could also use this process as a careful method for upgrading SBS 2000 to SBS 2003. Use the above process for decommissioning the SBS 2000 server, then reverse the process for clean installing of a new SBS 2003 server. As long as you follow the GC and FSMO rules, you will be OK.

    Essential documents:

    For more information about how to move mailboxes in Exchange Server 2003, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base 821829 – Moving mailboxes in Exchange Server 2003

    Transfer mailboxes and public folders from SBS to the new DC. Follow KB822931 to remove the SBS exchange server from your organisation.

    Q: Can I separate the components of SBS 2003 R2; for example, install Exchange or SQL Server on another server?
    A:  You may not separate the software for use on more than one operating system environment under a single license, unless expressly permitted. This applies even if the operating system environments are on the same physical hardware system, such as by using virtualization technology.

    How to upgrade Small Business Server Domain Environment to regular Windows 2003 Domain

    Upgrading SBS 2000 to SBS 2003 Resources

    For information about completing an upgrade, see Chapter 3B of the Getting Started guide.
    For step-by-step instructions to complete a server migration, see Migrating from Small Business Server 2000 or Windows 2000 Server to Windows Small Business Server 2003.
    To complete an upgrade, you must be running Small Business Server 2000 Service Pack 1. If you are not running Service Pack 1, see Knowledge Base article 326924 on the Microsoft Support site for information about downloading the service pack.

    Windows Small Business Server 2003 Upgrade Best Practices

    KB884453 How to install Small Business Server 2003 in an existing Active Directory domain

    If you missed the first part in this article series please read Migrating from Small Business Server 2003 to Exchange 2003 Standard Part 1 – Preparing your network.

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