Where and how can I run the Exchange Server 2003 ForestPrep?

A. Exchange 2003 makes several changes to the Active Directory (AD) schema and configuration partitions. As you might know, one schema exists for the entire forest, and one domain controller (DC)--the Schema Master operations master--can modify the schema. As a result, you must run the ForestPrep portion of the configuration in the forest root domain (i.e., the first domain created in the forest). This requirement changes the schema for your entire forest, so ensure that you want to perform this step. If you're just experimenting with the Exchange 2003 software, you should run ForestPrep on a separate test forest first to ensure that you don't encounter any problems. After you start the schema update, you can't cancel it.

To run the Exchange 2003 ForestPrep, perform the following steps:

  1. Log on to a DC in the forest root domain as a user who is a member of both the Schema Admins and Enterprise Admins groups.
  2. Insert the Exchange 2003 installation CD-ROM or connect to a share that has the installation files.
  3. Start Windows Explorer, navigate to the setup\i386 folder on the CD-ROM (or on the network share), then double-click setup.exe.
  4. Setup will copy several files to the DC, and the Microsoft Exchange Installation Wizard will start. Click Next.
  5. Click "I agree" to the license agreement, then click Next.
  6. The wizard will display the components to be installed; notice under Action that ForestPrep is selected, as this figure shows. Click Next.
  7. The wizard will prompt you for the account that will be the primary Exchange account. Enter the account you want to use, then click Next.
  8. The Schema update will start and might take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours, depending on your hardware and configuration.
  9. After the Schema update finishes, click Finish to close the completion dialog box.

Note that failing to run ForestPrep won't stop an Exchange 2003 installation--Exchange 2003 will attempt to perform the ForestPrep during the installation, but this approach might cause problems.

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