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Upgrading NT 4 to Windows 2003

I have an NT 4 with Exchange 5.5 environment and no BDC available. I have 50 users at the moment, which will grow to 100-120 by next year. NT 4 and Exchange 5.5 are critical to the company; therefore I cannot afford to loose anything. What will be the best method to upgrade NT 4 to Windows 2003 & Exchange 2003? I prepared to buy a new DELL Server (what would you recommend for about 100 - 120 users)? Also what are the files I need to back up which will aid in the upgrade process? At the moment I backup WinNT Directory, System state(Registry) and IS/DS.

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To reduce the affect on the users and the possibility of losing information, I would suggest building a new domain on two new servers (at a minimum). One server will be the DC and the other Exchange. I would suggest a second DC system as a backup when you have the budget or the perhaps the opportunity to rebuild one of the old servers. Build the new Win2K3 Domain and Exchange 2003 environment. Then Migrate the users and mailboxes over.

This was first published in June 2004

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