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Install Exchange Server with GUI step by step

Install Exchange Server with GUI step by step on Windows Server. Before installing Exchange Server, make sure to install Exchange Server prerequisites first. You don’t have to prepare Active Directory and domains for Exchange Server, as the setup wizard will do it automatically. After that, you are ready to install Exchange Server.

Before installing Exchange Server

There are two options for installing Exchange Server:

  1. Install Exchange Mailbox server using the setup wizard (this article)
  2. Install Exchange Mailbox server using unattended mode

The Exchange setup wizard will guide you to install Exchange Server with GUI. The Exchange unattended mode will install Exchange Server with the command line.

Before starting to install Exchange Server on Windows Server, make sure that the following is configured:

*Open Active Directory and add both groups to your account if it’s not set already. These are high privilege groups. We recommend removing your account from the groups when you’re done with this task.

Note: If you’ve just added yourself to these groups, you’ll need to log out and back into the server for the new group membership to take effect.

Important: After you install Exchange on a server, you must not change the server name. Renaming a server after you’ve installed an Exchange server role is not supported.

Download Exchange Server

Go to the official page of Microsoft to get a list of the Exchange Server build numbers and release dates. Scroll down and select your Exchange Server version. Download and save the ISO image.

At the moment of writing, the latest version of Exchange Server 2016 is Exchange Server 2016 CU3. The release date is September 20, 2016. The build number is 15.1.544.27.

Note: We recommend downloading the latest Exchange Server build version.

Install Exchange Server with GUI (setup wizard)

To install Exchange Server on Windows Server, follow these steps:

1. Mount Exchange Server ISO

In File Explorer, right-click on the Exchange Server ISO image file and select Mount. It will mount the ISO to a drive.

Install Exchange Server Mount ISO

In our example, it mounted the Exchange ISO to the (E:) drive. The (E:) drive contains the Exchange installation files.

2. Run Exchange Server setup

Open the (E:) drive and right-click Setup. Click Run as administrator.

Install Exchange Server Run setup as administrator

3. Check for updates

The installation of Exchange Server is starting, and the first screen presenting you is about checking for updates. It’s recommended to check for updates for security reasons.

Select Connect to the Internet and check for updates and click Next.

The setup is downloading updates. In this example, the system is up to date, and there are no updates. Click Next.

4. Copying files

The setup will copy the files to %winDir%\Temp\ExchangeSetup.

Install Exchange Server Copying Files

It’s initializing setup before it can continue to the next step.

5. Introduction

The introduction screen shows general information. Make sure that you have the Exchange Server prerequisites configured before proceeding. If you proceed without configuring the Exchange Server prerequisites, it will fail, and explain why it failed.

Click Next.

Install Exchange Server Introduction

6. License agreement

Read the license agreement, select I accept the terms in the license agreement, and click Next.

Install Exchange Server License Agreement

Choose Use recommended settings and click Next. These settings are mainly used to send error reports, information about your system hardware, and Exchange usage to Microsoft.

Install Exchange Server Recommended Settings

8. Server role selection

In the Server Role Selection screen:

  • Check the checkbox Mailbox role. When checking the checkbox, the setup will install the Management tools automatically.
  • Check the checkbox Automatically install Windows Server roles and features that are required to install Exchange Server. Find the required roles and features in the article Install Exchange Server prerequisites.

Click Next.

Install Exchange Server Server Role Selection

9. Installation space and location

Change the Exchange location to your needs and click Next.

In our example, we will install Exchange Server in the default location.

Install Exchange Server Installation Space and Location

10. Exchange organization

The Exchange Organization window will show if you are installing your first Exchange Server in the organization. Fill in the name and click Next.

Note: You need to select a name for the Exchange organization. The organization’s name is used internally by Exchange. It isn’t typically seen by users and doesn’t affect the functionality of Exchange. Also, it doesn’t determine what you can use for email addresses. The organization name can’t contain more than 64 characters, and can’t be blank. Valid characters are A to Z, a to z, 0 to 9, hyphen or dash (-), and space, but leading or trailing spaces aren’t allowed. You can’t change the organization name after it’s set.

Install Exchange Server Exchange Organization

11. Malware protection settings

Keep Malware Protection enabled. The malware protection automatically scans messages for viruses and spyware. Click No and click Next.

Install Exchange Server Malware Protection Settings

12. Readiness checks

The system is being checked to verify if the setup can continue.

After the readiness checks are completed, a screen will show the warnings and errors. If you have errors, you can’t proceed further with installing Exchange Server. Read them carefully and fix them. After that, rerun the setup.

In our example, we only have warnings and no errors. It shows we don’t have an Exchange Server 2010 and Exchange Server 2013 in the organization. That’s correct, as we are installing our first Exchange Server 2016. The setup will prepare active directory and domains for Exchange Server.

Click Install to start the Exchange Server installation.

Install Exchange Server Readiness Checks finished

13. Setup progress

The Exchange Server installation starts and the setup progress appears.

Install Exchange Server Setup Progress

It can take some time before it finishes installing Exchange Server.

Install Exchange Server Setup Progress running

14. Monitor setup progress

Start Task Manager and click the performance tab. You can monitor the CPU and Memory.

Install Exchange Server Task manager performance monitor

Check the Exchange setup logs to know what the setup wizard configures in the back end. Open File Explorer and navigate to C:\ExchangeSetupLogs. Sort on Date Modified.

Install Exchange Server Exchange Setup Logs.png

15. Setup completed

Click Finish after completing the installation of Exchange and restart the system.

Install Exchange Server Setup Completed

Sign in to Exchange Admin Center (EAC)

Sign in to Exchange Admin Center (EAC). Open your favorite browser and go to https://hostname/ecp. Change the hostname to yours. Another way is to use https://localhost/ecp.

You will get a certificate warning in your browser. Accept the risk and continue.

In our example, the Exchange Server hostname is EX01-2016.

Fill in the domain and administrator credentials. Click the sign in button.

Install Exchange Server Exchange Admin Center

The mailboxes area is almost empty, except for one mailbox that is showing. That’s the account that we used for installing Exchange Server.

Install Exchange Server Exchange Admin Center logged in

Did this article help you to install Exchange Server on Windows Server with GUI?

The next step is to configure Exchange Server »


You learned how to install Exchange Server step by step on Windows Server. We did install the Mailbox Server Role with the GUI (setup wizard). It’s good to monitor the CPU and Memory when installing Exchange Server.

Did you enjoy this article? If so, you may like the article Exchange database best practices. Don’t forget to follow us and share this article.



ALI TAJRAN is a passionate IT Architect, IT Consultant, and Microsoft Certified Trainer. He started Information Technology at a very young age, and his goal is to teach and inspire others. Read more »

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