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Installing Exchange Server 2003: The Basics and Beyond

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Microsoft has simplified the process for installing the Exchange Server product, and Exchange Server 2003 is the easiest-to-install Exchange version to date. However, it's important to understand the steps leading to a successful installation so that any appropriate planning or preparation is done prior to the live installation. Plus, because Exchange Server 2003 includes many new functions that extend beyond basic e-mail messaging and calendaring, getting the first Exchange 2003 server installed properly sets the foundation for a successful enterprise rollout of the Exchange messaging system. This sample book chapter will help you get your head screwed-on straight.
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In This Chapter

  • Preparing for Implementation of Exchange 2003

  • Preparing to Install Exchange 2003

  • Conducting Preinstallation Checks on Exchange 2003

  • Performing an Interactive Installation of Exchange Server 2003

  • Performing a Scripted Installation of Exchange Server 2003

  • Completing the Installation of Exchange 2003

  • Performing Postinstallation Configurations

  • Configuring Additional Server Services

  • Testing the Exchange 2003 Installation

This chapter explains the basic installation of a new Exchange 2003 server. In this latest version of Exchange, Microsoft has taken a big step in improving the installation process to make it a lot more intuitive than previous versions of Exchange. The tools included on the installation CD walk you through the preinstallation tasks to verify the environment prior to installing the server.

When you execute setup.exe, you are not launched immediately into the installation program. You are taken through a step-by-step checklist of tasks prior to launching the setup executable.

This chapter does not present upgrading or migrating from previous versions of Exchange and other messaging platforms. You read about migrations in Chapters 14, "Migrating from NT4 to Windows Server 2003"; 15, "Migrating from Exchange 5.5 to Exchange Server 2003"; 16, "Migrating from Exchange 2000 to Exchange Server 2003; 34, "Migrating from Novell GroupWise to Exchange 2003"; and 35, "Migrating from Lotus Notes to Exchange 2003."

Preparing for Implementation of Exchange 2003

Several tasks should be done prior to installing Exchange 2003. The choice of running Exchange 2003 on Windows 2000 or Windows 2003 affects the preinstallation steps that need to take place and the functionality of Exchange. Some tasks are optional, such as forest prep and domain prep (automatically done when setup is run), but most tasks are requirements that would stop the install process, such as having a Global Catalog available on the network or not having the NNTP service installed on the server where you are installing Exchange.

Implementing Active Directory

Before you install Exchange Server 2003 on your network you need to make sure that Active Directory is properly deployed. The Active Directory infrastructure and DNS need to be healthy and without replication errors prior to installing your first Exchange 2003 server. It is so important to perform health checks and verification steps in your environment prior to installation that the Exchange development team has designed the installation program to include these steps. Exdeploy walks you through all the preinstallation health checks before running the setup program for Exchange 2003.

Realizing the Impact of Windows on Exchange

Because Windows is the base infrastructure for Exchange 2003, take into account key factors prior to implementing Exchange:

  • Global Catalog placement

  • Windows Mixed versus Native Mode

  • Group type used

  • Extension of the forest schema

  • Preparation of the Active Directory domain

Global Catalog Placement

One item to review is the placement of Global Catalogs within the Active Directory site configuration. The importance of the Global Catalog server cannot be overstated. The Global Catalog is used for the address list that users see when they are addressing a message. If the Global Catalog server is not available, the recipient’s address will not resolve when users address a message, and the message will immediately be returned to the sender.

One well-equipped Global Catalog server can support several Exchange 2003 servers on the same LAN segment. There should be at least one Global Catalog server in every Active Directory site that contains an Exchange 2003 server. For large sites, two Global Catalogs are much better and provide redundancy in the event the first Global Catalog server is unavailable.

For optimization, plan on having a Global Catalog server close to the clients to provide efficient address list access. Making all domain controller servers Global Catalog servers is recommended for an organization that has a single Active Directory domain model and a single site, and it’s also not a bad idea for Active Directory designs that use a placeholder domain as the forest root with one or two first-level domains. A good Active Directory site design helps make efficient use of bandwidth in this design. This design helps reduce some of the overhead with multiple Global Catalogs in every Active Directory site.

The Active Directory Replication Monitor (ReplMon) can be used to help determine the number of Global Catalogs in the Active Directory forest. To start the Active Directory Replication Monitor, click Start, All Programs, Windows Support Tools, Command Prompt, and then run replmon.exe. Use the Edit menu to add a monitored server. When the server is displayed, right-click the server and select Show Global Catalog Servers in Enterprise.

Choosing Between Active Directory Mixed and Native Mode in Exchange 2003

If the domain that will host Exchange 2003 is or was in mixed mode, a message may be displayed during domain prep saying that the domain might possibly be insecure because of the Pre-Windows 2000 Compatible Access group. This is just a warning, and the installation of Exchange can proceed with just the understanding that Exchange may be insecure due to the current configuration of the domain.

Members of the Pre-Windows 2000 Compatible Access group will be able to see the members of groups that have their membership marked as hidden. In order to secure group membership, users and groups must be removed from this group before installing Exchange 2003. It is not necessary to resolve this security issue prior to installing Exchange 2003, because the removal of objects from this group can be done soon after Exchange 2003 has completed installation.

Selecting a Windows 2000/Windows 2003 Group Model

Groups can be a big issue in Exchange 2003, especially in multidomain Windows 2000 or Windows 2003 Active Directory environments. Exchange 2003 uses Windows 2000 groups in place of the distribution lists that were used in Exchange 5.5. Distribution lists in Exchange 5.5 have been replaced by distribution groups in Active Directory. A Windows 2000 or Windows 2003 distribution group is the same as an Exchange 5.5 distribution list except it cannot be assigned permissions on an access control list. This means the strategy to secure calendars, public folders, and resources in Exchange 5.5 has to be redesigned for Exchange 2003. There are two major issues with groups that architects and administrators need to be concerned about:

  • Visibility

  • Permissions

Viewing Group Membership with Visibility

Visibility enables users to view the membership of the group. This is obviously an important requirement when sending an email to a group of users, because the users would like to see the list of recipients to whom they are sending the message.

Here is the way the group types affect visibility:

  • Domain Local—Domain membership is not in the Global Catalog. Users in a domain can see the membership of domain local groups only from their own domain. They can see the group entry for domain local groups from other domains in the Global Address List (GAL), but they cannot see the members.

  • Global—Domain membership is not in the Global Catalog. Users in a domain can see the membership of global groups only from their own domain. They can see the group entry for global groups from other domains in the Global Address List but they cannot see the members.

  • Universal—Domain membership is in the Global Catalog. Users can see the membership of the group no matter where the group resides.

In a single domain model or a domain model that uses a placeholder for the forest root and just one first-level domain, this issue is fairly simple to solve. Any group model will work in this design as long as all mailbox-enabled users reside in the same domain. If the plan is to add more domains later, universal groups should be used because of their flexibility. Another option would be to use domain local groups and then convert them to universal groups after the additional domains are installed.


Security groups are required for assigning permissions to calendars, public folders, and resources. A security group type of domain local, global, or universal must be selected to control permissions on objects. Because controlling access to collaboration objects is essential, it’s best to avoid distribution groups to reduce confusion for end-users and administrators. If the organization is supporting multiple mail platforms, it might be forced to support the distribution group as a representation of the foreign mail system’s mailing list, but try to avoid using them for collections of Exchange 2003 users.

For full functionality, the best solution is to use universal security groups. This provides the ability to see group membership across all domains and to assign permissions to calendars, file shares, public folders, and other resources—all with the same group. In larger environments, there are some obvious challenges with using universal groups that are mostly political because of the segmentation of which group controls email, directory, and file resources.

The second challenge with universal security groups is that the Active Directory domain must be in native mode to support universal security groups. This means all DCs in the domain must be running Windows 2000 or Windows 2003 Active Directory and not Windows NT 4.0.

The last challenge with using universal security groups is that they incur a replication penalty. If the group membership changes for one user, the entire group is replicated to all DCs in the local domain and to all Global Catalogs in the forest. This usually does not make or break a design decision to use universal security groups, but architects need to keep it in mind if they have remote Global Catalogs across bandwidth-choked links. The way Active Directory handles group membership changes might change in future revisions of the product.

Extending the Active Directory Schema

The first step to the actual implementation of Exchange 2003 is to extend the Active Directory schema. The schema comprises the rules that apply to the directory and controls what type of information can be stored in the directory. It also describes how that information is stored in the directory—such as string, string length, integer, and so on. Exchange 2003 almost doubles the amount of attributes in the Active Directory schema.

Extending the schema is the easiest part of the installation, but it is also the place where many organizations make mistakes. To extend the Active Directory schema, use the /forestprep switch on setup.exe for Exchange 2003 or follow the steps outlined in the deployment tool. A few tips to note before extending the Active Directory schema:

  • The schema must be extended on the server that holds the Schema Master FSMO role. By default, the first server installed in the forest contains the Schema Master; however, this role could have been moved to another server. To locate which server contains the Schema Master FSMO role, use the Active Directory Schema MMC snap-in, right-click the Active Directory Schema icon under the console root, and select Operations Master.

  • The account used to extend the schema must be a member of the schema admins group and domain admins or enterprise admins groups. The schema admins and enterprise admins groups are available only in the first domain in the forest. If the messaging group does not control the forest root domain, this process must be delegated to the group that does.

  • A schema change forces a full replication of domain databases and Global catalog information in Active Directory. Many administrators are scared of full replications and have heard stories of bandwidth-saturated WAN links due to schema extensions. However, when a full replication occurs, the directory information is compressed before it is sent across the network. The actual amount of data sent across the wire will be approximately 15%–20% of the actual Active Directory database size.

Preparing the Windows 2000 or Windows 2003 Domain

The second step in preparing to install Exchange 2003 is to prepare the Windows 2000 or Windows 2003 domain that will host the Exchange servers or mailbox-enabled users. To prepare the Windows 2000 or Windows 2003 domains, use the /domainprep switch on setup.exe for Exchange 2003 or follow the steps outlined in the deployment tool.

The account used to prepare the Windows 2000 or Windows 2003 domains must be a member of the domain admins group in the domain where the /domainprep command is being run. Running domainprep performs the following operations on the domain:

  • Creates the global security group Exchange Domain Servers

  • Creates the domain local security group Enterprise Exchange Servers

  • Adds the Exchange Domain Servers group to Enterprise Exchange Servers group

  • Grants appropriate rights to the domain controller used for the Recipient Update Service

For domains that will host mailbox-enabled users and not host Exchange servers, administrators have the choice of running domainprep or manually creating a Recipient Update Service for the domain in Exchange System Manager. If the domain will never host Exchange servers, the Recipient Update Service should be manually created. If the domain will eventually host Exchange servers, domainprep should be used.

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