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I have a client with an existing Exchange 2007 organisation with approximately 200 users, all with reasonable size mailboxes. They wish to move to a new Exchange organisation in a completely new AD forest, on new hardware, in a different physical location. This new network is allready setup and waiting for use.

My question is, what is the best way to move these mailboxes to the new organisation? I fear I may need to use Export-Mailbox to export all these mailboxes to PST files, FTP them to the new location, create Mailboxes for every user and then re-import the data, which will be a very time consuming job, so if anyone has any better strategies, or tools to help they would be very much appreciated.

Even if there is no easy way to move the mailbox, do you have any recommendations to easily move AD accounts, even if the data has to be imported separately.

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Are new user accounts already set up in the new domain? When you say "new hardware in a different physical location," where are the users now and where are the servers? I'm wondering what the options are (if any) for people to access old and new servers/domains at the same time... – Ward Jul 20 '09 at 17:37
Currently the new servers do not have the user accounts setup, it is basically a new AD domain with Exchange 2007 installed. It would be possible for users to access both old and new servers if required, but could lead to some confusion – Sam Jul 20 '09 at 17:40
So do the users have existing computers that will migrated to the new domain as well? I'm a big fan of "let them do it themselves" (despite the obvious problems) so I was thinking along the lines of give them access to both old and new mailboxes and let them move things over. – Ward Jul 20 '09 at 17:43
Most of the client connections use RPC over HTTP, so they are not actually joined to the domain. They will be using the same hardware, however they are not very computer literate and I don't think they would fare well with doing it themselves, but its worth considering. – Sam Jul 20 '09 at 17:48
up vote 4 down vote accepted

You should be able to follow most of the How to Transition from Single Forest to Cross-Forest procedure to make this happen. You don't have to worry about co-existance if you can do everything in one fell swoop.

Without using Identity Lifecycle Manager (as the procedure calls for), though you will have to handle adding an X.500 address for the old legacyExchangeDN attribute to each new account in the destination forest. Basically, you need the legacyExchangeDN from the old Exchange install to be added to the new recipients as an X500 format proxyAddress entry. It's not too bad to do, once you know what to do.

From an Exchange 2007 source to an Exchange 2007 destination you will be able to use a Cross-forest Move-Mailbox operation to help things out. Per this article, the cross-forest Move-Mailbox will detect an X.500 address proxy assigned to the destination account matching the source legacyExchangeDN. You'll need to have the legacyExchangeDN's already in place as X.500 proxies before doing the Move-Mailbox. That article also references a good list of properties to bring over when you migrate the users.

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