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Is it safe to upgrade directly from Exchange 5.5 to Exchange Server 2003?

I just started at a firm that is running Exchange 5.5 on an NT 4.0 box. It is a mixed-mode domain with a Windows 2003 Enterprise Server for files and NT 4.0 for domain controller.

What is the best way to upgrade from Exchange 5.5? Should we migrate to Exchange 2000 first, and then to Exchange 2003? I have heard horror stories about a straight migration path from Exchange 5.5 directly to Exchange 2003.

Some users have more than 2 GB on the Exchange 5.5 database. Is it possible to set up multiple storage groups on Exchange 5.5 as in Exchange 2003?

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The path from Exchange 5.5 to Exchange Server 2003 has been tested and proven many times over the last three years. The only horror stories come from lack of planning, and not following the well laid out, tested steps. The following Microsoft document outlines the concepts, and steps that need to be taken. Follow them and you will be golden.

Upgrading Exchange Server 5.5 to Exchange 2003 in a medium-sized organization

Do you have comments on this Ask the Expert Q&A? Let us know.

Related information from SearchExchange.com:

  • 11 tips in 11 minutes: Migrating from Exchange 5.5 to Exchange 2003
  • Learning Guide: Exchange migration
  • Reference Center: Exchange Server migration advice
  • This was first published in December 2006

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