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we are trying to replace our current exchange server with a new one. The old one is bad hardware that isn't configured properly. We would like to add a second Exchange Server to the network and slowly migrate the needed items to it.

Right now we have about 150 clients using outlook 2007 to connect to the Exchange Server with the Exchange connection. They are all configured to point to the old server's hostname. Is the any way to change the name of the server that they point to via the registry or a group policy?

I downloaded some new group policy templates for office 2007 but I can't change that setting in there.

I have been googling and can't find any way less than manualy changing it on every computer.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

If you're moving to Exchange 2007, this is painfully simple.

If you add the new server to AD properly, when you move the mailboxes to the new server afterhours, the clients will connect to their relocated mailboxes seamlessly. They'll never know it happened (though OWA users will need to be given a new link).

If you move a user's mailbox while they're connected to it, Outlook 07 will pop up an OK dialog telling them that Outlook needs to restart. When it launches, it'll be connected to the new server.

I can't say if the same holds true on exchange 2003 - but there's no risk adding the 2nd Exchange server to your domain, setting up the connectors, and moving a test mailbox.

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The same holds true for Exchange 4.0, 5.0, 5.5, 2000, and 2003... >smile< Microsoft REALLY got that functionality right in Exchange! – Evan Anderson Nov 6 '09 at 23:43

For Exchange 2003, if you are moving mailboxes within the same site, the Outlook clients will automatically connect to the correct mailbox server once they restart. If you are moving the mailboxes across administrative groups, then you will need to run ExProfRe to point Outlook at the new server. This could be done through a logon script if needed.

Personally, I would take this opportunity to migrate mailboxes to Exchange 2007 SP2.

The command line for your logon script would be fairly simple:

exprofre.exe /v /logfile=%temp%\exprofre.log

That will put a log file in the user's temp directory which can be helpful for troubleshooting any issues.

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The word "site" in your answer is a bit of inaccurate terminology, and I think that the odds that the OP is moving the mailboxes to a different AG are pretty low. As long as the destination mailbox server is in the same Administrative Group as the source mailbox server the client will automatically connect to the new server. Move the mailboxes to the new server w/ the "Move Mailbox..." functionality in AD Users and Computers, wait until everybody has accessed their mailbox at least once w/ Outlook, then decommission the old Exchange Server computer (following the proper procedure to do so). – Evan Anderson Nov 6 '09 at 23:40
@BLAKE: Add a second Exchange Server to your Excahnge organization and don't create a second Administrative Group (you don't want one, anyway) and it's a simple "Move Mailbox..." process. Kara's answer touches on Outlook Web Access. If your clients use OWA over the Internet and you'll gradually move mailboxes you'll need to expose BOTH server computers to the Internet and let users know which server they need to connect to. That, alone, makes it worth it just to move all the mailboxes at one time. – Evan Anderson Nov 6 '09 at 23:42

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