Configuring Exchange 2000 before Installing: The path less traveled



Have you ever wished that you could install Exchange 2000 Server your way?  Do you wish that you could have all of your Administrative Groups and Routing Groups not only planned out on paper but configured and laid out in your domain or forest before actually installing the first Exchange 2000 Server?  Well…you can!  You can plan and configure Administrative Groups, Routing Groups and System Policies before ever installing the first Exchange 2000 Server.



Preparing the Forest and Domain



The first two steps that you must perform prepare your forest and domain for the installation of Exchange 2000 Server.  While it may seem silly to perform these two steps, they must be performed:  They lay the ground work for the entire configuration of your Exchange 2000 Server organization.



Running ForestPrep



ForestPrep is required to be run one time per forest to initialize the changes to the Active Directory schema that Exchange 2000 Server requires.  ForestPrep is also used to nominate the Exchange 2000 Administrator, create the Exchange 2000 organization object and to setup the permissions.  To complete ForestPrep, follow these steps:



1.       From any computer in the forest, enter the following command at the command prompt:  e:\setup\i386\setup.exe /forestprep, where e represents the location of the Exchange 2000 Server Setup CD-ROM.  You will most likely want to perform ForestPrep directly on the Domain Controller to speed up the file transfer process.


2.       Click Next to dismiss the opening page of the Microsoft Exchange 2000 Installation Wizard.


3.       Accept the EULA and click Next to continue.


4.       Enter your CD Key and click Next to continue.


5.       On the Component Select page (see Figure 1), you will see the ForestPrep is already selected.  Click Next to continue.


.



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Figure 1: Running ForestPrep


 


6.       On the Installation Type page, select Create a new Exchange organization.  Click Next to continue on.


7.       On the Organization Name page (see Figure 2), enter the name of the organization.  This will the root of the Exchange hierarchy—choose wisely.  Click Next to continue.



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Figure 2:  Entering the Organization Name


 


8.       On the Exchange 2000 Administrator Account page (see Figure 3), you get to do something that only occurs when you run ForestPrep:  specify what user in the organization will become the Exchange 2000 Administrator.  By default the account used to run ForestPrep gets this privilege, but you can enter in the account of your choosing.  The one caveat is that the account must be preexisting (you cannot browse for it either, so write this down ahead of time).  Click Next to continue on.



 


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Figure 3: Selecting the Exchange Administrator


 


9.       The Component Progress page (see Figure 4) will show you the progress of the initialization.  This will take several minutes to occur as Active Directory is updated and the Exchange organization is constructed.  During this time you may notice nearly constant activity on the hard drive of your Domain Controller (or Schema Master if you have multiple Domain Controllers).



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Figure 4: Monitoring progress


 


10.   After the Wizard has finished ForestPrep you will be prompted to click Finish.



That’s it!  ForestPrep has been completed and in the process you were able to configure the name for your Exchange organization as well as select the user account to be the Exchange Administrator.  You miss out on both of these options if you do not run ForestPrep.  Now on to DomainPrep so that we can get our domain ready for Exchange 2000 Server.



Running DomainPrep



DomainPrep is required to be run one time per domain, including the domain that ForestPrep was run in, to create the public folder proxy object and setup domain level permissions.  DomainPrep need not be run until you are ready to install Exchange 2000 Server in that domain.  To complete DomainPrep, follow these steps:



1.       From any computer in the domain (although the one you will be installing Exchange Server on is best), enter the following command at the command prompt:  e:\setup\i386\setup.exe /domainprep, where e represents the location of the Exchange 2000 Server Setup CD-ROM.  You will most likely want to perform ForestPrep directly on the Domain Controller to speed up the file transfer process.


2.       Click Next to dismiss the opening page of the Microsoft Exchange 2000 Installation Wizard.


3.       Accept the EULA and click Next to continue.


4.       Enter your CD Key and click Next to continue.


5.       On the Component Select page, you will see the DomainPrep is already selected this time.  Click Next to continue.


6.       The Component Progress page will briefly appear while the configuration changes are being made.


7.       After the Wizard has finished DomainPrep you will be prompted to click Finish.



That’s all there is for DomainPrep!  Now onto the good stuff…



Installing the Exchange System Manager



The next step is to install the Exchange System Manager on any computer in the domain, although you preferably want to do it on the server that will be the Exchange Server (or alternately, the workstation that you use to administer your domain).  To install the Exchange System Manager, follow these steps:



1.       From any computer in the domain, enter the following command at the command prompt:  e:\setup\i386\setup.exe, where e represents the location of the Exchange 2000 Server Setup CD-ROM.  You will most likely want to perform this process on the server that will be the Exchange 2000 Server.


2.       Click Next to dismiss the opening page of the Microsoft Exchange 2000 Installation Wizard.


3.       Accept the EULA and click Next to continue.


4.       Enter your CD Key and click Next to continue.


5.       On the Component Select page (see Figure 5), Change the Action to Custom and select Microsoft Exchange System Management Tools for installation.  Click Next to continue.



 


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Figure 5: Installing the Exchange System Manager


 


6.       On the Component Summary page, click Next after reviewing the requested installation actions.


7.       The Component Progress page briefly appears as the configuration changes requested are carried out.


8.       After the Wizard has finished installing the Exchange System Manager you will be prompted to click Finish.



Now that we’ve got the Exchange System Manager installed, let’s look at it as we configure our Exchange implementation.



Configuring your Routing Groups and Administrative Groups



Open the Exchange System Manager (see Figure 6) by clicking Start > Programs > Microsoft Exchange > System Manager.



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Figure 6: The Exchange System Manager (empty, very empty)


 


Our first task is to create an Administrative Group, but before we get to the process of creating Administrative Groups (and Routing Groups), let’s step back a bit and get an understanding of what they are.



From the Microsoft Exchange 2000 Server Resource Kit Glossary:



·          Administrative Group:  A collection of Active Directory objects that are grouped together for the purpose of permissions management. An administrative group can contain policies, routing groups, public folder hierarchies, servers, and chat networks. The content of an administrative group depends on choices you make during installation.


·          Routing Group:  A collection of Exchange servers that have full-time, reliable connections. Messages sent between any two servers within a routing group go directly from source to destination. Similar to administrative groups, routing groups are optional and are not visible in System Manager unless they are enabled.



So as you can see, Administrative Groups are created to allow for easier management of Exchange Servers and Routing Groups are created as required to ensure that all Exchange Servers within a specific Routing Group have reliable, high-speed connectivity.  In a situation where you were deploying Exchange 2000 Server over many offices spread apart by geographic location, you would most likely have multiple Routing Groups.  You can have as many or as few Administrative Groups as you desire in order to manage your Exchange Servers.  For the purposes of this tutorial, we will only be creating one Administrative Group and one Routing Group as we will only be deploying one Exchange 2000 Server.



Before we actually get to creating Administrative Groups and Routing Groups, we need to configure Exchange System Manager to display them.  Right-click on the root node of your Exchange organization and select Properties to open the Exchange Organization Properties page (see Figure 7).  Place checks in the Display routing groups and Display administrative groups boxes.  You will need to close and reopen the Exchange System Manager for the change to take affect.  Also, since this is a Native-mode Exchange organization (no Exchange 5.5 servers), you can change the mode to Native should you desire (change button not seen here).



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Figure 7: The Exchange Organization Properties


 


After you’ve enabled the display of Administrative Groups and Routing Groups, you can now get down to the business of configuring the organization of your Exchange implementation. 



To create an Administrative Group, right-click on the Administrative Groups node and select New > Administrative Group from the context menu.  Enter the name for the Administrative Group and click OK to accept.  A look back at the Exchange System Manager (see Figure 8) shows the change.



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Figure 8: An Administrative Group appears 


 


Now we need to add one Routing Group.  This is done by right-clicking on the Routing Groups node and selecting New > Routing Group.  Enter the name for the Routing Group and click OK to accept.  Notice the change in the Exchange System Manager (see Figure 9)…I’ve actually added a few extra Routing Groups.



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Figure 9: And some Routing Groups… 


 


That’s really all there is to it.  You can also configure System Policies (Server Policies, Mailbox Store Policies and Public Store Policies), but that is the topic for another day.

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