Installing Exchange 2007 on Server Core 2008 R2

UPDATE: Mailbox role installed and running on 2008 R2 Core:

Having successfully installed SQL Server on Server Core R2 I decided to go for Exchange 2007 also. After some tricks I managed to get Hub Transport and Client Access roles onto the box but Mailbox “depends” on CDOEX.DLL which doesn’t want to register either in 32- or 64-bit mode. So I’d say that this project was semi-successful.

If you want to give it a try, here are the steps I took to get the two roles onto the box.

dism /online /enable-feature /featurename:NetFx2-ServerCore /featurename:NetFx3-ServerCore /featurename:MicrosoftWindowsPowerShell /featurename:IIS-WebServerRole /featurename:IIS-WebServer /featurename:IIS-ASPNET /featurename:IIS-WebServerManagementTools /featurename:IIS-ManagementScriptingTools /featurename:IIS-ManagementService /featurename:IIS-IIS6ManagementCompatibility /featurename:IIS-Metabase /featurename:IIS-WMICompatibility /featurename:IIS-LegacyScripts /featurename:Microsoft-Windows-Web-Services-for-Management-IIS-Extension

Wait for it to finish. Goes fast to about 98%, then it’s waiting time…

dism /online /get-features

Check that all above components are activated.

Copy from a full installation of Windows Server 2008 R2 (Path: c:windowssystem32 to the same directory of a Core installation, make sure the architecture is right too, x64)


Register the dll’s with regsvr32 (in 64-bit mode). Note that not all will register successfully, so it’s not an error on your part.

Download ExchangeMapiCdo:

Extract and install ExchangeMapiCdo.

Insert the DVD / ISO into your machine and run an unattended install of Exchange. /mode:install /roles:ca,ht,mb /organizationname:"Your Organization Name" /targetdir:"C:Program FilesExchange Server"

The installation will succeed as far as Client Access and Hub Transport goes. Unified Messaging will fail immediately (tried it twice, seems to need some graphical stuff from .Net) and Mailbox Role really really needs cdoex.dll which I can’t seem to register no matter what. If you figure that one out, let me know and we could make a community effort out of it.

Here are some screenshots from my installation:

Now I’m searching for other challenges, I’ll keep you posted!

0 thoughts on “Installing Exchange 2007 on Server Core 2008 R2”

  1. I’m just downloading R2 RTM and I would like to use it for my Edge Transport Servers.

    I notice you have given us the stuff to install for both HT and CAS on the same box (and notably MBX failed).

    I want to know if you can be more specific about what components are required for each role. I don’t think IIS is required for HT or ET, but I’m not really sure what would be needed.



  2. I’m very interested in this post about installing exchange 2007sp1 over windows 2008 R2 core.
    What I’m thinking about is that MS doesn’t support Exchange 2007 Sp1 on windows 2008 R2 . So can you tell me if this has been only an “exercise” for you or if you have an actual implementation in production ?

  3. Hi Stefano!

    Nope, not in production, just a “let’s see if it’s possible”-exercise… Very much of these things running on Core is not supported 🙂

  4. Is the core install possible with no server roles? As a first test to the process I was thinking of installing a system that would just have the EK27 Management Shell – management tools. It would make a good PS scripting server also – if this would work.

    1. I don’t know, but considering that the latest service pack is blocked for installation it’ll be hard to try. You could of course edit the MSI with ORCA, but it’s a lot of work just for testing. Other than that you could probably just install the management tools if the prereqs are there. The same process most likely… I’m fighting another problem at the moment, so I won’t have time doing myself :/

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