Announcing the Release of the Exchange Server Pre-Deployment Analyzer

Today I am pleased to announce the release of the Exchange Server Pre-Deployment Analyzer (ExPDA).

You can use the Exchange Pre-Deployment Analyzer to perform an overall topology readiness scan of your environment. When you run the Exchange Pre-Deployment Analyzer, it provides a detailed report that will alert you if there are any issues within your organization, which could prevent you from deploying Exchange 2010. For example, the Exchange Pre-Deployment Analyzer will notify you if you haven’t deployed the minimum required Exchange service pack on all your existing Exchange servers.

The checks performed by ExPDA are similar to the pre-requisite checks implemented (via Exchange Best Practices Analyzer) in the Exchange 2010 Setup program; in fact ExPDA is based off the Exchange Best Practices Analyzer (ExBPA) engine. However, unlike Exchange 2010 setup, this tool focuses only on overall topology readiness and not the ability to run Exchange 2010 on the local computer. The scan also performs a deep analysis of each existing Exchange 2003/2007 server to verify that it has the necessary updates and configuration in-place to support Exchange 2010. The end report is structured as follows:

  • Critical – A configuration problem that will prevent Exchange 2010 from being deployed in the organization. For example, the Active Directory Forest is not operating in Windows Server 2003 Forest Functional Mode or higher.
  • Warning – A configuration item that may prevent customers having the best possible experience with Exchange 2010. A warning may also reflect some functionality that is not available in Exchange 2010.

ExPDA is another component in our vision to provide a seamless upgrade experience that reduces the complexities in deploying Exchange 2010. To start planning your upgrade, please utilize the Exchange Deployment Assistant. The Deployment Assistant allows a customer to create Exchange 2010 on-premises deployment instructions that are customized to their environment. The Assistant asks a small set of questions, and based on the answers, it provides a finite set of instructions that are designed to get a customer up and running on Exchange 2010Running the Exchange Server Pre-Deployment Analyzer is now a recommended step within the pre-requisites section of the Deployment Assistant.

You can download ExPDA at  ExPDA is supported on Windows 7, Windows Vista with Service Pack 2, Windows Server 2008 with Service Pack 2, Windows Server 2008 R2, and Windows Server 2003 with Service Pack 2.


  1. Does this tool replace the Exchange Deployment Assistant?

    No, ExPDA is merely an additional tool that can be used as a step within the upgrade experience. The Exchange Deployment Assistant will walk you through all aspects of the upgrade, namely how to coexist properly with Exchange 2010 and legacy versions of Exchange, whereas, ExPDA is one step within that process and ensures that the environment is ready to have the first Exchange 2010 server deployed.

  2. I ran the scan and have questions about the results. What should I do?

    If you’d like to read more about the requirements of Exchange 2010, please see the Planning for Exchange 2010 section on TechNet.

  3. I ran the scan and received unexpected results. If I think there’s a bug, who can I contact?

    If you need assistance, please visit the Exchange Server Deployment Forum or you can send mail to exbpafb AT Microsoft DOT com.

  4. Is this new functionality available in all languages?

    No. ExPDA is only available as a U.S. English version.

  5. I’d like to know if my organization is capable of running Exchange 2007. Can I use ExPDA to check this?

    No, ExPDA only verifies if an organization is ready to have the first Exchange 2010 server installed. If you need to determine whether your organization is ready to have Exchange 2007 deployed, you can utilize ExBPA v2.8 and the latest Exchange 2007 ExBPA.Readiness.xml:

    1. Install ExBPA 2.8 and the last ExBPA 2.8 Update.
    2. Download the latest Exchange 2007 service pack rollup. At the time of this writing this is SP2 RU2.
    3. Extract the rollup binaries using this command: msiexec /a filepath to MSI file /qb TARGETDIR=filepath to target folder
    4. Copy the ExBPA.Readiness.xml to the \en folder.
    5. Launch ExBPA.
  6. Where can I look at the list of checks made in this new scan?

    If you’re familiar with the BPA XML files, the new check is wholly contained within the ExBPA.Readiness.xml file located within %Program Files%\Microsoft\Exchange Server\V14\ExPDA\en folder.

    • Reporting the number of Active Directory trees, domains, sites, admin groups, routing groups, Exchange 5.5 servers, Exchange 2000 servers, Exchange 2003 servers, total mailboxes, Windows 2000 Active Directory servers, Windows Server Active Directory servers, Windows Server Active Directory servers. Report how many Active Directory domain/sites have Exchange servers installed.
    • Verifying that the Schema Master is Windows 2003 SP1 or later.
    • Identifying Active Directory domains that are not in native mode.
    • Identifying Active Directory sites that do not have a global catalog server running Windows 2003 SP1 or later.
    • Verifying that there are zero Active Directory Connector servers in existence.
    • Identifying any SMTP site links in existence.
    • Verifying that the Exchange organization is in native mode.
    • Identifying any non-standard proxy address generators.
    • Identifying whether you have any ambiguously defined email addresses in your recipient policies.
    • Identifying any non-MAPI public folder hierarchies (a.k.a. AppTLH’s) in use.
    • Identifying Routing Groups that span Active Directory sites.
    • Identifying any Active Directory sites that span Routing Groups.
    • Identifying any Routing Group Connectors that have specialized settings (activation, max size, accept/reject lists, restrict message type/priority).
    • Identifying any SMTP Connectors that support non-SMTP address spaces.
    • Identifying any SMTP Connectors that use inline domain-wildcarding for address spaces (e.g. * instead of *
    • Identifying any X.400 Connectors in the topology.
    • Identifying any EDK-based Connectors in the topology (excluding Notes).
    • Verifying that any servers running Exchange 2003 have SP2 or later.
    • Verifying that any servers running Exchange 2007 have SP2 or later.
    • Identifying any SMTP virtual servers that are not using port 25 for incoming/outgoing.
    • Verifying that all Exchange 2003 servers have SuppressStateChanges set.
    • Identifying any Exchange 2003 servers that have active NNTP newsfeeds.
    • Identifying any Exchange 2003 servers that use the Event Scripting service.
    • Identifying any Exchange 2003 servers that have the ExIFS (a.k.a. M:) drive enabled.
    • Identifying any parts of Active Directory that have Access Control Entry inheritance disabled.

Thanks for your continued support. Feel free to post feedback in comments of this blog post, or visit the Exchange Server Deployment Forum.

Ross Smith IV

Comments (24)
  1. Ivor Beelders says:


  2. Anand Narine says:

    will check it out

  3. Andy says:

    Great timing – I’m doing my Exchange 2010 ignite training this week -so this will be great to use and test

  4. JasonG says:

    Attempting to install on WinXP SP3 I see:

    "You need Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Vista SP2, Windows Server 2008 SP2, or Windows Server 2003 SP2 to install ExPDA"

    Yea, Win7 may be gaining traction but…Fail.

  5. Exchange says:

    Jason – As mentioned in this article and on the download page, Windows XP is not a supported OS.


  6. Karsten says:

    I installed it on a Win 7 (German) – Installation which works but the tool complains missing a xml file.

    This File was in a "en" Subfolder of the tool.

    After copying all about 6 files in the folder to the folder above the tool worked on a german Windows 7. Maybe this can be corected in the installer of the tool.

  7. Exchange says:

    Karsten – What specific XML file did it indicate was missing?


  8. Spiridon says:

    It’s missing the expda.config.xml file, same issue here, W2K8R2 german.

    for me, renaming the "en" folder to "de" did the trick.

  9. Karsten says:

    Exactly – the ExPDA.Config.xml is missing.

    The complete Message was:

    The Configuration File C:Program FilesMicrosoftExchange ServerV14ExPDAExPDA.Config.xml could not be found

    Additonal the following shows the contens of the en directory.

    Volume in Laufwerk C: hat keine Bezeichnung.

    Volumeseriennummer: 44FF-1FB0

    Verzeichnis von C:Program FilesMicrosoftExchange ServerV14ExPDAen

    25.02.2010  18:56    <DIR>          .

    25.02.2010  18:56    <DIR>          ..

    04.02.2010  19:37            42.392 BPA.Common.resources.dll

    04.02.2010  19:37            10.552 BPA.ConfigCollector.resources.dll

    04.02.2010  19:37            13.232 BPA.NetworkCollector.resources.dll

    04.02.2010  19:37            11.576 BPA.UserInterface.resources.dll

    16.02.2010  12:31         3.615.599 ExBPA.chm

    04.02.2010  19:42            33.558 ExBPA.Permissions.xml

    04.02.2010  19:42            79.085 ExBPA.Readiness.xml

    04.02.2010  19:42            26.951 ExPDA.Config.xml

                  8 Datei(en),      3.832.945 Bytes

                  2 Verzeichnis(se), 27.304.443.904 Bytes frei

  10. Exchange says:

    Thanks Karsten.  And to confirm, you copied ExBPA.Readiness.xml, ExBPA.Permissions.xml. and ExPDA.config.xml from C:Program FilesMicrosoftExchange ServerV14ExPDA to C:Program FilesMicrosoftExchange ServerV14ExPDAen?


  11. Karsten says:

    @Ross – Not exactly: I copied all 8 files (didn’t tried if they where all necesary) from "…ExPDAen" to "…ExPDA".

    But the way Spiridon did it seems to be a good Idea, too. The "en" probably stands for englisch – the "de" = "deutsch" = "german".

  12. Arjen says:

    Great tool!


    When I run the tool in my domain (with 9 win 2008 (r2) DC’s and 10 Exch2003 and 4 Exch2010), the follow is Error is displayed in the Report:  "Active Directory domain ‘DC=domain,DC=local’ does not contain at least one domain controller running Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 or later. This is required for the ‘/PrepareLegacyExchangePermissions’ task when updating existing domains that have been previously prepared for Exchange Server."

    We don’t have a Windows 2003 DC anymore (all DC’s are replaced with 2008 DC’s). What to do?

    Do this mean that I nead a Win2003 DC? Or that the tool find a DC that have’t the right service pack?

  13. John C. Kirk says:

    Arjen – the tool recognises my Windows 2008 DCs, and doesn’t complain, but they’re not on R2. Have a look on the "Informational Items" page, and see whether it lists your servers.

  14. Exchange says:


    We support environments that only have Windows 2008 R2 deployed, however, that rule may fire if we do not find any domain controllers within the default Domain Controllers OU.  Otherwise, I’d look at the output and see if any DCs are listed, like John recommended.


  15. irislogic says:

    Will this ever be available for Windows XP?

  16. Arjen says:

    Hy John, Exchange,

    Thanks for your reply. The tool tells me that I have 3 2008 DC’s and 5 2008 R2 DC’s; no 2003 DC’s are displayed. But like Exchange said, I have no DC’s in the (default) container Domain Controllers. We have placed the DC’s in a custom DC OU. That’s why the message is displayed.

    Thanks again!


  17. Exchange says:

    Arjen –

    I strongly recommend moving away from that architecture.  Microsoft does not support having the domain controllers outside of the default domain controllers OU.  See for more information.


  18. Arjen says:

    Exchange/Ross –

    We have linked the Default Domain Controller Policy to our ‘custom’ DC OU. Also some other policies are linked where we set settings that otherwise can’t be applied when the servers are placed in the DC container.

    We do not want to modify/add settings in the Default DC policy…

    Untill now, we have no problems with the move…

    Any specific reasons why it is not recommended?


  19. Rick says:

    Ross, great tool Thanks!

    This tool does not work for Greenfield environments.  It would be nice to at least check to see if AD meets all the requirements for Exchange 2010.

  20. Exchange says:


    This is not supported specifically because it increases the chances of impropror configurations which could prevent the domain controllers form replicating and servicing authentications.

    The best choice would be to place them back in the default OU and use groups to control group filtering on the GPO if your primary reason for doing this is for applying different GPOs to specific DCs.


  21. Arjen says:


    Just running in the first issue because they are not in the default Container: I update my Exchange 2007 SP1 servers to SP2 and the wizard checks also the DC’s located in the default DC Container; because no DC is there, a error is displayed and the setup cannot continue. After I moved a DC to the default DC Container everything is fine.

    I consider to move the DC’s back on your advise. Thanks!

    On-topic about the Exch-PDA: It doesn’t warn me that the Exch 2007 (4 total) in my organisation havn’t SP2 installed… In my Exch2010 training, my teacher told us that SP2 is a requirement… Maybe you have to implement to check this in a new version of the tool?


  22. Exchange says:

    Ajren – We do have rules about Exchange 2007 already in place.  Could you export your XML file and send it to exbpafb AT Microsoft DOT com (with ExPDA in the subject line) so I can take a look?


  23. Arjen says:

    Hy Ross,

    Just send you the XML file.

    About the location of the DC’s: Exchange 2007 SP2 installation also needs a DC in the default DC OU in AD, before the update can be done (but I have not updated Exch2007 to SP2 jet). Thanks for the tip.


  24. Jb VERNEJOUX says:

    As said by Karsten, exPDA has issues when running on localized operating systems. On my French version of Windows (tested on W2003 R2 or Vista SP2 or 2008 R2), always same error with missing file ExPDA.Config.xml.

    A solution is the same as Spiridon post:

    You can rename the ‘EN’ subfolder  (which contains ExPDA.*.xml files) to your OWN system locale before launching the tool.

    It works for me with ‘FR’ for French.

    I think it would be the same for others languages (IT for Italian, ES for Spain, and so on  – with ISO639-1 country code (2-characters length:

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