Exchange 2000 Installation

Planning your Exchange 2000 Installation

It is more difficult to install Exchange 2000 than any other Microsoft product.  A list, as in shopping list, will not be good enough; you need you need a plan, as in planning a military campaign.


A further difficult with an Exchange installation is the setup menu is quirky.  It has several strange drop down menus unlike any other Microsoft program.


Here follow some advice from an independent consultant to help you install Exchange 2000.


Exchange 2000 Setup Tactics

Windows 2000’s role in the Exchange 2000 installation

Before starting the practical aspect of installing Exchange 2000, you must decid your strategy and tactics.  If you have not done this see Exchange Migration.

Exchange 5.5 has its own directory database (DIR.EDB).  As a pre-requisite to installing Exchange 2000, this information must be transferred to Windows 2000’s Active Directory.  Incidentally, Exchange 2000 also relies on Windows 2000 for IIS, the SMTP service, security and Event Viewer.

You may already realise that Exchange 2000 needs to alter the Active Directory schema.  This makes sense when you realize that a mailbox is now an attribute of the user, hence the user object needs extra attributes which translate to tabs in the user property sheets.

1. Simple install – just ‘launch’ setup.exe

If you are a small organization with one domain, all you need to do is logon as THE administrator, put in the CD, and Autorun will then launch the Exchange 2000 setup menu.  This is because the Administrator is a member of not only the Administrators group, but also a Schema Admin and Enterprise Admin.  (You can check this information by examining the property sheet of Administrator in Active Directory Users and Computers.)

  Get a test machine to install Exchange 2000, then you can practice with its quirky setup interface.

2. Install in stages:

a) setup /forestprep

b) setup /domainprep

c) finally plain: setup


There are two reasons why you may want to install Exchange 2000 in stages, security and the time it takes to run the first full setup.  The adage: ‘The more security you have the more work there will be’, applies here.  To install Exchange 2000 you must be a member of the Enterprise Admins and Schema Admins. 

‘Best practice’ for high security companies recommends that the Enterprise Admins membership should be restricted and that only the MD or CEO know the accounts password.  ‘Best practice’ also advises leaving the Schema Admins group empty until you need to modify the schema.  Well this is one of those occasions.  The solution is more to do with company policy than technical difficulty.  Create an account, make them a member of the Enterprise Admins, Schema Admins, Domain Admins, then logon and run the Exchange setup with the /forestprep switch. 

What setup /forestprep does is create the Exchange Organisation name in Active Directory, as well as modifying the users attributes to include a mailbox.  Setup /domainprep creates two new security groups Exchange Domain Servers and Exchange Enterprise Servers. You can inspect the new groups in the USERS folder of Active Directory Users and Computers.  The other benefit of running these switches early in the deployment is that it will save time later; allowing ordinary administrator to install the exchange binary files quickly.

3. Remember that the Strategy is Co-existence

What you want to achieve is a new Exchange 2000 server in an existing Exchange 5.5. site.  When you run setup on the Exchange server, you will need the name of an existing Exchange 5.5. server as well as the NT 4.0 service account name and password.  A final complication is that you may need to be an administrator in the NT 4.0 domain and this may involve creating trusts and adding the Active Directory installation account to the NT 4.0′ Administrators Local Group.

Read all menus and error messages – extra   c a r e f u l l y.




  • Check Active Directory, a user’s property sheet is a good place to start.
  • Check DNS, NSLookup is the tool of choice.
  • LDAP port 389 in use, so cannot connect to Exchange 5.5.  Solution change and synchronise port numbers.
  • The M: drive is in use.  M: needed as a Virtual Drive by EXIFS.  Solution, check if you have a drive mapped to M:, if so delete and recreate using another drive letter.
  • If installation fails make sure you delete EXCHSRV\mbdata before trying again.
  • Why does no-one ever check the Event Viewer?  If there is a problem you will see a red error dot in the logs.  Remember to check the Application log as well as the System log.  If the messages are not self explanatory, look up the error number in TechNet.

Install revisited

One you have completed the main installation, I recommend running Exchange Setup again.  This time check through all the menus; for example, the option to JUST install the Administrative Program will be useful for Windows 2000 professional and save that long walk to the dark, noisy server room!

Download your Exchange 2000 Migration eBook for only $4.95

Exchange MigrationThe extra features you get in your eBook include:  ‘How to…’ sections with screen shots.  New pages with detailed instructions and advice on how to plan your migration.

Lots of tips, recommendations and troubleshooting advice.  Problem solving section.  Active Directory explained.  Printer friendly pages.



See Also