Transition From Exchange 2003 To 2010, Part 2…

MS Exchange

In part one of this series, we discussed the AD/Exchange requirements for 2003-2010 coexistence. In this part, we will look at preparing the Active Directory, Exchange 2010 pre-requisites and introduction of the first 2010 server into 2003 org.

There are two options for extending the AD schema & preparing AD to accept an Exchange 2010 Server.

  • Easiest and my recommendation is to let Exchange 2010 setup extend the schema & prepare the AD/Domain. Run the 2010 setup and as part of the install, all preparation works will be completed. This is ideal for a single domain environment or small company.
  • Do all the preparation works manually using switches. We go down this route in large companies where an Exchange Administrator doesn’t have Enterprise Admin and Schema Admin rights. Hence, the task has to be passed to the AD Administrator.

Run the following commands as part of the manual preparation.

  • /PrepareLegacyExchangePermissions, if you have previous versions of Exchange already installed. This is required to have RUS & Email Address Policies coexist in the same AD domain.
  • /PrepareSchema, extends the schema with 2010 classes and attributes.
  • /PrepareAD, prepares the AD, upgrades the Exchange Organisation, creates a new Administrative Group.
  • /PrepareDomain, prepares the domain, creates Exchange 2010 universal security groups.

Now that the active directory has been prepared to accept Exchange 2010, we need to think about the 2010 specific requirements. The following are the pre-requisites for Exchange 2010.

  • The base operating system that will run Exchange 2010 has to be either Windows 2008 SP2 or 2008 R2.
  • Make sure that the server is fully patched.
  • Install .Net Framework 3.5 with SP1 (Already in 2008 R2)
  • Install Powershell 2.0 (Already in 2008 R2)
  • Install Office Filter Pack on Hub & Mailbox servers.
  • The startup mode of NetTcpPortSharing service has to be set to automatic (For CAS role). Run Set-Service NetTcpPortSharing –StartupType Automatic from the Powershell or set the startup type to automatic from the Services Console (services.msc).

Set Service

The order of introducing 2010 server into the 2003 Org is CAS, HUB, UM, MAILBOX, EDGE. Certain components like IIS, RPC Proxy, Admin tools etc need to be installed before we start the 2010 setup. For that, launch Powershell and run Import-Module ServerManager.

Run the following command for each role.

For CAS Role:

Add-WindowsFeature NET-Framework,RSAT-ADDS,Web-Server,Web-Basic-Auth,Web-Windows-Auth,Web-Metabase,Web-Net-Ext,Web-Lgcy-Mgmt-Console,WAS-Process-Model,RSAT-Web-Server,Web-ISAPI-Ext,Web-Digest-Auth,Web-Dyn-Compression,NET-HTTP-Activation,RPC-Over-HTTP-Proxy

For HUB Role:

Add-WindowsFeature NET-Framework,RSAT-ADDS,Web-Server,Web-Basic-Auth,Web-Windows-Auth,Web-Metabase,Web-Net-Ext,Web-Lgcy-Mgmt-Console,WAS-Process-Model,RSAT-Web-Server

For Mailbox Role:

Add-WindowsFeature NET-Framework,RSAT-ADDS,Web-Server,Web-Basic-Auth,Web-Windows-Auth,Web-Metabase,Web-Net-Ext,Web-Lgcy-Mgmt-Console,WAS-Process-Model,RSAT-Web-Server

In our environment, we will be installing CAS & HUB roles on the 2008 R2 server named CASHUB. I won’t go through the installation steps one by one, as everyone is familiar with the process. Launch Setup from the DVD and follow the wizard with a custom installation option to install CAS & HUB roles.

Configure the “CAS External Domain” when asked during the setup. Enter the domain name for external client access as (2010 OWA URL in my example). The only difference here from a standard 2010 installation is the addition of one more option in the setup, when the HUB server is introduced into 2003 org. The setup asks for a 2003 server to be selected to create a routing group connector.


I selected the 2003FE as the bridgehead server for routing.


Proceed with the setup and finish the installation. You now have a 2003 Org with a 2003 Frontend, 2003 Backend & 2010 CAS&HUB; combined server.

In the next part of the article, I will explain the changes in 2003 Org after the introduction of 2010 server, installation of 2010 Mailbox server & testing of email flow between 2003 & 2010.

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  1. Wondering if you have released part 3 as I can’t find it?

    I’m planning on a transition from Exchange 2003 to 2010, but I only want to keep the 2010 afterwards. Any recommendation or guides for doing so?

    I’m on a Windows 2003 SP2 with my Exchange 2003 in a 2008 R2 AD. New server will be 2008 R2 aswell with the latest Exchange 2010.

    Some recommended me to extract all mailboxes from 2003 first, then shut it down, install the 2010 and import mailboxes again. But, not sure what will happend to my AD users, as I can only see Exchange informations on my users when I’m on my 2003 Exchange server.


  2. Hi Rajith,
    Thanks for your prompt respond :)
    I have search high and low , but still not able to locate part 3 :(

    Can Rajith assist to give the link?

    Thanks in advance.

    • Sorry Pulantai.

      Part 3 is not online yet. I thought it was ;) Let me know if you have any questions and I will help you out.

  3. Hi Rajith,

    Above you mentioned if we run setup.exe we don’t need to apply these manually. Is it correct?
    • /PrepareLegacyExchangePermissions,
    • /PrepareSchema,
    • /PrepareAD
    • /PrepareDomain,



    • Hi Umar,

      That is correct. The setup will do it anyway. It is recommended to do it using the command line if you have a complex AD.

  4. Hi Rajith,

    I got couple of questions to ask and I hope you can help me.

    1. Our current Exchange server got ‘Windows Server 2003 standard edition SP1’ operating system with ‘Exchange Server 2003 SP2’ installed. Does this match the criteria for transition from 2003 to 2010 exchange?

    Also I’ve demoted Windows 20003 DC’s in our domain. Currently I’ve got windows server 2008 R2 DC’s but with domain&forest function level at 2003.

    I want to know if it’s ok to raise my domain&forest level to 2008 R2. Does this going to affect exchange 2003 at all?

    Or is it best to install exchange 2010 on current configuration and change domain&forest level on later.

    I hope you can help me.



    • Hi Umar,

      Better to install Exchange 2010 and then move the functional levels up.
      And good to patch Windows on your Exchange 2003 box.

  5. Hi Rajith,

    My question is when you configure this part ‘Enter the domain name for external client access as (2010 OWA URL in my example) ‘ . currenlty we got webmail with address ‘’ when i am going to configure this option on 2010 can i use the same url or i have to choose different address for 2010 outlook web app.

    your post is very good and waiting for 3rd one.



  6. hi,
    do you find any problem at all using a new name for Exchange 2010 OWA (, and keeping the existing name for Exchange 2003?
    Will that raise any issue in the future for not using instead?

  7. This is one of the nicest set of transition instructions I have seen yet. Looking forward to Part 3.

    Thanks for taking the time to share.

  8. When I move the mailbox from exchange server 2007 to exchange server 2010, the home exchange server MAPI still reads the old exchange server name [i.e. 2007 Server name]. The MAPI tag is PR_EMS_AB_HOME_MTA_W. I am kind of new bee for all these administrative activities done on Exchange server. The catch is for the mailboxes migrated from 2003 to 2007, the home exchange server name is updated and reads the 2007 server name. I hope the re-homing for the migrated accounts happen during the mailbox movement. But the rehoming doesn't happen during the 2007 to 2010 mailbox migration. Is there any option in the mailbox movement wizard to enforce rehoming in 2010.


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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.