Installing Exchange Server 2016 on Windows Server 2016

Posted by Nicolas Prigent on January 30, 2017
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Exchange server 2016

On October 1st, Microsoft Exchange Team released the new Exchange Server 2016. Microsoft has been testing and improving on millions of mailboxes in their Office365 environment before releasing the product on-premises. I will describe in this article a step-by-step guide for the installation of Microsoft Exchange Server 2016. The installation considers:

  • a single server deployment of Exchange Server 2016 with the Mailbox role on a new Windows Server 2016
  • Windows Server 2016 forest functional level
  • Exchange Server 2016 with the latest Cumulative Update 4

Because Windows PowerShell is a powerful tool that every sysadmin would know, I will use PowerShell to perform the installation. But If you prefer the graphical interface, you can use it!

Step 1: Requirements

Before installing Exchange Server 2016, you must review the following requirements:

Forest Functional Level for Exchange 2016
  • Windows Server 2008 or higher
Minimum Operation System
  • Windows Server 2012
  • Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Windows Server 2016
Minimum Memory Requirement (RAM)
  • Mailbox Server 8GB minimum
  • Edge Transport Server 4GB minimum

To check your Active Directory Forest Functional Level, you can run the “Get-ADForest” cmdlet:

PowerShell script

Important:

  1. Note that Microsoft doesn’t support the installation of Exchange 2016 on a computer that’s running Windows Server Core or Nano Server. The Windows Server Desktop Experience feature needs to be installed.
  2. Client Access Role is removed in Exchange Server 2016 which simplify the Exchange architecture.

If you need further information about what you need to have in your environment before installing Exchange 2016, please visit the following link: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-US/library/aa996719(v=exchg.160).aspx

Step 2: Installing Pre-Requisites

Open Windows PowerShell as Administrator, and run the sconfig utility to install the latest Windows Updates. Exchange Server 2016 requires the update described in Microsoft Knowledge Base article KB3206632. Without this update, Exchange Server 2016 will not work reliably on Windows Server 2016. Choose the number 6 to download and install Updates:

Open Windows PowerShell as Administrator

Next, run the following command to install the Remote Tools Administration Pack:

PowerShell script

Now, we will install the required roles. The prerequisites for Exchange Server 2016 varies if you run a Windows Server 2012 or 2016. So be careful, and use the following for Windows Server 2016:

Windows indicates that no reboot is required but I advise you to restart the server.

PowerShell script

The .Net Framework 4.5 and higher is required, so to check .Net version on Windows Server 2016:

If it’s above “394747” then it means that you have .NET Framework 4.6.2 or later installed.

PowerShell script

To finish with pre-requisites, you must download and install Unified Communications Managed API 4.0 Runtime: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=34992

Unified Communications Managed API 4.0 Runtime

Click next and finish to install Microsoft UCMA component:

Unified Communications Managed API 4.0 Runtime

Step 3: Preparing Schema and Active Directory

After you’ve prepared a Windows Server with the Exchange Server 2016 pre-requisites you can proceed with the schema update. To apply only the schema update:

First, mount the Exchange Server 2016 installation media, open a PowerShell console and navigate to the setup files. Then type the following command:

Windows PowerShell

Extending schema status must be “Completed”. After applying the schema update we can prepare our Active Directory with the PrepareAD parameter:

Windows PowerShell

The final step to get Active Directory ready for Exchange is to prepare each of the Active Directory domains where Exchange will be installed.

Windows PowerShell

If you have more than one domain, you can replace the PrepareDomain parameter with PrepareAllDomains parameter.

Step 4: Installing the Mailbox Server Role

The Mailbox server role contains all of the components required to run an Exchange Server 2016 server. If you need an Edge Server, you can still install it in Exchange 2016 but that is not a mandatory role. At this step, it’s up to you. To install the Mailbox Role, there are two ways you can do this:

  • Using the graphical interface. Run the exe, choose Next, Accept the agreement, select the Mailbox Role, specify the path for the Exchange Server installation and choose Install.
  • Or you can try to install Exchange with Windows PowerShell.

Below are the available parameters to customize your installation:

In my opinion, it’s never a good idea to install the Exchange Database and the log folder on the root partition.

The setup process will collect some information needed for installation, check the prerequisites and configure your Exchange Server. Just wait …

Windows PowerShell

When it’s done, open Internet Explorer and go to https://<FQDN of Mailbox Server>/owa to validate your Exchange installation.

Exchange installation validation

You have successfully installed your Exchange Server 2016 on Windows Server 2016. The idea of this article was to illustrate how PowerShell can allow us to simplify and automate our daily tasks.

Thanks for reading!

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Nicolas Prigent
Nicolas Prigent
Nicolas Prigent works as a System Engineer, based in Switzerland with a primary focus on Microsoft technologies. Nicolas is Microsoft MVP in Cloud And Datacenter Management with 8 years experience in administering Windows Servers, Hyper-V and System Center products. He also received the "PowerShell Heroes 2016" Award.