With the release of Exchange Server 2010 SP3 Update Rollup 5 we now have support for running Exchange Server 2010 in Windows Server 2012 R2 Active Directory environments.

To be clear, this means that the following is supported with Exchange Server 2010 SP3 RU5:

  • Active Directory Domain Controllers running Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Active Directory Forest Function Level and Domain Functional Level of Windows Server 2012 R2

The following is not supported:

  • Installing Exchange Server 2010 SP3 RU5 on a Windows Server 2012 R2 server

So in other words, Exchange Server 2010 is no longer a roadblock to an Active Directory upgrade to Windows Server 2012 R2.

More information is available at the Exchange Server Supportability Matrix.

About the Author

Paul Cunningham

Paul is a former Microsoft MVP for Office Apps and Services. He works as a consultant, writer, and trainer specializing in Office 365 and Exchange Server. Paul no longer writes for Practical365.com.


  1. Mahmoud

    Hi Paul
    I need to know if the following scenario is the best for my situation or there’s a better than that,

    I have two nods of exchange 2010 multi roles with a hardware load-balance in they already hybrid with Exchange online “O365”.

    Both nodes are running on windows server 2008 R2 enterprise edition.

    We need to upgrade the OS to be supported, it looks like 2012 R2.

    Do we need first to upgrade the Exchange server to 2013 or 2016 ( which is the best in your opinion).

    Then adding two servers with windows server 2012 R2 or 2016 to the DAG, after that, demote the old nodes.

    If this scenario is the best one please confirm, if there’s any other best practice in this case, please share with me your thoughts.

    If there’s any impacts on hybrid configuration with upgrading the exchange server, just let me know.

  2. Theo Vroom

    In feb 2019 Exchange 2010 sp3 rollup 26 was released, which gives support for exchange 2010 sp3 on windows server 2012 r2.
    How to do it in practice, since the original exchange 2010 media which you need to install exchange are not supported on 2012 r2
    Has anybody done this ??

  3. safvan

    Hi ,

    Will Exchange server 2010 SP3 without any RU Can support upgrade of AD schema version to 69 (windows server 2012 R2)
    if we are not raising the domain/forest functional levels , keep it as 2003.

    I understand if we are upgrade schema version also Exchange needs to be minimum with SP3 RU5 ,

    Would like to confirm on this.

  4. Jeff

    Does this mean that it will allow you to install exchange 2010 standard on a server running Windows 2012 r2 standard? If so how is this done? What limitations are there?

    1. Avatar photo
      Paul Cunningham

      It’s not supported to install Exchange 2010 on Windows Server 2012 R2 at all.

  5. Fabrizio

    Hi Paul,
    Thank you and all your guests for this fantastic topic, it’s very exaustive…
    In my head, just a question cannot find its answer: understood that this way of act is not supported by Microsoft, our goal is to create a brand new Exchange infrastructure: shall we install Exchange 2010 SP3 (with the latest rollup update) on Windows 2012 R2 member servers or DC?
    I have found, googleing, different answers to this question.
    Thanks in advance,

    1. Avatar photo
      Paul Cunningham

      For a brand new environment I wouldn’t be deploying Exchange 2010, I would be planning to deploy Exchange 2016.

      Exchange should not be installed on DCs. It’s supported, but not recommended as it causes a lot of issues with recovery scenarios.

      1. Fabrizio

        I understand that, but as my head officers still want to deploy Exchange 2010 (and there is no way to change their minds), I was wondering what’s the best solution with less troubles… šŸ™‚

        Stated that MUST be (even if I disagree) Exchange 2010 SP3, I will install it on a 2012 R2 member server, right?

        Thanks again for your patience.

        1. Avatar photo
          Paul Cunningham

          Well it’s not supported to install any version of Exchange 2010 on Windows Server 2012 R2, so no, you shouldn’t follow that plan. It will need to be installed on a supported operating system.

  6. OvalPiston

    I have Windows 2012 R2 DCs and customer wants to add a new Exchange 2010 server. I can install Exchange 2010 on a different VM (2008 R2).

    Is this possible?

    1. OvalPiston

      To further clarify, if I install Exchange 2010 and then install the rollup packages to get it up to SP3 RU5, would that work? Or would it just fail right off the bat because I’m installing just the base Exchagne 2010 to start?

      1. Avatar photo
        Paul Cunningham

        Exchange 2010 SP3 is supported for install on WS2008R2 and WS2012. You can refer to the supportability matrix any time you want to know what you can install on which OS


        Whatever OS you choose to use, you can install Exchange 2010 SP3 (that is a full build of the product, it’s not necessary to install any earlier build or “base” version) and then apply the latest update rollup (not not necessary to install every rollup before it).

        1. OvalPiston

          Thank you! I joined the 2008R2 OS to the domain, installed Exchange 2010, installed SP3, then installed RU15. Worked like a champ!

  7. Trishul

    Hi Paul,

    Can i install exchange server 2007 in windows server 2012 r2 ??

    1. Avatar photo
      Paul Cunningham

      No. If you ever want to know which versions of Exchange are compatible with each OS, just refer to the Exchange Supportability Matrix on TechNet.

  8. jaffram

    We already installed Exchange 2010 sp3 up14 on server 2012 r2 OS in 2 machine in separate AD site. Everything went and working fine. However we want to Remove the exchange 2010 sp3 on those 2 servers. Due to unsupported matrix. Could you please provide the link or information how to remove exchange 2010 sp3 from those 2 server without affecting any other working AD site ?

    1. Jeff

      How did you installed exchange 2010 on win does server 2012 r2? Was there any hiccups or certain roll ups or service packs you needed? If you worked off some steps can you please link that?

  9. Purushothama

    Hi Ray Davis ,

    You said “According to MS this is a valid config.” Did they really said exchange 2010 sp3 supported in server 2012 r2 ?

  10. Ray Davis

    Paul, Was trying to instal DAG on Server 2008 R2 with Exchange 2010 SP3. After hours with MS discovered DAG wouldn’t work. Tried upgrading the secondary Exchange 2010 server to sERver 2012 R2. Now Exchange won’t run on that computer. According to MS this is a valid config. Any ideas? Was so glad to find this site!

    1. Avatar photo
      Paul Cunningham

      Exchange 2010 is not supported to run on Windows Server 2012 R2.

      It is also not supported to upgrade the operating system after Exchange has already been installed.

      I’m sorry to say that it sounds like you’ve broken your server and will need to rebuild it.

      1. Ray Davis

        Awesome……not. thanks!

  11. Ron

    It looks like Exchange 2010 SP3 is supported on Windows 2012.
    I installed 2010 SP3 Rollup Update 11 on my lab network running Windows Server 2012 R2 and it looks like everything is working right. The latest matrix says that 2012 is supported not 2012 R2

    I installed a DAG on 2 servers and ran into a slight problem.
    This corrected the problem.

    1. Gabe

      We have 2010 installed on Server 2012 (R1) too. One of the more annoying problems is that the Queue Viewer doesn’t work properly. It works but it constantly throws out errors. You can close the error and continue but 5 seconds later the error returns. Here’s MS’s “solution”…don’t use it:

      1. Avatar photo
        Paul Cunningham

        “Don’t use it” is also my solution, sorry. Use Get-Queue, works fine.

  12. mb00

    Hello Alex,

    I have the same problem at uninstalling the Exchange 2010 from an Windows Server 2012 R2 Operating System. Could you tell me which parameters you deleted exactely?

    1. Alex

      sorry. i don’t remember right now. you can find it in google like me. it not so difficult

  13. Michael

    Hi Paul,
    we have a Exchange 2003 in a Server 2012 R2 AD.
    We want to install a Exchange 2010 on Server 2012 for migration.
    This should be supported, but how do we have to make the installation?
    Do we need a slipstream Image with SP3 RU5 included or is it possible to do the ADPrep with SP3, the installation with Exchange 2010 + SP1 and then update to SP3 RU5?

    1. Avatar photo
      Paul Cunningham

      There’s no slipstreamed images with update rollups in them.

      Use Exchange 2010 SP3 for your AD prep and for the installation. Installed the latest update rollup afterwards.

  14. Alex

    yep. thanx, you are right
    i’m deleted two ldap parameters for mailboxes and database + two connectors for it
    now new exchange has deleted from control panel/uninstall

    Why Microsoft doesn’t break installation process instead broken dependence SYSTEM/ROLE ???
    Setup of Exchange 2010 should know about incompatibility with Windows Server 2012 R2
    damn, stupid, stupid ms pitfall

  15. Alex

    Ok. But im in trap((
    i don’t known about uncompatibling windows server 2012 R2 and exchange 2010, and i try to install for test. (i have a copy of AD, but restoring it will be last my of my ideas)
    Now i have a trouble. Exchange can’t start and uninstall impossible too because “This mailbox database contains one ore more mailboxes or arbitration mailboxes, etc”
    To remove this mailboxes/public folder database i must delete it from exchange power shell application. But this application is not work because cannot connect to this corrupted exchange server
    Its really trap. Thy exchange installer not siad to me about uncompatibling?!
    And what i can do now? šŸ™

    1. Alex

      * sorry my grammar

    2. Avatar photo
      Paul Cunningham

      You might be able to remove the mailbox database using ADSIEdit, then try uninstalling Exchange again.

  16. Jesus Penaranda

    Hi Paul,
    Is Exchange Server 2010 installed on Windows Server 2012 (not R2) supported? if so, is recommended?
    Thanks in advance!!

    1. Avatar photo
      Paul Cunningham

      At the end of the article there is a link to the Exchange Supportability Matrix.

  17. Robert Turpie

    Hi Paul,

    We went ahead with this last weekend and successfully managed to upgrade to SP3 update rollup 5.

    We did hit a snag to do with missing a couple of previous rollups .msp files, but we followed the following KB http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2784788 and all was well.

    It feels good to be back on a supported configuration!

  18. Robert Turpie

    Ok thanks Paul will do

    I assume it will be still ok to run the Exchange 2010 SP3 ADprep command now that our schema has been prepped for server 2012R2?


    1. Avatar photo
      Paul Cunningham

      I would assume so but I’ve never been in your exact scenario to discover otherwise.

  19. Robert Turpie

    Robert Turpie says:

    March 6, 2014 at 2:58 am

    Hi Paul,

    We recently upgraded our DCā€™s to Windows Server 2012 R2 (Forest and Domain Functional level still at 2008R2). We are also running Exchange 2010 SP2.

    The plan is to raise the Forest and Domain functional level to 2012 as I know that we cannot raise to 2012R2 before we install SP3 & rollup 5. However, the compatibility chart says that Exchange 2010 SP2 is not supported with Windows server 2012 R2 Active Directory Servers! However we now have 2012 R2 AD servers and Exchange 2010 SP2 is still running fine??

    Will it break when we raise the Forest & Domain Levels up to 2012?? Should we upgrade Exchange first?


    1. Avatar photo
      Paul Cunningham

      No you should not continue to pursue unsupported configurations. You should upgrade Exchange first.

      1. Jeff

        I see on this thread someone mentioned they successfully installed exchange 2010 on Windows server 2012 r2. I see you mentioned that it was not supported. Does that mean it is not recommended but will function. Or do you mean it would not work at all?

        1. Avatar photo
          Paul Cunningham

          There is no version of Exchange 2010 supported for running on Windows Server 2012 R2. Whether anyone got it working or not is irrelevant.

  20. Enver Hassim

    Thanks for clarifying this.

  21. Martin Eddy

    Awesome news.

  22. Angelo

    This is great. However they are not allowing to install Exchange 2010 on 2012r2 that mean they want you to go to Exchange 2013?

    1. Avatar photo
      Paul Cunningham

      No it means that is isn’t supported to install Exchange 2010 on 2012 R2. That is all that it means.

      1. syed qasim ali

        1.what is the actual meaning of the Active directory exchange?
        2. how it ‘s work Active directory exchange windows 2012r2?
        pl………… Can you send me vedio for that pl……… & i want share it in my mail ID : syedqasimalijaffri@gmail.com,

        Thank You Dear

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