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Upgrading from Exchange 2003 to 2010

Vladimir Meloski [MCSE, MCITP, MCT, MVP]

Vladimir Meloski [MCSE, MCITP, MCT, MVP] Photo

Vladimir Meloski is a Microsoft Certified Trainer and Most Valuable Professional on Exchange Server. He is a consultant, providing unified communications and infrastructure solutions based on Exchange Server and System Center. Vladimir has been involved in Microsoft Conferences in Europe and US as a Speaker, Proctor for Hands on Labs and Expert.

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In this article we will describe the process of upgrading an Exchange organization from version 2003 to 2010. We start from the introduction of the first Exchange 2010 server and complete it with the decommissioning of the last Exchange 2003 server.

Hub Transport Server Coexistence

NOTE: If planning to employ the Exchange 2010 Edge Transport please skip this section. The following articles discuss deploying the Edge Transport server role. These were written for Exchange 2007 however they are still largely valid for Exchange 2010 as well:
Installing, Configuring Exchange 2007 Edge Server (Part 1)
Installing, Configuring Exchange 2007 Edge Server (Part 2)
Deploy an Edge Transport Server in an Existing Exchange Server 2003 Organization

Exchange 2010 provides two server roles for handling email transport, the Edge and Hub transport roles. In simple terms we can consider the Hub Transport to be the replacement for the Exchange 2003 transport functionality. Thus here we consider the transition from the Exchange 2003 transport to the Exchange 2010 Hub transport.

After installing Exchange 2010, the mail from/to the internet still flows through the Exchange 2003 bridgehead. In order to reroute the mail transport to go through the new Exchange 2010 Server, the inbound and outbound traffic should be reconfigured, depending on the company messaging infrastructure.

To allow inbound traffic from the internet, the SMTP gateway or firewall should point to the new Exchange 2010 Hub Transport server. In addition the Receive Connector at the Hub Transport should be configured to allow the "Anonymous users" permission group. In this manner the Hub Transport accepts incoming emails from external SMTP servers.

Anonymous User Permissions

To allow outbound traffic to the Internet, a Send Connector with * namespace should be configured to route outgoing messages directly or using smart host. This can be done from the Exchange Management Console or the Exchange Management Shell using the following command:
new-SendConnector -Name 'Internet Connector' -Usage 'Internet' -AddressSpaces 'SMTP:*;1' -IsScopedConnector $false -DNSRoutingEnabled $true -UseExternalDNSServersEnabled $false -SourceTransportServers 'MAIL2010'

Mailbox Server Role Coexistence

At the Exchange 2010 Management Console, mailboxes located on Exchange 2003 Servers are classified as "Legacy Mailbox".

Legacy Mailboxes

The process of moving mailboxes to Exchange 2010 is called Local Move Request (local is for moving within the same forest). When moving from Exchange 2003, the user is disconnected during the move process. Unfortunately online mailbox moves as discussed in Exchange 2010 Online Mailbox Move, a Deep Dive, are only possible if the source mailbox is located on Exchange 2007/2010.

Mailbox move requests can be performed using both Exchange Management Console and Exchange Management Shell. For example:
New-MoveRequest -Identity '' -TargetDatabase EX2010DB01

Once the mailboxes are moved, we should proceed with moving public folders. To discover public folder replicas, at the shell run the following:
Get-PublicFolder -recurse | FL Name,Replicas

The next step is to open the Exchange 2003 System Manager and to locate the Public Folder store database. Here right-click the database and choose Move All Replicas. When prompted to choose for a destination public folder database, select the one located on Exchange 2010.

The process can be monitored using the same Exchange Management Shell command:
Get-PublicFolder -recurse | FL Name,Replicas

The Exchange 2003 Recipient Update Service should also be reconfigured to use Exchange 2010 Servers. This is done from the Exchange System Manager.

At the end, mailboxes and public folder databases on Exchange 2003 servers should be deleted using the Exchange System Manager. This process does not delete the database files from the file system, so file deletion should be done manually.

When all resources are moved to the Exchange 2010 Servers, the routing group connectors between the Exchange 2003 and 2010 routing groups should be deleted using the Exchange 2003 System Manager.

Remove Routing Group Connector

Finally Exchange 2003 can be removed from Control Panel | Add Remove Programs on Windows 2003.

Uninstall Exchange 2003


Upgrading an Exchange Organization from version 2003 to 2010 is a process that requires analyzing the current messaging infrastructure and designing the new one.

The two versions can coexist. If properly planned, keeping in mind legacy applications running on Exchange 2003, we can avoid service interruption.

At the end, introducing Exchange 2010 should allow us to lower costs and at the same time improve productivity.


Planning for Exchange 2010

Deploying Exchange 2010

User Comments - Page 1 of 1

KM 11 Jun 2012 02:21
Please share me the notes on how to do the upgrade, as I am still running Xchange 2003 on the network but now want to migrate to 2010 with production srvr but want to try to limit the downtime time!!

I have prepared my box (2008 srvr 64bit) to host the 2010 while the other box still running server 2003 and xchange 2003!

Need to upgrade SBS 2003 to SBS server 2011 on new hardware along with exchange server 2003 to 2011 20 Oct 2011 06:34

I need to update the exchange server 2003 to exchange server 2011 and need all my data,mailboxes on new exchange server in new server hardware?

How can I do that?
Does it doable remotely?

Also We have SBS 2003 DC and need to install SBS 2011 or SBS 2008 enterprise, how can I install all 2003 DC settings(ADS) on SBS 2011 or WIn Server 2008 enterprise?

please send your valuable answers at


Roshi Singh
Need to upgrade SBS 2003 to SBS server 2011 on new hardware along with exchange server 2003 to 2011 20 Oct 2011 06:31

I need to update the exchange server 2003 to exchange server 2011 and need all my data,mailboxes on new exchange server in new server hardware?

How can I do that?
Does it doable remotely?

Also We have SBS 2003 DC and need to install SBS 2011 or SBS 2008 enterprise, how can I install all 2003 DC settings(ADS) on SBS 2011 or WIn Server 2008 enterprise?
Satish 12 Jul 2011 22:52
Dear All,

I followed few articles on net and was able to install Ex2010 in co-existence with 2003. Now a very strange things is happening. If i move any mailbox from Exchange 2003 to 2010 it doesnt receive any mail. Even a mail to itself doesnt get delivered. If i create a new mailbox in Exchange 2010 then it can receive and send mail without any issue. I am not able to get why its happening. Any help will be appreciated..

Thanks n advance.. 21 May 2011 08:14
This was very well written and concise.
Charles 15 Apr 2011 07:33
Hello Frank Bicocchi, i am in the middle of an Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2010 transition. I plan to do a onetime cutover/move request of all mailboxes, on a weekend. So far everything's good.I would like to ping with you and ask a few questions especially the steps to the coexistence mode in case i decide to implement it within the time frame i have for this project.Thank you very much for your response.If you decide to email me, my address is Thanks again.
PeteLong 4 Apr 2011 09:00
Heres some info you might find usefull
TST32TL 30 Mar 2011 14:08
Does anyone know if I can completely skip Public folder database during the upgrade from Exchange 2003 to 2010? That means in the new environment, I don't need it, I don't want it. Can it be deleted or removed completely without doing transfer of replicas?
Thomas Deliduka 17 Mar 2011 14:25
I don't know if you can answer this (if you're monitoring comments). This is a question about semantics. We have a server we'll call it "exchange1" that we're building as our new exchange server and we were going to have the CAS role be on "exchange2". According to your article. it sounds like I need to be building "exchange2" first before I install "exchange1" so the server roles are on the right servers. Is that right?
Alexander Zammit 10 Feb 2011 15:00
Thanks for sharing your experience Frank
Frank Bicocchi 10 Feb 2011 13:30
I had just performed an exchange 2003 to exchange 2010 migration. First off, this went flawless! I was so happy with the outcome. As many of you know, Exchange 2010 requires 64 bit OS. THEREFORE, I started the projected by creating a new 64-bit Windows 2008 enterprise server and a new windows 2008 64 bit enterprise domain controller in an existing 2003 active directory environment. First, let me say that you have to run adprep off the 2008 cd on your DC that holds your fsmo roles. I installed exchange 2010 and brought up a new BES 5.0.2 server as I thought this would be an excellent time to refresh corporate blackberry users. I love this version of exchange! I was running co-existence mode until the migration was complete and then I uninstalled exchange 2003 from my environment and retired that old clunky exchange server. Let me say that despite the noise about making your client access and mailbox role a VM. I had no issue doing this, as I am a huge VMware and virtualization fan. I have had no issue with my cas, hub, and mailbox roles all in one VM with zero performance issues. One thing I do not like is that by design store.exe is now a memory hog! However, there are parameters that you can use in adsiedit.msc where you can limit the memory usage of store.exe that work great! All in all the only complaint I got was from the helpdesk, as they cannot install Exchange management tools on their desktops because they run 32 bit OS. I told them to upgrade their desktop OS to 64 bit so they can run the tools. I know they make some third party management tools that allow your helpdesk to still perform common exchange tasks but I am NOT a big third party fan. If anyone has any questions about more details about my migration from exchange 2003 to 2010 I will be more than happy to answer them. In addition, when you plan your exchange 2010 rollout one big thing to remember here is give yourself plenty of space for the info store lun as exchange 2010 does NOT like to have less than 2 gb free space of the store lun or luns. If it goes below 2 GB mail will stop flowing and will not flow again until you free up some space.
Frank Bicocchi
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