ServersLearn Exchange Server 2000: ForestPrep and DomainPrep

Learn Exchange Server 2000: ForestPrep and DomainPrep

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by Michael Bell

Last week we spoke about the requirements to install Exchange 2000. We discussed both hardware and software issues, and even talked a little bit about monitoring our Exchange server to keep an eye on resource utilization. Before we actually start our Exchange installation, though, we need to talk about the rights required to install Exchange 2000 onto the network.

Michael Bell’s latest article in the Learning Exchange Server 2000 in 15 Minutes a Week series takes a look at the rights required to install Exchange 2000 and focuses on two pre-installation utilities, ForestPrep and DomainPrep, that are designed to facilitate smooth Exchange Server installations.

Exchange 2000 was the first Enterprise application designed by Microsoft to take advantage of the extensibility of the Windows 2000 Active Directory schema. By introducing Exchange into our network, we will now have a directory that understands mailboxes and virtual servers, amongst other things. In order to accomplish this task, we need an account that has the appropriate rights to modify the schema of Active Directory. This requires an account that is a member of both the Schema Administrators and Enterprise Administrators groups. The user must be a member of the local Administrators group as well.

Now this presents a quandry, because in a typical Enterprise environment, the number of users that will be in those first two groups is (or should be) extremely small. It is a quandry because, typically, the Exchange Administrator will not be a member of either of those two groups. So how can we extend the schema if we aren’t a member of the appropriate groups? Enter ForestPrep. Running setup with the ForestPrep switch will allow an Enterprise admin to extend the schema of AD without actually performing an installation of Exchange 2000. By completing this step, the Enterprise Administrator has extended the schema to understand the new object classes and attributes that will be used by Exchange 2000. When they are finished, we will be one step closer to staring the installation of our first Exchange 2000 server.

There are a couple of things to consider when running setup with the ForestPrep switch. We have already covered the rights issue. There is also the issue with spelling. Believe it or not, if you run setup with the ForestPrep switch, and don’t spell ForestPrep correctly, it will launch the full blown installation program and attempt to install Exchange 2000. I will be showing you the screens from ForestPrep later on in this article, and will point out what to look for.

You should be aware of the fact that by running ForestPrep, you will be given the opportunity to specify an account that is going to be granted Exchange Full Administrator permissions to the root of the Exchange Organization. Another thing to be aware of is that ForestPrep should be run in the same domain as the Schema Master, which by default is the Forest Root. If you are uncertain about what the Schema Master is, look here.

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