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Exchange Server 2007: Upgrading from Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2008

As you may have read in our Exchange Server 2007 and Windows Server 2008 blog post, the RTM version of Exchange 2007 cannot be installed on Windows Server 2008, but Exchange 2007 Service Pack 1 (SP1) will be supported for installation on Windows Server 2008. Here’s the tricky part: Exchange 2007 SP1 can be installed on Windows Server 2008, but Windows Server 2008 cannot be installed on Exchange 2007 SP1. This means that all computers running Exchange 2007 SP1 must have Windows Server 2008 already installed before Exchange can be installed on the system. This also means that you cannot take an existing Exchange 2007 server (RTM or SP1) running on Windows Server 2003, and do an in-place upgrade of the operating system to Windows Server 2008.

Or can you? I decided to give it a try myself (so you don’t have to – please don’t try this at home, or at work). I was completely undeterred by the many technical reasons why an in-place upgrade of the operating system cannot be performed on an Exchange server. For example:

There is the paradox of needing the Exchange pre-requisites for Windows 2008 before Exchange 2007 SP1 is installed. This includes Windows 2008 counterparts pre-requisites, such as RSAT-ADDS (the Active Directory Management tools in Windows Server 2008), Windows PowerShell (which ships in Windows Server 2008), and IIS (IIS 7.0 ships in Windows Server 2008, and it is significantly different from IIS 6.0, which ships in Windows Server 2003). If Exchange is already on the box (Windows 2003), you’re installing the Exchange pre-requisites for Windows 2008 after Exchange is already installed on Windows 2008 (because you have to upgrade the OS to Windows 2008 before you can install any of the Exchange pre-requisites).

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In the meantime, we encourage you to try out SP1 and Windows Server 2008 in your labs. Here’s some fresh content and other useful links to help you get started:

Microsoft, Exchange Server 2007, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server Longhorn, Upgrading, Guide, Tutorial, Knowledgebase, Article

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