Doing an in-place upgrade from Exchange Server 2000 to 2003

We have two options when migrating from Exchange 2000 to 2003, we can do an in-place upgrade which is what this article will cover, and we can install a new Exchange 2003 server into the current Exchange 2000 administrative group, and then use the Move Mailbox utility to move the Exchange 2000 mailboxes to the new Exchange 2003 server.

In this article we will make use of the much improved Exchange Deployment (shortened ExDeploy) utility included on the Exchange 2003 CD, as it makes an in-place upgrade a pretty simple process. But before we even start to think about performing the upgrade, we need to have a few things straighten out.

Exchange Server requirements

The server that will be upgraded should as a minimum be running Windows Server 2000 with Service Pack 3 and Exchange 2000 Service Pack 3. In addition the server must at least be a member server (which already should be the case as we are upgrading from Exchange 2000), because as most of us know Exchange 2003 is heavily integrated with Active Directory.

Domain requirements

If your environment is based on a Windows 2000 Active Directory domain, you should make sure all Domain Controllers as a minimum are running with Service Pack 3. If it’s instead based on a Windows 2003 Active Directory domain, we are almost ready to start the upgrade process.

The Exchange upgrade

When doing an in-place upgrade from Exchange 2000 to 2003, you have to upgrade to Exchange 2003 first, then update Windows Server 2000 to Windows 2003 Server as Exchange 2000 does not run on Windows 2003 Server (see MS KB 321648 – You Cannot Install Exchange 2000 on a Computer That Is Running Windows Server 2003 for further information).

As already mentioned we will in this article make use of the new ExDeploy utility, which helps us through the 9 steps necessary to make a successfull upgrade.

But before we execute ExDeploy, we should take a full backup of the Exchange server, because even though an in-place upgrade is a pretty straightforward process, you never know what can occur. It’s also important to bear in mind that you’re doing an upgrade and not a migration, and its therefore vital you can recover from a potential failure.

All right its time get started, insert your Exchange 2003 Server CD (it should start automatically otherwise browse the CD and double-click Setup.exe).

Click Exchange Deployment Tools > Deploy the first Exchange 2003 server > Upgrade from Exchange 2000 Native Mode

We’re now presented with the list of the 9 required steps.

Step 1
The server must have Service Pack 3 or later applied, if not it won’t even be possible to do the upgrade.

Step 2
We should now verify NNTP, SMTP and World Wide Web services are installed and enabled, but as we are carrying out an in-place upgrade from Exchange 2000, this step are really not that necessary as the components are already installed as they are required by Exchange 2000 as well.

Step 3
If present we need to remove the Instant Messaging Server, the Chat and Key Management Server, the Lotus cc:mail connector and the MS Mail connector before the upgrade, as these components are no longer part of Exchange. If you want to retain these services in your organization, you should not install Exchange 2003 on servers running these components but no one stops you from keeping Exchange 2000 Servers with one or more of these components in your Exchange 2003 organization.

Step 4
In order to complete step 5 and 6, the Windows 2000 Support tools have to be installed, these tools are included on the Windows Server 2000 CD. To install the Support Tools run Setup.exe under the support\tools folder.

Step 5 & 6
Involves running DCDiag and NetDiag, these two tools check the consistency of the Active Directory domain and the network connectivity. If you get any errors or warnings, when running either DCDiag or NetDiag they must be resolved before proceeding to step 7.

Step 7 & 8
The current messaging environment needs to be prepared before upgrading to Exchange 2000, therefore we have to run ForestPrep and DomainPrep, you probably remember these two preparation steps back from the days, when you upgraded the Exchange 2000 environment you have today. You even remember you actually ran ForestPrep and DomainPrep, and are now wondering why you have to run them again. The reason is the new ForestPrep and DomainPrep has been extended, and are introducing a lot more new AD objects and attribute definitions compared to what Exchange 2000 did. So running the new ForestPrep and DomainPrep tools are absolutely mandatory.

Step 9
When you have completed all steps but step 9, you are ready to execute the Exchange 2003 Installation Wizard, therefore click Run Setup Now. The Microsoft Exchange Installation Wizard appears > click Next > put the bullet in I agree > click Next.

Now the familiar installation menu appears, and if you have completed the earlier steps as described in the guide, you should be able to click Next twice (note “upgrade” should already be selected as the appropriate action).

The installation begins, it will take a while as the Exchange installation Wizard has to go through a Pre-Installation, Installation and Post-Installation fase, so have patience.

When the Exchange Installation Wizard has completed, click Finish.

That was the Exchange part, our server are now running Exchange 2003. Before proceeding you should do one more full backup and read the information provided in the following Microsoft link: Exchange Server 2003 and Operating System Upgrades (contains very important information!).

The Windows 2003 Server upgrade

Now that we have upgraded to Exchange 2003 Server, its strongly recommended to upgrade the operating system as well. Even though Exchange 2003 runs on Windows Server 2000 without a glitch, some of the more attractive features, such as RPC over HTTP access from Outlook 2003 and Volume Shadow Copy service will not work (see Exchange Server 2003 Features in Windows Server 2003 and Windows 2000 Server for full comparison chart).

If  your environment is based on a Windows 2000 Active Directory domain and the Exchange server, which are to be upgraded is a Domain Controller (often seen in single box environments), we need to prepare the forest and domain by running AdPrep with the /forestprep and /domainprep switches (not to confuse with Exchange ForestPrep and DomainPrep).

This is done by opening a command prompt > change to the \i386 folder on the CD, then type:

Adprep /forestprep

When prompted, press C then ENTER to begin forest preparation.
When the forest preparation data has replicated throughout the forest, its time to get the domain prepared for Windows Server 2003, so insert the Windows 2003 Server CD into the server holding the infrastructure operations master role, then (again) open a command prompt and change to the \i386 folder, this time type:

Adprep /domainprep

After a while the domain preparation data will have replicated throughout the domain, we can then continue.

We will in this article not go into a step by step guide on how you carry out the actual upgrade from Windows Server 2000 to Windows 2003 Server, as all you need to do is to insert the Windows 2003 Server CD > Navigate to the i386 folder > Execute Winnt32.exe and > Select Upgrade (Recommended), then its just a simple matter of following the on-screen instructions.

Final words

Doing an in-place upgrade from one Exchange version to another has never been easier, the new Exchange 2003 version of the ExDeploy tool is a true pleasure to work with. An in-place upgrade is of course not always the preferred choice, even though it in many situations are easier. One of the major reasons for this is an in-place upgrade often can be a much bigger risk compared to  moving to completely new hardware using the Move Mailbox method. Unfortunately many small companies with limited budgets often don’t have a choice.

Relevant reading

327928 – A comparison of the migration methods for migrating from Exchange Server 5.5 to Exchange Server 2003 or to Exchange 2000 Server:

822578 – Setup stops working during an upgrade from Exchange 2000 Server to Exchange Server 2003:

314649 – Windows Server 2003 adprep /forestprep Command Causes Mangled Attributes in Windows 2000 Forests That Contain Exchange 2000 Servers:

822178 – Overview of dependencies and requirements for Exchange Server 2003 features:

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