Planning and Migrating a Small Organization from Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2013 (Part 14)

If you would like to read the other parts in this article series please go to:


In the last part of this series we moved mailboxes from Exchange 2003 to our Exchange 2010 staging server. We then began to decommission Exchange 2003; first by moving Offline Address Books, then removing Client Access to Public Folders before removing Exchange 2003 Information Stores. In this part we’ll continue with the decommissioning process necessary before the installation of Exchange 2013 can begin, and then prepare Active Directory for Exchange 2013 installation.

Decommissioning Exchange 2003

Our remaining tasks for decommission include removal of Storage Groups, removal of the Routing Group Connectors and removal of the Recipient Update Services. After those steps are complete we can begin the uninstallation of Exchange 2003.

Removing Storage Groups

We will begin with the removal of the Storage Groups. You’ll remember from the previous part in this series we have already performed the removal of related Information Stores for Mailboxes and Public Folders; effectively leaving an empty shell.

To remove each Storage Group, open the Exchange System Manager and navigate to the Administrative Group (in our case the First Administrative Group) and expand each server one by one. You’ll see the storage groups listed underneath Queues. Right click each storage group, then choose Delete as shown below:

Figure 1: Deleting Exchange 2003 Storage Groups

After removing the first Storage Group you will be informed that you’ll need to clear up log files manually. We’ll skip this task as the servers for Exchange 2003 will be decommissioned once these steps are complete. Repeat the deletion task for each Storage Group until none remain.

Removing the Routing Group Connectors

When we installed Exchange 2010 on our staging server a few changes were made, as you might expect. One big change with Exchange 2007 and above is the use of Active Directory sites for Exchange server to Exchange server SMTP communication.

Older versions of Exchange didn’t support this method of mail routing, therefore Routing Group Connectors are created during Exchange 2010 setup to route mail to and from the old Exchange 2003 organization.

As we no longer need these, we’ll remove these as part of the decommissioning process. To do this, we’ll log onto our Exchange 2010 staging server and launch the Exchange Management Shell. Remove both Routing Group Connectors using the following PowerShell command:

Get-RoutingGroupConnector | Remove-RoutingGroupConnector

This will retrieve all Routing Group Connectors and pass the list to the Remove-RoutingGroupConnector cmdlets. Before removing each Routing Group connector we’ll be prompted, as shown below:

Figure 2: Checking for and deleting Routing Group connectors

After removing the routing group connectors, SMTP mail flow will be stopped between Exchange 2003 and the Exchange 2010 staging server. This of course shouldn’t be an issue as at this point we’ve moved mail flow over and we’ve removed all Information Stores.

Removing Recipient Update Services

Our final task to perform before proceeding with uninstallation of Exchange 2003 is to remove the Recipient Update Service configuration from Exchange 2003. Recipient Update Services performed the tasks of making sure that Exchange recipients reflect their desired state, for example making sure email addresses are set correctly. This task was required because recipient management was performed in Active Directory Users and Computers, which had no visibility into Exchange itself.

This task is no longer required in Exchange 2007 and above as the Exchange Management Shell or Console is used to manage recipients and apply necessary settings in Exchange as required.

We’ll need to remove both the Recipient Update Services for each domain (in our small organization just a single domain) and the Enterprise (i.e. for the whole Active Directory Forest).

To perform this task against the Domain configuration for Recipient Update Services, we’ll need to jump back over to an Exchange 2003 server and launch the Exchange System Manager. Navigate to Recipients and then open the Recipient Update Services folder. For each entry apart from the Enterprise Configuration entry, right click and choose Delete, as shown below:

Figure 3: Removing Domain Recipient Update Services

For the final entry you will see there is no option to Delete. Therefore we will need to use a different approach to remove the Enterprise Configuration:

Figure 4: Checking there is no option to remove the Enterprise Recipient Update Service configuration

The approach we will use to remove the Enterprise Configuration for recipient update services is via ADSIEdit.msc. Launch ADSIEdit.msc from the Exchange 2010 staging server from Start>Run and then open the Configuration container, as shown in the previous part in this series. Within the Configuration container, open Services>Microsoft Exchange and then open the container named after your Exchange organization, as shown in our example as Lisa Jane Designs.

Next open Address Lists Container and then select Recipient Update Services. You should see the Enterprise Configuration listed as the only entry. Right click the entry and choose Delete, as shown below:

Figure 5: Using ADSIEdit.msc to remove the Recipient Update Services Enterprise Configuration

After removing the Enterprise Configuration entry for Recipient Update Services using ADSIEdit.msc, confirm it has been successfully removed by revisiting the Exchange System Manager and refreshing the Recipient Update Services folder. It should now be empty:

Figure 6: Verification that the Recipient Update Services configuration has been removed

With all relevant configuration removed from Exchange 2003 we are now ready to being uninstalling our legacy version of Exchange from the organization, paving the way for the Exchange 2013 installation.

You’ll note that we did not remove the Administrative Groups from Exchange 2003. These should be left as is and does not harm your Exchange implementation in any way.

Uninstalling Exchange Server 2003

The removal of Exchange 2003 should be fairly straightforward, and is necessary. It is not uncommon to see organizations who have not properly removed Exchange servers after a migration some time ago and require extensive Active Directory clean up, all because the old Exchange 2003 servers were simply switched off and disposed of rather than properly decommissioned.

One important step to ensure easy removal is to ensure that the original media for Exchange 2003 is handy, as it will request it during the uninstallation process. Therefore we’ll start by mounting the CD image for Exchange 2003:

Figure 7: Ensuring Exchange 2003 media is available

After we’ve made sure the media is available, we’ll proceed with the uninstallation. If your organization has multiple Exchange 2003 servers, for example a Front-End and a Back-End server, it doesn’t matter which we uninstall first. The uninstallation process starts like any normal Windows Application, via Add or Remove Programs in the Control Panel. Select Microsoft Exchange and choose Change/Remove:

Figure 8: Locating Exchange 2003 in Add or Remove Programs

Next, we’ll see the Microsoft Exchange Installation Wizard. Select Action next to the root Microsoft Exchange node, then select Remove, finally choosing Next:

Figure 9: Choosing to remove all Exchange 2003 components

The uninstallation of Exchange 2003 should proceed swiftly due to the media being available.

Figure 10: Monitoring progress of Exchange 2003 removal

If the media is in a different location to the path that it was originally installed from though, you may have to browse to the location when prompted.

After uninstallation completes successfully we will verify Exchange 2003 no longer exists in the organization by connecting to the Exchange 2010 staging server and opening the Exchange Management Shell.

Use the Get-ExchangeServer cmdlet to list all Exchange Servers within the organization – you should see just the Exchange 2010 server listed.

Figure 11: Verification Exchange 2003 no longer exists in the organization

Installing Exchange Server 2013

With Exchange 2003 successfully removed from the organization, we are ready to deploy Exchange 2013.

We’ll therefore connect to our target and get a quick refresher of the configuration. For our example organization we’ve built a single server named LJD-E1501:

Hostname Virtual   CPU RAM OS   Disk Page   file Disk Physical   disks required Database   virtual disks Log   virtual disks Restore   LUN
LJD-E1501 2 x vCPU 24GB 100GB 29GB 8 x 4TB 5 x 1707GB 5 x 27GB 1 x 1246GB

Earlier in this series we also performed the pre-requisite configuration of the server, extracting the Exchange 2013 setup to C:\Exchange2013 and configuring database mount points as below:

Disk Mount Point
Database 1 C:\ExchangeDatabases\DB01
Database 2 C:\ExchangeDatabases\DB02
Database 3 C:\ExchangeDatabases\DB03
Database 4 C:\ExchangeDatabases\DB04
Database 5 C:\ExchangeDatabases\DB05
Database 1 Log C:\ExchangeDatabases\DB01_Log
Database 2 Log C:\ExchangeDatabases\DB02_Log
Database 3 Log C:\ExchangeDatabases\DB03_Log
Database 4 Log C:\ExchangeDatabases\DB04_Log
Database 5 Log C:\ExchangeDatabases\DB05_Log
Restore LUN C:\ExchangeDatabases\Restore

We will install Exchange Server 2013 using a similar procedure to the Exchange 2010 server, via the command line. It’s also possible to perform the setup using the GUI.

Installation Locations

As recommended by the Exchange 2013 Role Requirements Calculator, we will be placing the Transport Database – the part of Exchange that temporarily stores in-transit messages – on the system drive, therefore it makes a lot of sense to use the default locations for Exchange installation. The default installation location for Exchange 2013 is within C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\V15.

Preparing Active Directory

Our first part of the Exchange 2013 installation is to perform the Schema update. Like the Schema update for Exchange 2010, this step is irreversible; therefore it is essential that a full backup of Active Directory is performed before we perform this step.

For simplicity we will run the Schema Update from the Exchange 2013 server therefore we’ll launch a Windows PowerShell prompt as an Administrator and install the Active Directory Domain Services Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT-ADDS):

Install-WindowsFeature RSAT-ADDS

Figure 12: Adding additional features necessary for Schema updates

Next, whilst logged on as a domain user that’s a member of the Enterprise Admins and Schema Admins, we’ll launch an elevated command prompt and change directory into the location we’ve extracted the Exchange setup files, C:\Exchange2013. We’ll then execute setup.exe with the following switches to prepare the Active Directory schema:

setup.exe /PrepareSchema   /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms

Figure 13: Preparing the AD Schema for Exchange 2013

Expect the schema update to take between 5 and 15 minutes to execute.

You’ll notice that the setup command is similar to Exchange 2010, but not the same. That’s because in Exchange 2013 the same setup.exe is used both for the GUI setup and command line setup. We also have to add the hard to remember /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms parameter.

Next we’ll prepare Active Directory. This will prepare the Configuration Container of our Active Directory forest, upgrading the AD objects that support the Exchange Organization. We’ll perform this preparation using the following command:

setup.exe /PrepareAD   /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms

Figure 14: Preparing Active Directory for Exchange 2013

Our final step to prepare Active Directory is to run the domain preparation.

Our smaller organization is comprised of a single domain, and therefore we can run the following command:

setup.exe /PrepareDomain   /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms

Figure 15: Preparing the AD Domain for Exchange 2013

If you have more than one domain within the same Active Directory forest with mail-enabled users then you will need to prepare each domain. The easiest way to prepare multiple domains is to replace the /PrepareDomain switch with /PrepareAllDomains.


In this part of the series we’ve finally removed Exchange 2003 from the organization, and moved on and performed the pre-requisite Active Directory preparation necessary before Exchange 2013 install. In the next part in this series we’ll perform the Exchange 2013 installation and effectively begin the upgrade from Exchange 2010 to Exchange 2013.

If you would like to read the other parts in this article series please go to:

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