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Planning and deployment for Exchange Server

This article contains links to articles and information about planning for and then deploying Exchange Server 2016 or Exchange Server 2019.


Ensure that you read the Release notes for Exchange Server topics before you begin your deployment. The release notes contains important information on issues you might encounter during and after your deployment.


As a companion to this article, we recommend using the Microsoft Exchange Server Deployment Assistant. Use this tool to generate a customized checklist for planning, installing, or upgrading Exchange. Guidance is available for multiple scenarios, including an on-premises, hybrid, or cloud deployment.

Plan for Exchange Server

Use the information available in the following links to help plan your deployment of Exchange Server 2016 or Exchange Server 2019 into your organization.


For information about installing Exchange Server 2019 in a test environment, see the Establish an Exchange 2016 or Exchange 2019 test environment section later in this article.

Exchange architecture

Learn about the Mailbox and Edge Transport server roles and more in Exchange.

Exchange Server system requirements

Understand the system requirements that need to be satisfied in your organization before you can install an Exchange Server.

Exchange Server prerequisites

Learn about the Windows Server features and the other software that needs to be installed for a successful installation of an Exchange Server.

Active Directory

Learn about how an Exchange Server uses Active Directory and how your Active Directory deployment affects your Exchange Server deployment.

Antispam and antimalware protection in Exchange Server

Learn about the built-in antispam and antimalware protection options in an Exchange Server.

Exchange Server Hybrid Deployments

Learn about planning a hybrid deployment between Microsoft 365 or Office 365 and your on-premises Exchange organization.

Exchange Server virtualization

Learn how you can deploy an Exchange Server in a virtualized environment.

Exchange Online and Exchange development

Learn about the application programming interfaces (APIs) that are available for applications that use Exchange Server 2019.

Establish an Exchange 2016 or Exchange 2019 test environment

Before you install your first Exchange server, we recommend that you install an Exchange Server in an isolated test environment. This approach reduces the risk of end-user downtime and negative ramifications to the production environment.

The test environment will act as your "proof of concept" for your new Exchange design and will make it possible to move forward or roll back any implementations before deploying an Exchange Server into your production environments. Having an exclusive test environment for validation and testing allows you to do pre-installation checks for your future production environments. By installing in a test environment first, we believe that your organization will have a better likelihood of success in a full production implementation.

For many organizations, the costs of building a test lab may be high because of the need to duplicate the production environment. To reduce the hardware costs associated with a prototype lab, we recommend the use of virtualization by using Hyper-V technologies in Windows Server. Hyper-V enables server virtualization, allowing multiple virtual operating systems to run on a single physical machine.

For detailed information about Hyper-V, see Server Virtualization. For information about the Microsoft support of production Exchange servers on hardware virtualization software, see Exchange Server virtualization.

Deploy Exchange 2016 or Exchange 2019

During the deployment phase, you install an Exchange Server into your organization. Before you begin the deployment phase, you should plan your Exchange organization. For more information, see the Plan for Exchange Server section earlier in this article.

Use the information available in the following links to help you deploy an Exchange Server.

Prepare Active Directory and domains for Exchange

Learn about the steps you need to take to prepare your Active Directory forest for Exchange 2019 and the changes an Exchange Server installation makes to your forest.

Install Exchange Mailbox servers using the Setup wizard

Learn about using the Setup wizard to install Mailbox servers.

Always install the latest Exchange Cumulative Update (CU) (Exchange Server build numbers and release dates | Microsoft Docs). There is no need to install the RTM build or previous builds and then upgrade to the latest CU. This is because each CU is a full build of the product.

Update with latest Exchange Security Update (SU) before bringing the server online. Verify with the Exchange Health Checker script:

Use unattended mode in Exchange Setup

Learn about using the unattended setup at the command line to install, remove, update, and recover Exchange servers.

Install Exchange Edge Transport servers using the Setup wizard

Learn about using the Setup wizard to install Edge Transport servers in a perimeter network.

Upgrade Exchange to the latest Cumulative Update

Learn about finding and installing the latest CU for the Exchange servers in your organization.

Keep your servers as up to date as possible. Always be either on latest released Exchange CU or latest released -1 CU.

  1. This page contains links to the latest Exchange CU bits: Exchange Server build numbers and release dates | Microsoft Docs.

  2. See: Upgrade Exchange to the latest Cumulative Update | Microsoft Docs.

Ensure Windows Update/Microsoft Update (WU/MU) is turned on and consider further turning on Automatic Update to pick up SUs.

Use an elevated command prompt to run any Cumulative Update or Security Update. If you run into any problems when running update setup, see

Periodically, run the Exchange Health Checker script to check if the latest Exchange SUs are in place:

Exchange Server Hybrid Deployments

Read this article for information that will help you deploy an Exchange Server in an existing hybrid deployment.

Exchange Server post-installation tasks

Learn about post-installation tasks to complete your Exchange Server installation.

Exchange Setup

You can use different types and modes of an Exchange Server Setup to install and maintain the various editions and versions of an Exchange Server.

Exchange editions and versions

Exchange is available in two server editions: Standard Edition and Enterprise Edition. The edition you install is defined by your product key (the only available download can install both versions). For more information, see Exchange licensing FAQs.

Types of Exchange Server Setup

You have the following options for an Exchange Server Setup:

  • Exchange Setup wizard: Running Setup.exe without any command line switches provides an interactive experience where you're guided by the Exchange 2019 Setup wizard.

  • Exchange unattended setup: Running Setup.exe with command line switches enables you to install Exchange from an interactive command line or through a script.

Modes of Exchange Server Setup

Exchange setup includes the following modes:

  • Install: Install a new server role (Mailbox server, Edge Transport server, or Management tools). This mode is available in the Exchange Setup wizard and unattended setup.

  • Uninstall: Remove the Exchange installation from a computer. You can use this mode from both the Exchange Setup wizard and unattended setup.

  • Upgrade: Install a CU on an existing Exchange server. You can use this mode from both the Exchange Setup wizard and unattended setup.


    Exchange doesn't support in-place upgrades from previous versions. This mode is used only to install CUs.

  • RecoverServer: You need to recover data from the Exchange server after a catastrophic failure. To do this, you install a new Windows server with the same FQDN as the failed server (for example,, and then run Exchange Setup with the /Mode:RecoverServer switch without specifying the Exchange server roles.

    Setup detects the Exchange server object in Active Directory and installs the corresponding files and configuration automatically. After you recover the server, you can restore databases and reconfigure any additional settings. To run in RecoverServer mode:

    • Exchange can't be already installed on the server.

    • The Exchange server object must exist in Active Directory.

    • You can only use unattended setup.


    You must complete one mode of Setup before you can use another mode.