Exchange 2013 – Deploying, Configuring & Upgrading – Part 2

MS Exchange

In Exchange 2013 – Deploying, Configuring & Upgrading Part 1, we covered the prerequisites for Exchange 2013 & prepared the schema, AD & domain to have it ready for the first Exchange 2013 server.

In this part, we will install Exchange 2013 using the GUI and from the command line. We will be installing the Mailbox role first, followed by the CAS server.

Deploying Exchange 2013 RTM:

Command Line Install

In order to install 2013 Mailbox role using the command line, run the following in an elevated command prompt.

Setup.exe /mode:Install /role:Mailbox /OrganizationName:HEWOrg /InstallWindowsComponents /MdbName:DB1 /DbFilePath:”G:\Databases\DB1” /LogFilePath:”G:\Databases\DB1” /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms

The “/InstallWindowsComponents” will go ahead & install all the required features for Exchange 2013, “/MdbName” is used to specify the name of the first mailbox database (use this parameter if you don’t want setup to create a database with a random name like “Mailbox Database 0981237234”), “/DBFilePath” points to the location of the first mailbox database and “/LogFilePath” points to the location of the transaction logs.

The command prompt will display the various steps taken and their progress. It will also highlight any warnings and errors, just as in the GUI setup. Restart the server once the setup completes successfully.

Installing Exchange 2013 using command line

The setup has to be run in the same way on the second mailbox server. The only difference in the command is the name of the database & logs location. The “/OrganizationName” parameter is not required the second time as the Exchange organization already exists.

Setup.exe /mode:Install /role:Mailbox /InstallWindowsComponents /MdbName:DB2 /DbFilePath:”G:\Databases\DB2” /LogFilePath:”G:\Databases\DB2” /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms

The CAS server can be installed by running the command below from an elevated command prompt.

Setup.exe /mode:Install /role:ClientAccess /InstallWindowsComponents /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms

Exchange 2013 GUI Install

Navigate to the Exchange 2013 media and run the setup.exe (right click the file and select “run as administrator”).

Exchange 2013 Run setup as administrator

The first window is all about making sure that the setup is using the latest set of binaries. You can select the first option if you want setup to check for any updates. In our case, we will use the second option as we want to install Exchange 2013 RTM. Click Next to continue.

Exchange 2013 setup1 - Check for updates

Setup will start copying the Exchange 2013 files to the server.

Exchange 2013 setup2 - copying files

After the files are copied, setup will be initialized.

Exchange 2013 setup3 - Initialize setup

Next is the Introduction page. This has a few links about Exchange 2013 and a brief description about the product. Click Next to continue.

Exchange 2013 setup4 - Introduction page

Agree to the terms and conditions to proceed to the next option in the setup.

Exchange 2013 setup5 - License

On the Recommended Settings page, stick to the default option so that Microsoft can collect feedback and improve the product.

Exchange 2013 setup6 - Recommended settings

In the Server Selection Role page, select the Mailbox role. Make sure that the option “Automatically install Windows server roles and features that are required to install Exchange server” is checked.

Exchange 2013 setup7 - select role

In the Installation Space and Location page, select the location where Exchange 2013 should be installed. By default, the location will be “C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\V15”. Select the location required and click Next.

Exchange 2013 setup8 - Location

In the Exchange Organization page, give the organization name. In our case, it is HEWOrg. Select the check box if you want to have a split permission model. This is usually the case in large organizations where there are AD & Exchange teams and both teams have their own rights. In my opinion, it is better to have custom RBAC roles if there is a requirement to have distinct permission sets for both teams.

On the Malware Settings page, keep the default options. Although the malware protection in 2013 is basic and can only be customized using the Exchange Shell, it is good to have it turned on.

Exchange 2013 setup9 - enable malware

In the Readiness Checks page, setup will check for all required components, existence of other Exchange versions and if everything is fine, the Install button will be available. Since we are building a greenfield environment, setup will warn us that we will not be able to introduce any no pre-Exchange 2013 servers later on.

Exchange 2013 setup10 - Readiness check

The Setup Progress page will be displayed and you will see that there are 13 steps which the setup will execute (12 steps if it is not the first mailbox server). The Exchange 2013 setup will take some time, depending on the hardware & setup options.

Exchange 2013 Setup12 - setup progress

You will be taken to the Completion page, once all the 13 steps have been completed successfully. Click Finish and reboot the server.

Exchange 2013 setup13 - Setup complete

You can check for any errors or warnings by opening the C: \ExchangeSetupLogs\ExchangeSetup.log file using notepad.

Exchange Setup14 - ExchangeSetupLog File

Another method to analyze the log file is to use the Get-SetupLog.ps1 script.

If you are following my lab setup, repeat the setup on the second mailbox server and the two CAS servers.

Licensing Exchange 2013

Once the server has been rebooted, login to the Exchange Admin Center by hitting https://CASservername/ecp or https://localhost/ecp (if you are on the CAS server).  You will need atleast one CAS server installed to manage an Exchange 2013 environment. Ignore the certificate error if prompted (we will fix this in the coming parts).

Login to EAC Exchange 2013

Sign in using the domain\user format.

EAC Signin

Navigate to Servers & highlight the server name. An Enter Product Key option will be displayed on the right hand pane.

Enter Product key Exchange 2013

Clicking that will bring up a new window, where the product key can be punched in and click Save when done.

Exchange 2013 Enter key & save

The product key doesn’t get activated until the Exchange Information Store service or the server itself is restarted.

If you are more into Exchange Shell, the product key can be activated by running the commands below.

Set-ExchangeServer “server name” –ProductKey ABCDE-ABCDE-ABCDE-ABCDE-ABCDE

Restart-Service MSExchangeIS

Note that Exchange 2013 Standard edition can be upgraded to Enterprise by updating the product keys. But if you want to “downgrade” an Exchange 2013 Enterprise edition to standard, you will have to reinstall Exchange and apply the standard edition key. A Std edition 2013 Mailbox server can only mount 5 databases, where as an Enterprise edition can have 50 databases.

Now that all our four Exchange 2013 servers have been built and licensed, we will continue with configuring the servers in the next part of this article series. In the meantime, leave a comment if you have any questions.

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  1. I want to install CU 2013 patch on server in quite or silent mode by using command line,

    How to install all features through command line.

    I tried below command line option, but failed to proceed.

    Setup.exe /mode:Install /r:CA,MB,ET /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms

    Please guide us to install it through batch file.

  2. hello Rajith ,

    Thank you for your posting .

    could you have please any articles talking about how to configure two Exchange 2013 CAS servers .

  3. very good article … Thank you very much .
    could you please where can I find other parts for Deploying , Configuring & Upgrading Exchange 2013


Leave a Comment

Disable Windows Copilot Using Intune

Windows Copilot is Microsoft’s take on making life easier for Windows users using the power of AI. This article explains how to disable the feature using Intune, if your organization is not ready yet to walk into the AI world.

Disable Windows Copilot Using Intune

We need to create a Configuration Profile for Windows devices in the Intune portal to disable Windows Copilot. Below are the steps that we need to create the profile.

Launch the Intune Portal and login as a Global Admin or Intune Admin.

Navigate to Devices -> Windows -> Configuration Profiles.

Windows Configuration Profile Intune

Click on Create -> New Policy.

Select Windows 10 & later as the platform and Settings Catalog as the profile type & click on the Create button.

Settings Catalog Intune CoPilot

Give the policy a meaningful name & description and click Next.

Policy Name Disable CoPilot

Within the configuration settings, click on the Add Settings option.

Add Settings Disable CoPilot

Search for ‘copilot’, Windows AI will come up as the category. Click on Windows AI and the Turn off Copilot in Windows (User) setting will come up. Check the box and click Next.

Turn off CoPilot Setting Intune
Turn off CoPilot Setting Intune Summary 1

Specify scope tags if required and click Next.

Select tags CoPilot Intune

Select who this policy should apply to in the Assignments section. I have selected to add all users. If you want to test the setting, you can create a test group and select that group here.

Similarly, you can also exclude certain group from disabling AI (say IT team) if required.

Add all users disable copilot intune

A summary of selected settings will be displayed. Click on the Create button to setup the policy to disable Windows Copilot.

Create configuration policy disable CoPilot Intune 1

Wait for the replication to complete in the cloud backend and login to your machine. Your chatty Copilot should now be disabled.

Disable Windows Copilot On Windows 11 Pro

Follow the steps below to disable Copilot on a personal Windows 11 Pro machine (say your own laptop).

Search for ‘group’ in Windows 11 and click on Edit Group Policy option.

Group Policy Windows 11 Disable Copilot

Navigate to User Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> Windows Copilot.

Windows Copilot GPO setting

Double click on Turn off Windows Copilot setting on the right pane.

Select Enabled and click OK.

Turn off copilot gpo Windows 11 Pro 1

Close the Group Policy Editor. This will disable Windows Copilot on a Windows 11 Pro machine.


We have learned to disable Windows Copilot using Intune and Group Policy on Windows 11 machines.

Please let me know if you have any questions in the comments section.

Promote Windows Server 2025 To Domain Controller

Domain controllers are the backbone of any Active Directory domains in the Microsoft world. Any Windows server can be promoted to be a domain controller. In this article, we will go through the steps of promoting a Windows 2025 Server to be a domain controller.

Windows Server 2025

The latest version of the server operating system has been named Windows Server 2025. You can start with a 2025 Server & create an AD domain or you can promote a member server that is already a part of a domain.

The Windows Server 2025 needs to be installed on a machine before it can be promoted to be a domain controller.

Promote Windows Server 2025 To Domain Controller

If you have been working with Windows servers long enough, everything starts with the Server Manager app. Promoting a server to a domain controller is no different.

Launch ‘Server Manager’ & click on Add roles and features.

Windows 2025 Server Manager

You land on the summary page that explains what is required to run this wizard successfully. Click Next.

Windows Server 2025 Add Remove Roles

Select Role-based or Feature-based installation and click Next.

Windows Server 2025 Role Based Install

Select the server that needs to be promoted and click Next.

Windows Server 2025 Destination Server

Select Active Directory Domain Services (second option) and click on Add Features.

Windows Server 2025 AD Domain Services

Go with the default options for features that need to be installed.

Windows Server 2025 AD Domain Services Features

A summary of AD DS pops up next, click next to continue.

Windows Server 2025 AD DS

Select Restart the server automatically if required and click Install.

Windows Server 2025 AD Restart Server

You get to keep an eye on the progress of the installation.

Windows Server 2025 AD Install Progress

Once the role has been installed, you will find an exclamation mark on the top right corner of the Server Manager. Click on that and select Promote this server to be a domain controller.

Windows Server 2025 AD Install Continue

You get an error straight away (which you have never seen before) – Error determining whether the target server is already a domain controller. Role change is in progress or this computer needs a restart.

Windows Server 2025 Domain Controller Setup Error

We never needed to restart the server after installing the role in the DC promotion process. Given that it is an insider build of Server 2025, I am hoping that this will get fixed before the public release.

Restart the server, launch Server Manager and click on the Promote this server to be a domain controller option again.

Windows Server 2025 AD Install Continue 1

I am setting up a brand new AD forest and hence I select the third option (Add a new forest) and enter my root domain name.

Windows Server 2025 Add a forest

Next window brings the option to set your forest & domain functional level and the DSRM password. In the insider build, it shows what looks like a variable (the Windows server version on which the you are working).

Windows Server 2025 Forest Functional Level

You can leave the default options in the DNS options wizard and click next.

Windows Server 2025 DNS Options

Enter the netbios name of the domain in the next window and click next.

Windows Server 2025 Netbios Domain Name

You can stick with the default paths for the AD database, log & sysvol folder or pick a location of your choice.

Windows Server 2025 AD Paths

Review the selections that you have made so far and click next.

Windows Server 2025 Options Review

Wait for the green check mark on the prerequisites page and click next.

Windows Server 2025 Pre reqs Check

Click Install in the final window & wait for the magic to happen. Once the machine gets restarted (which it will do automatically), you will have a brand new domain controller based on Windows Server 2025.

Windows Server 2025 AD Snap In


Promoting a Server 2025 to a domain controller follows pretty much the same steps as previous operating systems. The Insider build has few errors that needs to be fixed, but hey, it is an insider build!

Please let me know if you have any questions in the comments section.

Install Windows Server 2025 – Full Guide

Microsoft has released an insider preview of it’s next server operating system named Windows Server 2025. We will have a look at the installation steps involved in setting up a 2025 server.

Windows Server 2025

Microsoft has gone with the same look and feel of Windows 11 operating system in it’s current server operating system – Windows Server 2025. As the product is in insider preview, there might be slight changes before it hits the public shelves.

It is refreshing to see a ‘modern’ feel in the installation process of a server operating system. Gone are the days where the installation of a consumer based OS felt much better compared to it’s server counterpart.

Installing Windows Server 2025

Let’s take a look at the steps involved in setting up a Windows Server 2025 machine. First step is to download the ISO from the Windows Insider portal.

Next step is to boot the virtual / physical machine from the ISO which will kick off the installation of Server 2025.

First option to select is the language settings. Pick the one based which relates to you and click next.

Windows Server 2025 language settings

Select the keyboard settings in the next screen and click next.

Windows Server 2025 keyboard

You get the option to select whether you want to Install Windows Server or Repair the installation. The bottom left corner also has the option to go to the previous version of setup.

Windows Server 2025 setup option

You are asked to enter the product key, which is available in the Windows Insider portal.

Windows Server 2025 product key

Next option to choose is the type of image you want to install – Windows 2025 core or full blown desktop experience.

Windows Server 2025 Desktop

You need to agree to the licensing terms to move forward in the next step.

Windows Server 2025 Agreement License

Select the partition on which the server OS should be installed and click next. You also have the option to slice the partitions the way you see fit in the same screen.

Windows Server 2025 Disk Partitions

The Ready to Install window comes up, click the install button.

Windows Server 2025 Install 1

Installation of Server 2025 is underway and you get to see the progress.

Windows Server 2025 Install Progress

Once the installation is complete, you need to enter an administrator password of your choice to finalize the setup.

Windows Server 2025 Password

And there you go! You see a Windows 11 login screen staring at you ;-)

Windows Server 2025 Login Screen

After logging in, you get to set the options around sending diagnostic data to Microsoft, which I always set as ‘required only’.

Windows Server 2025 Diagnostic Data

The Windows Server 2025 desktop looks similar, doesn’t it? ;-)

Windows Server 2025 Desktop Feel scaled

Now that the server is up and running, you can promote it to be a domain controller.


The Windows Server 2025 has the same look and feel as a Windows 11 operating system. The installation options also provide that modern ‘feel’ and makes it a bit soothing to the eyes!

Please let me know if you have any questions in the comments section.