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Installing Exchange Server 2013 Pre-Requisites on Windows Server 2012 or Windows Server 2012 R2

Exchange Server 2013 can be installed on Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2, either Standard or Datacenter edition.

Windows Server 2012 will support any of the Exchange 2013 server roles. Unlike Windows Server 2008 R2, if you want to run Exchange Server 2013 Mailbox servers as members of a Database Availability Group you can still do so with the Standard edition of Windows Server 2012. Enterprise edition is not required for DAG members.

Note: Exchange Server 2013 Service Pack 1 added support for installing on Windows Server 2012 R2. For the purposes of this article any mention of Windows Server 2012 includes R2, and assumes that you will be installing Exchange Server 2013 SP1 or later.

As there are only two mandatory Exchange Server 2013 server roles there are only two combinations of pre-requisites required:

  • Mailbox servers, or combination Mailbox and Client Access servers
  • Client Access servers

Both of these server role installation scenarios are covered in this article.

For the third server role, Edge Transport, the pre-requisites are quite minimal. Find out more about installing Exchange 2013 Edge Transport here.

Installing Pre-Requisites for an Exchange Server 2013 Mailbox, or Mailbox and Client Access Server

For a Windows Server 2012 server that will host either the Exchange 2013 Mailbox server role, or both the Mailbox and Client Access server roles, the following PowerShell commands is used to install the required server roles and features.

Note: the Add-WindowsFeature command is quite lengthy and you will need to scroll across to be able to copy/paste all of it.

A restart is required after the roles and features have finished installing. To restart automatically, append -Restart to the command above.

Next, install the Unified Communications Managed API 4.0 Runtime.

Some documentation also references installing Microsoft Office 2010 Filter Pack 64 bit and Microsoft Office 2010 Filter Pack SP1 64 bit. Neither of those components are mandatory, however if you do not install them you'll see a warning during setup (that you can ignore). For more information refer to this article.

Installing Pre-Requisites for an Exchange Server 2013 Client Access Server

For a Windows Server 2012 server that will host only the Exchange 2013 Client Access server role, the following PowerShell command is used to install the required roles and features.

Note: the Add-WindowsFeature command is quite lengthy and you will need to scroll across to be able to copy/paste all of it.

A restart is required after the roles and features have finished installing.

Next, install the following software. This is the same requirement as the Mailbox server role just without the Office Filter Pack.

The server is now ready for the installation of Exchange Server 2013.

Paul is a Microsoft MVP for Office Servers and Services. He works as a consultant, writer, and trainer specializing in Office 365 and Exchange Server. Paul is a co-author of Office 365 for IT Pros and several other books, and is also a Pluralsight author.
Category: Exchange Server


  1. Pallavi says:

    Paul, you mentioned that uninstall “Microsoft Visual C++ 11 Beta Redistributable(x64)”. I don’t see that but i am seeing “Microsoft Visual C++ 2012 Resdistributable(x64)”. Do I need to uninstall this? Please clarify.


  2. SAM says:

    just want to install Exchange 2013 management tools on windows 2012 server but it always failed with following error ..
    do you have any solution for the same.. ?

    The Exchange management tools are supported on servers running Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 or later, and also on Windows 8 and Windows 7 client computers.
    For more information, visit: http://technet.microsoft.com/library(EXCHG.150)/ms.exch.setupreadiness.ValidOSVersionForAdminTools.aspx

    Thanks in advanced

  3. Mostafa sharaf says:

    Sorry for error message we do not need to run exchangeserver before run setup exchange i think i did something wrong to have this error in setup

  4. Gary says:

    Regarding “If you want to run Exchange Server 2013 Mailbox servers as members of a Database Availability Group you can still do so with the Standard edition of Windows Server 2012”

    Does this apply to Exchange Server 2010 also?

    I want to install Exchange 2010 on Windows Server 2012 Std.

    • Why do you doubt it? It is a documented requirement by Microsoft.

      Desktop-Experience includes components that Unified Messaging relies on, as one example of why it is a requirement.

      • Diego Zanette says:

        have you ever heard about a problem when installing KBs related to Flash Player (e.g. Security Update for Internet Explorer Flash Player for Windows Server 2012 R2 – KB3004150)?
        In our cenario, WSUS can’t go on installing other updates because it stuck after failing to install the KBs of Flash Player. We uninstalled the Antivirus, made a clean boot but didn’t work at all.
        After uninstalling the Desktop-Experience (and a reboot) the KBs were installed successfully.
        Do you have any thoughts?
        By the way, we don’t use UM in our corp, so if Desktop-Experience is only related to UM, it wouldn’t be a problem to us, wright?

  5. kanagaraj says:

    Thank you Paul !! I referred from a book and tried the steps, it failed. This page is simple and to the point.

    You Rock !!

  6. Jim Sparks says:

    Paul – I’ve relied on your posts for a very long time, thanks for all the great information over the years. Technet lists an additional two features for Mailbox and CAS roles on the same server; “RSAT-Clustering-Mgmt, RSAT-Clustering-PowerShell”. Appears the additional features are for clustering management,. Any reason I shouldn’t add these features? I’m not sure the omission was purposeful.


  7. Tony Holdgate says:

    HI Paul,
    In your windows features script you install “Desktop Experience”. We are just wondering if this is essential and if so what it is needed for?

  8. David says:


    Your article gave me some good advice but your script left out installing Media Foundation. Just thought I’d mention that.

    Thanks again for the article.


  9. Sandeep says:

    Hi Paul,

    I installed the Exchange Server 2013 on top of Windows Server 2012 with both roles (Server & Client access role) on the same machine in my lab environment. The setup installed successfully but I am not able to login both on OWA-ECP as well as in Exchange Management Shell.

    The error I receive on Shell is:

    VERBOSE: Connecting to Server2012.FOETRON.local.
    New-PSSession : [server2012.foetron.local] Connecting to remote server server2012.foetron.local failed with the
    following error message : Access is denied. For more information, see the about_Remote_Troubleshooting Help topic.
    At line:1 char:1
    + New-PSSession -ConnectionURI “$connectionUri” -ConfigurationName Microsoft.Excha …
    + ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    + CategoryInfo : OpenError: (System.Manageme….RemoteRunspace:RemoteRunspace) [New-PSSession], PSRemotin
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : AccessDenied,PSSessionOpenFailed


    Does anybody have any idea what’s wrong?

    The user I am logged in as is a ‘member of’ Administrators, Schema Admins, Domain Admins, Organization Management, Compliance Managements etc.

  10. Jeya kuamr says:

    hange Server Pro
    Chat Conversation Start
    a few seconds ago
    Hi Paul , I have installed exchange 2013 server for my client. one worst day i changed sonicwall firewall (im not sure about the reason) exchange 2013 mail flow suddenly stopped .. no incoming and outcoming..its like a silence of hell . i made somechanges in mail flow settings..now im clueless.. im going back to windows 2008 R2 and exchange 2010 sp3 . from windows 2012 R2 and exchn2013 sp1.
    can u suggest me somthing ..i have few days to confirm my plan to my manager ..

    Jeya kumar T

    • If you made a change to the firewall and that broke mail flow then the immediate solution is to reverse that change.

      Exchange requires inbound and outbound TCP port 25 (SMTP) for mail flow. Exchange also needs to be able to resolve external domain names in DNS.

      So you should check the following to start with:
      – use the ExRCA.com tool to test inbound SMTP connectivity
      – from your Exchange server, use telnet to test outbound SMTP connectivity
      – from your Exchange server, use nslookup or resolve-dnsname (PowerShell) to test external domains can be resolved in DNS
      – when mail flow is not working check the queue (Get-Queue) and the stuck messages (Get-Queue | Get-Message) to see the last error which should indicate why they are stuck
      – check your event logs for any other Transport errors

      You will only be able to go back to Exchange 2010 if you already had Exchange 2010 servers in the organization in the past.

  11. Irakoze Clovis says:

    Hello Paul,

    I have Exchange 2010 sp3 running on win server 2012 R2 sp1 standanrd. I would like to upgrade to exchange 2013 and I read that installation of exchange 2013 is coexistent with exchange 2010 already installed. But When I try to install exchange 2013 I keep getting this error :”Exchange server is in an inconsistent state. Only disaster recovery mode is available. Please use Setup /m:RecoverServer to recover this Exchange server.” But after closing set up the server is still running fine.

    • If you’re trying to install Exchange 2013 onto the same server that Exchange 2010 is already on, that is not possible. Exchange 2013 needs to be installed on a new server. There is no in-place upgrade for Exchange.

      • Irakoze Clovis says:

        Oh thanks.

        I had interpreted coexistence as two exchange versions on same sever but I guess you meant coexistence in the same organization i.e. using the same Active directory.

      • Irakoze Clovis says:

        I had interpreted coexistence as two exchange versions on same sever but I guess you meant coexistence in the same organization i.e. using the same Active directory.

        Thanks a lot.

  12. ines says:

    Lors de l’installation d’exchange server 2013 j’ai obtenu cette erreur
    Erreur :

    L’erreur suivante est survenue lors de l’exécution de “$error.Clear();

    $InternalOwaUrl = “https://” + $RoleFqdnOrName + “/owa”;

    new-OwaVirtualDirectory -Role ClientAccess -DomainController $RoleDomainController -InternalUrl $InternalOwaUrl;

    ” : “Une erreur est survenue lors de la création du répertoire virtuel IIS « IIS://Sifast.server.local/W3SVC/1/ROOT/owa » sur « SIFAST ».”.

  13. Aliyu Garba says:

    Hello Sir. Apaul.

    Am having this issue during Exchange 2013 Installation.

    setup /PrepareAD /OrganizationName: FORTISMFB /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms

    Installing product C:Usersadministrator.FORTISMFBDownloadsSETUPzh-hantClientLanguagePack.msi failed. Fatal error during installation. Error code is 1603. Last error reported by the MSI package is ‘Source file not found: C:Usersadministrator.FORTISMFBDownloadsSETUPzh-hantSetupServerRolesCommonzh-hantMicrosoft.Exchange.AirSync.Resources.dll. Verify that the file exists and that you can access it.’. It was running the command ‘Install-MsiPackage -PackagePath ‘C:Usersadministrator.FORTISMFBDownloadsSETUPzh-hantClientLanguagePack.msi’ -LogFile ‘C:ExchangeSetupLogsInstall.zh-hant.Client.20140423-201533.msilog’ -Features ‘AdminTools’,’Mailbox’,’ClientAccess’,’Gateway’,’Bridgehead’,’UnifiedMessaging’,’ClientLanguagePack’ -PropertyValues ‘LOGVERBOSE=1 TARGETDIR=”C:Program FilesMicrosoftExchange ServerV15″”.

    Pleased Any help on this Issue.

  14. Vicki C says:

    I have 2 servers, running 2012 R1 and Exchange 2013 cu3 in a DAG and they are working great. (In many ways thanks to the help I’ve received here!)

    My understand is that I can not upgrade to Server 2012 R2 with Exchange 2013 in place.

    Would it work if I was to remove the DAG, run the system using one server while I wipe and reload the second server with Windows Server R2 and then reload Exchange 2013 with SP1.

    Then I would restore the database to the new server and use it as our primary email server, while I do the same thing to the original server.

    Then the two updated servers could be re-set up as a Dag.

    Any thoughts on how practical this would be?

    We have a very small organization, under 200 mailboxes and not a huge amount of load. There would be some risk in running with only one server for a short period of time, but not too much.

    Thank you for your help,


  15. David says:

    Hi Paul

    Re: your original advice above 2012, re:
    “Installing Pre-Requisites for an Exchange Server 2013 Client Access Server”- using PowerShell commands.
    Are these still required today if SP1 or CU 3 is on the server. Just noticed that is now 2 years ago?
    I’m reinstalling Exchange2013 on a Hyper-v 2012 R2 machine.

  16. Kirld says:

    Hi Paul,

    I have tried installing Exchange 2013 in a 2012 Server. However, it will not go thru and encountered an error at its 97% of installation.i went thru exchange setup logs and this is what i got.

    It says
    Error details No Minimal Required Number of Suitable Directory Servers Found in Forest qualfoncenter.local Site Default-First-Site-Name and connected Sites..

    in fact.. when i do a query from the 2012 machine, it can see the GC,DC.. Please help…


  17. Aivaras says:

    Hi, I would like to ask your opinion is it worth to upgrade domain level to higher 2008 R2 or even 2012 R2 before we start migrating to Exchange 2013.. Now we are we have 5 exchange 2010 servers with different roles…

    Thank you

  18. Vino says:

    I am planning for exchange migration from 2010 to 2013 with DR.
    Like this i am planning:-
    Two Cas server + Two Mbx server in Production site.
    One Cas server + one Mbx server in DR site..
    Also planning to enable DAC in DR site.

    Kindly suggest me this architecture is good or better to installing all roles in single server like two servers with multiple roles in Production and one server with multiple roles in DR site.

  19. navdeep singh says:

    Hi paul – Currently we have a 2010 exchange server in the company right now. We want to separate our production emails from our regular emails. So we are thinking of adding another exchange sever which is going to be 2013 . I want this server to completely separate from our current server . It is going to be in the same domain . Is it possible ? I know i would have to change the ad schema for this . How is that going affect the current exchange server.

  20. Rob says:

    I’ve had a number of servers where the Desktop Experience installation fails when using the script to install all feature prerequisites. Odd thing is that feature is no longer available on the server after rebooting. I’ve had success removing the as-http-activation and the Desktop-Experience features from the script & then installing them individually afterwards.
    Just curious if you have seen this before and if you were able to restore the availability of these features without re-imaging the server. I do have a case open with Microsoft.

  21. Oliver says:

    Nice article Paul – thanks.

    We are in the middle of testing a migration of an SBS 2011 (running Exchange 2010) over to Server 2012 R2 with Exchange 2013 installed. Trying to install Exchange 2013 on our new 2012 R2 (setup as a replica server in the existing SBS domain) but it always fails with an error:

    “One or more servers in the existing organization are running Exchange 2000 Server or Exchange Server 2003. Installation can’t proceed until all Exchange 2000 or Exchange 2003 servers are removed.”

    We definitely don’t have any 2000 or 2003 Exchange Servers in our environment. Pre-Requisites Software has been installed. The exisiting SBS 2011 already undergone a swing migration from SBS 2003 – could this be the problem? This migration went flawless and we followed official Microsoft documentation.

    Thanks for your advise/help.

        • Oliver says:

          Unfortunately, I’ve run into a new problem. Although Exchange 2013 is now installed on my new W2012R2, I am unable to logon to the Exchange Admin Center (https://localhost/ecp). Says bad username or password. My admin is a member of the “Organization Management” Exchange Security Group. Any ideas?

  22. Rob says:

    @Oliver: check the bindings in IIS for the Exchange Back End site – it should be using the self-signed Exchange certificate for https.

      • Oliver says:

        In IIS I found the bindings under the “Exchange Back End” website. There are 4 certificates created by the W2012R2 server: 2012R2-hostname.domain.local, 2012R2-hostname (Display name: Microsoft Exchange), 2012R2-hostname & domain-2012R2-hostname-CA. Which one do I need to use?

  23. Mike says:

    Hi Paul,
    generel design question – do you have any recommendations/best practices for me?

    a.)separate databases and transaction logs – different disks? (single installation and DAG)
    b.) place queue on a different partition or disk?

    thank you

  24. Ram says:

    I purchased your HA book for Exchange 2013 setup at home. The book helped a lot during DAG and other configuration. Well written.

    I just have one question – When user connect to exchange server they get all the configuration AUTO. No need to manually input any of the exchange server configuration. Looks like outlook anywhere is working fine.

    The only issue is the server setting is like this b3fd862b-5798-4508-b387-088dd79b67fc@infotechram.com and it different for each user. I want exchange to use either EX1 or EX2 as the server. Not sure why the server setting is like this b3fd862b-5798-4508-b387-088dd79b67fc@infotechram.com

  25. Eromosele C. says:

    Hello All,

    This is the second time i am trying to install Exchange 2013 and it has failed in the 11th step of the install process during the Mailbox server role installation.

    Note, we already have Ex2007 running on windows server 2008 (domain Controller) and now we are installing Ex2013 on Server2012 which is member of the domain controller).

    Write-ExchangeSetupLog -Info (“OAB will be distributed to OAB virtual directory ” + $oabVdirs.Name);
    Write-ExchangeSetupLog -Info (“Could not find any OAB virtual directories; OAB will be configured without distribution.”);

    Write-ExchangeSetupLog -Info (“Creating new default OAB.”);
    $newOab = New-OfflineAddressBook
    -Name $oabName

    -AddressLists $oabAddressList
    -VirtualDirectories $oabVdirs

    -GlobalWebDistributionEnabled $oabGlobalWebDistribution
    -IsDefault $true

    catch [Microsoft.Exchange.Data.Directory.ADObjectAlreadyExistsException]
    Write-ExchangeSetupLog -Warning (“Tried to create new default OAB but the object already exists; it may have been created by another instance of setup.”);

    if ($oabConfiguredAttributes -ne $null)
    Write-ExchangeSetupLog -Info (“Setting OAB ConfiguredAttributes to: ” + $oabConfiguredAttributes);
    Set-OfflineAddressBook $newOab -ConfiguredAttributes $oabConfiguredAttributes -DomainController:$RoleDomainController;
    ” was run: “Address list or global address list “Globale Standardadresslist_” was not found. Please make sure you typed the identity correctly.”.

    Kindly suggest poosible solution to me as this is my first month on Exchange. Thank you

  26. Sean says:

    Hey Master Paul,
    im busting my head trying to install exchange admin tools on 20012R2
    im using the ex2013 sp1 dvd
    installed desktop experience
    installed unified comms 4.0 api
    installed office 2010
    i ran a long line of powershell to add all required features
    but i keep getting The Exchange management tools are supported on servers running Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 or later… error message

    any thoughts?



  27. Gary Martin says:

    On our install of Exch2016 /prepareAD would error out UNLESS we had FSMO roleholder & GC role on the SAME win2012 DC. Is this an Exch2016 requirement? or just a /prepareAD issue?

  28. Martin Goddard says:

    What rights does a user need to install Exchange 2013?. Once it is installed and ready and you logon for the first time what rights does that user need?

  29. Asim Anwar says:

    I have success installed Exchange 2013 but there is a question mark showing on Default website & Exchange back end in IIS manager.

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