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How do I move Exchange Server to a new server?

A. There are two ways: the hard way and the Ed Crowley way. The hard way is to do a complete backup of the old server, then restore the backup to the new server. How hard this actually is depends on your configuration. Even if the backup and restore are easy to accomplish, you must remove the old server before setting up the new one (because you can’t have two servers with the same name at the same time), and that means you run an increased risk of downtime.

In contrast, the Ed Crowley Server Move Method requires you to set up your new server in parallel with the old one, cutting over to the new one only when you're sure it's working properly. To use the Ed Crowley Server Move Method, perform the following steps:

  1. Bring up a new server as a new server in the same site. Use a different name for the new server. If you need to move Exchange to another server with the same name, follow the instructions in the Microsoft article “XADM: How to Move Exchange Server to a New Computer with the Same Name” (
  2. To move user mailboxes to the new server, start Microsoft Exchange Administrator, click Tools, and select Move Mailbox. You can move all the mailboxes at once, one at a time, or several at a time. In many cases, you can move mailboxes during working hours because each user is locked out of his or her mailbox only while that mailbox is being moved.
  3. Create replicas of the public folders on the new server. When the contents of the folders have been replicated (do wait a little while!), remove the folders from the old server.
  4. Create new connectors on the new servers. Change the costs of the old connectors you're replacing to be higher than the new ones, then recalculate routing.
  5. Create mail exchanger (MX) records pointing to the new Internet Mail Service (IMS) as appropriate, and change the cost on the old MX record so that it’s higher than the costs on the new records. When you’ve verified that messages are flowing across the new connectors, remove the old ones, then recalculate routing again.
  6. Follow the steps in the Microsoft article “XADM: How to Remove the First Exchange Server in a Site” ( if the server you're replacing is the first one in the site.
  7. Leave the old server up for a while to give Messaging API (MAPI) clients time to connect to the new server automatically ( the old server provides referrals to the new one). It's true—you don't have to reconfigure MAPI clients!
  8. Tell POP3 and IMAP4 users how to reconfigure their clients to point to the new server.
  9. If you have a WINS or DNS alias for the old server, point it to the new server.
  10. Stop the Exchange services on the old server, then use Exchange Administrator to delete the old server's server object, thus removing it from the site.
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