How to prepare Active Directory separately in Exchange Server 2013 SP1

In this Tutorial we are going over the process to prepare Active Directory which is a required step when deploying the first Exchange Server 2013 Service Pack 1 (SP1 or CU4).


As usual, before starting the technical steps I would like to point out a few key points that the administrator should know before performing the tasks of this Tutorial, as follows:

  • The steps of this Tutorial are not required to be done manually, during the graphical user interface of the first Exchange Server 2013 SP1 the Active Directory will be prepared automatically;
  • In order to prepare the Schema which is part of the process that we are about to perform, we also need RSAT-ADDS installed on the server and the user that runs the command must be part of the Schema Admins (we will cover this one during the Tutorial)

Do we have to prepare manually? There are a few good reasons, from top of my head I can list a couple. First, the Active Directory team is different from the Exchange Team; you have a larger environment and want to make sure that you control the replication accordingly (perhaps prepare a server, make sure that the Schema is healthy and then afterwards release replication to the remaining Domain Controllers); the Schema Master FSMO role is not on the same site of the Exchange Server.

The first step is to make sure that the current account has the right permissions, we can run the command below and the current account must be part of the Schema Admins groups. If it is not make sure to add it, and then the given account must logoff and log back on again on the server before continuing.

net user <conta> /domain


Preparing the Schema…

The next step is to open the command prompt or PowerShell as administrator and go to the folder where the Exchange Server 2013 Service Pack 1 was extracted and run the following command.

setup.exe /PrepareSchema /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms


Preparing the Active Directory…

The second step it to prepare the Active Directory using the following command, this process will update the RBAC rules to support the new cmdlets introduced in this new version.

setup.exe /PrepareAD /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms


Validating the Active Directory upgrade…

In order to validate the process, we can open  ADSIEdit.msc , and let’s open the Configuration partition, and after that let’s expand Configuration, Services, Microsoft Exchange and then right-click on the <Organization-Name> and finally Properties. In the new windows, let’s go to the msExchProductID attribute and the value should be 15.00.0516.032 as shown in the image below.


Using the same ADSIEdit.msc we can open the Schema partition, and then let’s look for the ms-Exch-Schema-Version-PT atribute, and on the properties of this attribute the rangeUpper should be 15292.



In this Tutorial we went over the process the manual process to prepare the Active Directory to support Exchange Server 2013 Service Pack 1.

Bear in mind that this procedure is usually a one time thing per Active Directory forest, it is not common to repeat such steps. If for any reason you have to repeat these steps afterwards, please make sure that you are following a Microsoft KB or being guided by a Microsoft engineer.