Installing Exchange Server 2007

All installations reward planning; in the case of Exchange 2007, decide on the underlying operating system and then decide which Exchange roles to install.  The trickiest feature of Exchange 2007 is not the installation, but the new method of creating Mailboxes from the Exchange manager.  In Exchange 2007, creating mailboxes (mailbox enabled users) with Active Directory Users and Computers is really good.  Any objects you manage to create have no SMTP address and don’t work.  You simply must use the Exchange Management Console to create mailboxes.

Choose your Underlying Operating System

Before you install Exchange Server 2007, you need a 64-bit operating system; you can choose the Windows Server 2003 R2 rather than the minimum requirement of Windows Server 2003 with SP1.

An even better option would be to install Exchange Server 2007 SP1 on Windows Server 2008, but note those three letters: SP1.  Just to emphasise that for Server 2008 you need the later, slipstreamed SP1 DVD (or image), and not the original RTM disk.  Furthermore, you need a clean install of Windows Server 2008 on 64-bit hardware, and not an upgrade from W2K3.

It terms of tactics, Microsoft recommend that you install Exchange 2007 on member server.  Exchange on a  Domain Controller is not supported, and should only be used for testing where you only have one machine. 

Active Directory

Creating the Active Directory domain is not strictly a part of installing Exchange, a brief description of the most important features for the sake of completeness is added as below: 

Domain Functional Level

The Domain Function Level must be at least – Windows 2000 Server Native.  Fortunately, this is not a great burden as there is only one lower setting, 2000 Mixed.  This is a reminder that Exchange Server 2007 has Servered the umbilical cord to Exchange 5.5.   Thus all those old 5.5 servers must be decommissioned and removed if you are migrating an existing organization to Exchange Server 2007.

You also need to check the Forest Functional Level, particularly where you want the advanced features of Exchange 2007.  Incidentally, Functional Level is my one of my ‘Litmus tests’ for seeing if people have sufficient Active Directory knowledge to install Exchange 2007.  If someone does not know how to find and configure Function Levels, then they are likely to need help installing Exchange 2007.

Global Catalog

Every active directory site where you install Exchange Server 2007 needs at least one Global Catalog server.  As you may know, GC is a configurable role of every domain controller.


System Icon – DNS Domain Configuration

As with Exchange 200x, the mail server relies on Active Directory.  Therefore, it is recommended to install a Windows Server 2003 (RC2) member server then run DCPROMO.

DNS – Automatic addition of _SRV

After installing the active directory domain, the plan is to persuade DCPROMO to install DNS using the wizard to automatically add all the _SRV records. To succeed, at the menu below, select the middle (automatic) option, Install and configure DNS server on this computer.

After finishing with DCPROMO go to the Services and Stop then restart the Netlogon Service.  What will be followed is a magic moment, restarting the Netlogon Service triggered the creation of all the DNS records under _msdcs.

The bottom line is check that DNS has the ‘A’ Host record for each Exchange 2007 server.

Key preparation steps before you install Exchange 2007:

At every stage of installing Exchange 2007, kind friendly wizards guide you through the minefield.  Here is a screen shot of the wizard checking then explaining a problem with mixed mode.

Raise Domain Level
As indicated by the wizard, it is good to Raise Domain Level 2003 (2000).  You can launch the ADUC (Active Directory Users and Computers), right click on your domain and select, Raise Domain Function Level.  If you had no old domain controllers, then chose Windows Server 2003.

Global Catalog
Insure that at least one Domain Controller on the subnet where you install Exchange 2007 has Global Catalog enabled.

.Net Framework 2.0
Exchange 2007 requires .Net Framework 2.0 (or 3.0). We need to install PowerShell before the main Exchange 2007.  This is an indication of the importance of the new PowerShell / PowerShell cmdlets.

MMC v 3.0
When you install Windows Server 2003, Exchange 2007 needs
MMC v 3.0.

Once you start using Exchange Server 2007 it wont belong before you meet PowerShell.  If follows therefore, that you have to add it as a ‘Feature’ of Windows Server 2008, else, on Windows Server 2003 install PowerShell together with .Net Framework by downloading the files from Microsoft’s site.

64-bit Hardware
Production versions of Exchange 2007 require 64-bit hardware.  Don’t be lulled by 32-bit beta versions of Exchange 2007, they are only for testing, and for a specific preparation context.  That context is to prepare Active Directory and domains for Exchange 2007 from a computer that has a 32-bit processor.  Remember that Exchange 2007 will be the first Microsoft product which runs solely on 64-bit processors. 

Other than this processor requirement, just use common sense and provide plenty of RAM.  It’s also worth spending a few minutes thought and planning on the disks sizes and partitions, particularly servers hosting the Mailbox Role.  For larger organization, this would be a good time to review your SAN (Storage Area Network) needs.

Finally, avoid ‘over-think’, you do not, repeat, not need the NNTP service.  The good news is that the wizard coupled with the result pane not only alerts you to the problem, but also suggests a remedy.

Installation Switches to Prepare Active Directory

Prerequisites, you need the Exchange Server 2007 disk or image.  (SP1 would be even better)  Each command is prefaced by setup.  You could also try setup /? to see the full list of options, for example: /mode or /role.

Setup /PrepareAD  Creates the necessary global Exchange objects and universal security groups in Active Directory.  Must be run by a member of the Enterprise Admins group, run this command in both the root and current domain.  You may find that if you run this command as a Schema Admin (and Enterprise Admin), there is no need to run the other commands.

/PrepareLegacyExchangePermissions  This command is needed if your organization contains Exchange Server 2003 or 2000 computers.  It modifies the permissions assigned to the Enterprise Exchange Servers group so that the Recipient Update Service can run.  Remember to logon as a member of the Enterprise Admins group.

/PrepareSchema  This prepares the Active Directory schema so that it allows Exchange Server 2007 to install.  You must be a member of both the Schema Admins and Enterprise Admins.  You need to run this command in the root domain, or the domain which holds the Schema Master role.

/PrepareDomain /PrepareDomain domainname  This creates a new global group in the Microsoft Exchange System Objects container called Exchange.  You must be a member of both the Enterprise Admins and the Domain Admins group.

One more point, if you are using a Windows Server 2008 computer, first install the AD DS management tools.

Finalise Deployment Tab

Once the Exchange setup wizard finishes its tasks, there is yet more work for you.  Seek out the Finalize Deployment tab, and also the End-to-End Scenarios tab.

Launch the Exchange Management Console, select Microsoft Exchange in the left tree, and now you should see the ‘Finalize Deployment tab’.   Most of these configuration tasks are optional, and will vary depending on which Server Role(s) you added.

While you have the Management Console open, take the chance to investigate the End-to-End Scenarios tab.  As with the previous tab, these tasks are optional and vary depending on which Exchange 2007 features you added.

Verification Check List

·         Check the installation log at: C: \ExchangeSetupLogs.  Also check the system and application event logs.

·         Launch the Exchange Management Console and check your newly installed Exchange server.  If this is a brand new installation check that the Organization Name is the same as you planned.

·         Create a mail-enabled user and then connect to that mailbox using Outlook Web Access, or an Outlook client if you prefer.

·         Once you create a Hub Server see if you can receive email from another mail-enabled account.

·         For CAS servers make sure you check with OWA.

·         In the case of the Edge Server send email to an external internet account.

·         Check that services to see that the dozen or so Microsoft Exchange Services are running.  Note they begin with Microsoft and not Exchange. 

·         If anything seems wrong check the Exchange files underneath: C: \Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server. 

·         When there is no quick resolution to the problem, seek the ExBPA (Exchange Server Best Practices Analyzer), then run the Exchange 2007 Readiness check.  The best way is to launch the Exchange Management Console and open the Toolbox and there you will find the Exchange Server Best Practices Analyser.

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13 thoughts on “Installing Exchange Server 2007”

  1. Wow, this can be quite effective. Thank you for the post…really good info

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