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Moving mailboxes across administrative groups in Exchange 2003

Learn about a sample script that automates the task of moving mailboxes between stores, storage groups and servers in Exchange 2003 -- and a "gotcha" you need to watch out for when using it.

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The Exchange 2003 Software Development Kit (SDK) comes with a number of sample scripts that demonstrate how to automate certain tasks. One of the most useful is MoveMailboxADSI_CDOEXM.vbs, which can move mailboxes between stores, storage groups and Exchange servers.

Unfortunately, it produces a confounding error when attempting to move mailboxes across administrative groups in Exchange 2003:

This mailbox cannot be moved to a different Exchange 
Server 2003 administrative group while in a mixed 
Exchange 5.5/Exchange Server 2003 Organization.

Error code: -1056749031

It's doubly confusing, since this error will come up even when Exchange is not operating in mixed mode.

This issue occurs because Exchange 2003 does not provide, by default, a scriptable interface for moving mailboxes between administrative groups.

Fortunately, Microsoft has provided a hotfix to address this problem, which will most likely be rolled into the next Exchange Service Pack. The hotfix also updates the affected components to return more detailed error information in the event that a mixed-mode mailbox move (or a mailbox move in general) fails.

This problem does happen in mixed-mode environments as well, usually when trying to move a mailbox from an Exchange 5.5 server to an Exchange 2003 server that isn't patched with Service Pack 1 or later.

Also, Exchange 5.5 needs to have the Directory Service/Information Store (DS/IS) update installed. The problem can crop up as well if you have an Exchange 5.5 server and an Exchange 2003 server in the same Exchange organization but different administrative groups – i.e., moving a mailbox between them counts as a move between administrative groups.

About the author: Serdar Yegulalp is editor of the Windows Power Users Newsletter.

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Related information from

  • Reference Center: Exchange Server scripts and programming
  • Reference Center: Exchange 2003
  • Reference Center: Exchange 5.5

  • Dig Deeper on Legacy Exchange Server versions

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