Home > Exchange > Exchange 2013 Step By Step: AD Preparation Notes

Exchange 2013 Step By Step: AD Preparation Notes

February 28th, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

First step to get to an installation of Exchange server is to make the Active Directory ready for it. So lets have a quick look at AD Preparation for Exchange Server 2013.

 Steps involved in Active Directory Preparation


  1. Schema master, Global Catalogue, and Domain Controller
    1. Minimum – Windows Server 2003 Standard with SP2
    1. Supported Up to – Windows Server 2012
    1. Read Only Domain Controller can not be used by Exchange
  1. Active Directory Forest Functional Level
    1. Windows Server 2003 or Higher
  1. Operating System and its components on the server where setup tasks are executed
    1. Install Pre-Requisite Softwares (These are included in Windows Server 2012 – so no need to install separately)
      1. Microsoft .Net Framework 4.5
      2. Windows Management Framework 3.0
    1. Install Active Directory Administration tools
      1. From Powershell run below cmdlets
      1. On Windows Server 2012: Install-WindowsFeature RSAT-ADDS
      1. On Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1: Add-WindowsFeature RSAT-ADDS
  1. Permissions

The account used to executed AD Preparation Tasks need below permissions

a) For SchemaPrep

=> Member of Schema Admins and Enterprise Admins AD Group

b) For PrepareAD

=> Member of Enterprise Admins AD Group

c) For preparing all of your domains together(if you have multiple Domains where you will have Exchange Servers or Recipients)

=> Member of Enterprise Admins AD Group

d) For Preparing the currently logged on Domain or a Named Domain

1) If the Domain was already existing before Preparing AD for Exchange

=> The account needs to be member of the Domain Admins AD Group on the particular domain you are preparing

2) If the Domain was created after the AD was prepared for Exchange

=> The account needs to be member of “Organization Management” RBAC Group and “Domain Admins” AD Group

  1. Multi forest environment: If you have multiple forests, make sure you are preparing your Exchange forest(the AD forest where you want to deploy Exchange Server 2013) and not the other forests.
  2. Where to run the AD Preparation Tasks
    1. On a 64bit Member Server or
    1. On a 64bit Writable Domain Controller
    1. PrepareSchema and PrepareAD should be run from the same AD site as Schema Master


Steps to prepare AD:

If your Active Directory and Exchange is managed by same IT Team, its quick straight forward:
Note: Setup program is available in Exchange 2013 Media
Note: With all the setup commands you must specify /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms, this is different from Exchange 2010.


From PowerShell or Command Prompt execute below (Make sure you run them with Elevated Rights):

Option 1)

Execution: Setup /PrepareAD [/OrganizationName:<organization name>]  or setup /p [/on:<organization name>]

Verification:  msExchProductId attribute value of the Organization Container should be 15.00.0516.032


Option 2) Run your first exchange server setup installation using GUI Wizard, it will prepare all the AD Preparation Tasks during the setup

Note:- This is not possible if you are not planning to install any Exchange server in the same site as Schema Master because some times Schema Master is kept in an isolated AD Site


If your AD Team and Exchange Team has separate Active Directory Rights and Restrictions:


Note: – Make sure you wait for AD Replication to be complete before proceeding from one step to another, otherwise you might end up in an error like below:



1) Preparing Schema

Execution: Setup /PrepareSchema  or setup /ps

Verification: After the successful completion of Schema Preparation, the value of rangeUpper will be 15137 on ms-Exch-Schema-Version-Pt Attribute, you can view this by using ADSIEDIT, LDP.exe, Schema Management MMC Snapin, or even by using Powershell.


2) Preparing AD (Exchange Organization Preparation and Current Domain Preparation)

Execution: setup /PrepareAD [/OrganizationName:<organization name>] or setup /p [/on:<organization name>]


ObjectVersion attribute value of the Organization container should be 15449

msExchProductId attribute value of the Organization Container should be 15.00.0516.032

ObjectVersion attribute value of the “Microsoft Exchange System Objects” OU in the root domain should be 13236

A New group called “Exchange Install Domain Servers” is created under the MESO OU (read previous line).

Check¬† if the “Microsoft Exchange Security Groups” OU is created in the root domain and it contains the default RBAC Security Groups:


3) Preparing a Domain (Other than the domain where we did ran PrepareAD – PrepareAD prepares the Local Domain as well)

Execution:  setup /PrepareDomain or setup /pd

To prepare all the domains in your Forest:  setup /PrepareAllDomains or setup /pad


A new group called “Exchange Install Domain Servers” is created in the local Domain under the “MESO”(Microsoft Exchange System Objects) OU

Exchange Install Domain Servers group is member of the “Exchange Servers” Group in the root domain


For a granular steps on the verification aspect, refer an old post here, which is for Exchange 2013 Preview but the verification methods still remain same.

In the next post we will have a look at the Server Installation steps in different scenarios.

Cheers, and share your comments below if any.

  1. No comments yet.