Installing Exchange Server 2019 on Windows Server Core 2016

Exchange Server 2019 Public Preview has been released a few days ago and in this article we will go through the full installation steps on Server Core with all prerequisites of what might be the last on-premise messaging system from Microsoft.

In the previous post, we made our environment ready by installing Active Directory on Windows Core and we were able to connect to the Active Directory User adn Computer console from the Windows 10 management PC that has been installed for this purpose. The domain name used is contoso.local.

A fresh Windows Server 2016 Core has been made and will Exchange will be installed on of it.

Postpone Configuration

While a Windows Server Core flavor can be managed locally by sconfig or cmd, these methods can be quite limited in terms of flexibility. PowerShell in this case is the best suitable way to proceed for any postpone configuration.

  • Configuring the IP Address

First, use the Get-NetIPAddress PowerShell to list the all the interface by their index. In my case, the intended NIC has the index 3 and the alias Ethernet0.


Then, assign a static IP address to this NIC.

New-NetIPAddress -InterfaceIndex 3 -IPAddress -PrefixLength 24 -DefaultGateway

  • Configuring DNS

Set-DNSClientServerAddress -InterfaceIndex 3 -ServerAddress ""

  • Enabling Remote Desktop

cscript C:\Windows\System32\Scregedit.wsf /ar 0

  • Renaming the server and joining it to the domain

Add-Computer -DomainName contoso.local -NewName EXCH2k19 -DomainCredential contoso\Administrator

It will prompt that this will take effect after the server restart, but don’t restart the server yet. Let’s install the Exchange prerequisites first.

Preparing the Exchange Prerequisites

Before going through the Exchange installation, the some required Windows features and binaries need to be installed.

  • Installing required Windows Featured

Install-WindowsFeature Server-Media-Foundation, RSAT-ADDS

  • Installing required binaries

We’ll need .Net 4.7.1 offline installer, Visual C++ Redistributable Packages for Visual Studio 2013 (vcredist_x64.exe) and UCMA (Microsoft Unified Communications Managed API 4.0) to be installed.

UCSMA is present in the UCMARedist folder on the Exchange 2019 ISO and both Visual C++ and .Net 4.7.1 can be downloaded from below links:

You can use your Windows10 management PC to download the and copy them to the Exchange server. I have created a folder in the following path C:\Exch2k19Preq

  • .Net 4.7.1 Installation

Go to the C:\Exch2k19Preq folder on the Exchange Server and launch .Net 4.7.1 offline installer

C:\cd Exch2k19Preq

Follow the instruction to complete the installation. In case your server already has .Net 4.7.1 installed, you will get this prompt.

  • vcredist_x64 Installation

Follow the same instruction to install the vcredist_x64.exe

  • UCMA (Microsoft Unified Communications Managed API 4.0) Installation

We’ll also need UCMA (Microsoft Unified Communications Managed API 4.0). This one can be found on the Exchange Server 2019 media itself in the UCMARRedist folder. After mounting your Exchange Server 2019 ISO, browse to UCMARRedist to start the installation.

PS C:\> D:
PS D:\> cd .\UCMARedist\
PS D:\UCMARedist\> .Setup.exe

  • Restart the computer

Once the installation of required binaries is finished, go ahead and restart your server.


Installing Exchange 2019 on Windows Server Core 2016

Now that everything is ready, mount the Exchange Server .ISO and use the following command to start Exchange Server installation. The PowerShell command will also install the required OS components for Exchange:

PS C:\ D:
PS D:\ Setup.exe /m:install /roles:m /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms /OrganizationName:Contoso /InstallWindowsComponents

We went ahead with a typical installation where all roles will installed on the same box. The installer will check that the required binaries are installed and will go through the installation steps.

If the installation is successful, you will have something that looks like this.

Done. Let’s check if the installation is effectively successful by some verification. Don’t forget to restart the server as advised by the installer.

  • Checking the Exchange installation log file

Exchange logs the installation steps in C:\ExchangeSetupLogs\ExchangeSetup.log. Let’s open it out with notepad.

notepad c:\ExchangeSetupLogs\ExchangeSetup.log

Go the end of the log file and there, you can confirm that the installation was successful.

  • Checking the Exchange Services Status

Type the following to make sure that all Exchange Service are running fine.

Get-Service -DisplayName "Microsoft Exchange*"

  • Checking the Exchange Web Console

Once last thing to do, from you Windows 10 management PC, launch a browser windows and type the URL of the Exchange Server to check that Exchange Web Console is operative. In our case, it is https://exch2k19/owa

Because no user has any configured mailbox for now. We will use the Administrator account to connect.

Looks fine. Choose you time zone and sign in.

The Administrator Mailbox is there!

The Exchange Control Panel on https://exch2k19/ecp is also fully functional.

Congratulations. Your Exchange Server 2019 is fully functional. By browsing the Web Console, I haven’t noticed any apparent new features compared to Exchange 2019, but I might be wrong. This is for sure the best Exchange version we’ve ever had! Just some documentation reading is needed to get to know more about this new beast.

In the next post, we will connect two different clients and test some mail flows. Stay tuned!.

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