Installing Windows Server 2003 and Exchange Server 2003 at a Remote Location

Alan explains how to install Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 on a Windows Server 2003 server.

Alan Sugano

April 18, 2005

4 Min Read
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Last month, I discussed the steps for installing a Windows Server 2003 server at a remote location (see the first URL below). This month, I explain how to install Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 on that server. Before you begin, make sure you've ordered the proper software to support Exchange. (Also, make sure to note the size of your mail store because the standard version of Exchange has a maximum database size of 16GB. If your store is close to 16GB, either archive your users' mail or install the enterprise version of Exchange) Of course, you'll need an Exchange Server license and Exchange CALS, but you'll probably need some additional software to go with your Exchange installation.

  1. Virus scanner. I suggest that you purchase a virus scanner that will scrub email messages as they arrive at the Exchange server. This scanner should be in addition to your regular antivirus software. I use Symantec Mail Security for Exchange. Make sure you use version 4.5 or later because earlier versions had problems with heavily loaded Exchange 2003 servers. This server also has Symantec Corporate Edition Antivirus installed on it. Make sure to add the scanning exclusions in Norton AntiVirus (NAV) Corporate edition according to the article " Preventing Symantec AntiVirus Corporate Edition 9.x from scanning the Microsoft Exchange directory structure" at When you install the NAV client on the Exchange server, make sure not to install the Exchange Auto Protect portion of NAV Corporate. Not installing Exchange Auto Protect requires a custom installation initiated from the Exchange server because a push installation from the Symantec System Center will install the Exchange Auto Protect by default. If you do enable Exchange Auto Protect, you might experience mail delivery problems on the server because the Exchange Auto Protect Scanning engine can be overwhelmed by the email traffic on the server. If you install Exchange Auto Protect by accident, reinstall NAV Corporate via the custom option and clear the Exchange Auto Protect option.

  2. Exchange backup agent. To properly back up the Exchange server, you typically need to purchase an additional backup agent. I use VERITAS Backup Exec for Exchange. This agent lets you back up the Exchange databases and, optionally, perform a brick-level backup of the mailboxes. Note that the brick-level backup requires that the backup engine use Messaging API (MAPI) to access the messages, which greatly reduces the throughput of the backup. For installations that have numerous mailboxes, I suggest you use the Recovery Storage Group (RSG) feature in Exchange 2003 and ExMerge to perform a brick-level restore of users' mail boxes.

  3. Antispam software. Unfortunately, spam continues to be a problem and will probably become worse before it gets better. I suggest that you install some type of spam filter on the Exchange server to reduce the amount of junk mail that end users receive in their inboxes. I use GFI Mail essentials, which is a good midrange spam solution for businesses that can't afford an appliance-based spam solution or service. When GFI identifies a message as spam, it can tag the message, redirect the message to a different folder, or delete the message.

  4. Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate. If you plan to use Microsoft Outlook Web Access (OWA) on this server, make sure to install an SSL certificate on the server to encrypt OWA traffic. You can either issue the SSL certificate with Windows 2003 Certificate Services or purchase a commercially available SSL certificate. For information on purchasing an SSL certificate, refer to the SSL Certificate Buyers Guide at


Before you attempt the Exchange 2003 installation, make sure that all the Exchange servers in your organization are visible and available. I once attempted an Exchange 2000 installation when one of the WAN sites was down and the Exchange 2000 installation failed. The error message was very vague and didn't state that the installation was failing because one of the remote locations was down.

When you install Exchange 2003 take advantage of the Exchange Server Deployment Tools. The deployment tools are a series of installation wizards that guide you through the installation steps, according to your configuration. If this is the first Exchange 2003 server, make sure to budget extra time to run Forrestprep and Domainprep.

After the Exchange installation finishes, you can use Active Directory Users and Computers to move the Exchange mailboxes from one server to another. You can use the Exchange System Manager (ESM) or the PfMigrate command-line utility to replicate Public Folders to the new Exchange server. If this server is replacing an existing Exchange 2000 server, follow the steps in the Microsoft article "How to remove the first Exchange 2000 Server computer from the site" ( ) to gracefully remove the old Exchange 2000 server.

Installing Servers at a Remote Location

If you're having DNS problems, visit This site gives a comprehensive report of your domain name and all the records associated with it. Consider entering a Sender Policy Framework (SPF) record for your domain to protect your domain from spoofing attempts and to prevent potential sending problems to other domains. For more information about SPF records refer to

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