We have an old, failing Exchange 2003 server that's in a hosted environment that's on its way out (hardware wise).

We have a brand spanking new Exchange 2010 server in-house fresh and ready to go.

What is the best way to get all our mailboxes out of Exchange 2003 into Exchange 2010? There's no domain trust between them, but the 2010 box can access the 2003 box by Active Sync.

I'm expecting it will go:

  1. Recreate all the accounts on the 2010 Box
  2. Run exmerge on the 2003 box to export everyones mailboxes into individual .PST files
  3. From an Outlook client, connect to the mailbox in question and do an import of the .PST file
  4. Repeat step 3 for each mailbox (there's about 15)
  5. Take the 2003 server and throw it on a bonfire (if it weren't hosted)

Is there a better way?

  • You forgot the step where you tear your hair out when users complain that they can't reply to old internal emails because the legacyExchangeDNs on the new mailboxes don't match the old ones. (Well, they can reply, but all the replies will bounce...) – Evan Anderson Dec 2 '10 at 5:44

You have the first two steps right. You'll need the new accounts created and the exported mailboxes.

Luckily PowerShell exists for the third step. Import-Mailbox will do the trick nicely, and it accepts PST's and account names. A good article: http://www.msexchange.org/articles_tutorials/exchange-server-2010/management-administration/import-export-mailboxes.html


Import-Mailbox -Identity joe.user -PSTFolderPath C:\temp\joe.user.PST

It should be a quick script to match up the identity based off the PST name, if it was named logically.

  • I like the way you think. – CurtM Dec 1 '10 at 23:51
  • 2 seconds apart between you and Curt. Impressive. – Mark Henderson Dec 1 '10 at 23:53

The other option not mentioned so far is Move-Mailbox. It's quite happy to move from 2003 to 2010, and doesn't need trust either - you pass the 2003 Exchange Amdins credentials to the command and it uses them to get in.

On the Pro side of the argument, no flaky PST files with your precious data in them. (Also on a personal note I've never got on with import-mailbox in 2007. I'm sure it's better in 2010 though.)

On the Con side, you have an outage for each of the 2003 users while their mailbox is being moved, and if the 2003 is out in the cloud and the 2010 is in-house then they could be long outages. (Alas, it looks like the cool new online move-mailbox feature isn't available when going from 2003 to 2010.)

  • Interesting... I'll give this one a go. Long outages aren't a big deal, and if I don't have to worry about exporting to PST... – Mark Henderson Dec 2 '10 at 20:27
  • It is to my great regret that the last two major imports I've had to do, a long outage was a big deal, so we had to use PSTs. Although we cheated and got the users to make them: had them run an archive job on their old profile, then switch Outlook to their new profile. – Graham Hill Dec 6 '10 at 15:14
  • +1 - Move Mailbox is almost always the right solution in Exchange migration-related scenarios. – Evan Anderson Dec 10 '10 at 17:32

You could run the import-mailbox command from powershell to import the PST into a specific mailbox. That can be automated and would save you a lot of time, versus using Outlook to import.

Import-Mailbox –Identity %USERNAME% –PSTFolderPath %PST_LOCATION%

  • Awesome, I didn't know about that cmdlet - thanks. – Mark Henderson Dec 1 '10 at 23:52
  • Next time I'll wait two more seconds for you, Curt :) Good call. – Jeff McJunkin Dec 2 '10 at 0:11

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