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NT binary domain controller vs. member server for Exchange 5.5 in mixed mode

We have just upgraded to Active Directory 2003 from an NT domain. It is in Windows 2000 mixed mode. We have Exchange 5.5 installed on an NT4 binary domain controller. We now want to migrate to Exchange 2003. Do we need to move Exchange 5.5 to an NT member server first?

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Have you already migrated your user accounts? Have you re-permissioned your primary NT accounts associated with the Exchange 5.5 server? If so, I think the question you are asking relates to modifying the service account associated with Exchange 5.5.

There is a good article available from Microsoft on changing this to another account, How to change the service account. As for binary domain controller vs. member server, some third-party companies provide utilities to demote binary domain controllers into member servers.

It really shouldn't matter if Exchange 5.5 is running on a binary domain controller or a member server -- unless you are trying to beat the end of life support coming shortly for NT.

Once you complete your Exchange 2003 migration, you will decommission the old Exchange 5.5 servers, and undoubtedly that would include your binary domain controller loaded as the underlying operating system.

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

  • 11 tips in 11 minutes: Migrating from Exchange 5.5 to Exchange Server 2003
  • Expert Advice: Logging into Exchange with NT vs. AD accounts in mixed mode
  • Tip: Drawbacks of running a mixed mode Exchange Server environment
  • Learning Guide: Exchange migration
  • Tip: From Exchange 5.5 to 2003 in a single bound
  • Reference Center: Exchange migration tips and resources

  • This was first published in February 2006

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