This article covers the “Microsoft” method for migrating from SBS 2003 to SBS 2011. Following this method allows you to add a new SBS 2011 server to the existing domain allowing you to then gracefully migrate data across (you have 21 days until the SBS2003 server will shutdown). Following this method minimises the downtime for end users – the only downtime needed is when copying data/mailboxes across. I have written this guide whilst performing a number of real-world upgrades.

Alternatively you can use the “swing” method – see www.sbsmigration.com. This method allows you to build a new SBS 2011 server with the same server name as the SBS 2003 server. It’s not covered in

Below is a sample plan showing the timescales of the migration.

Day Part Task
1 – day (2 hours work) 1 Backup SBS 2003 serverRun all pre-requisite checks & updatesGenerate answer file
1 – out of hours 1 Reboot SBS 2003 server
2 – day 2 Build SBS 2011 server with answer fileInstall Updates
2 – out of hours 3 Migrate mailboxes
3 – day 3 Deal with any issues from Email migrationContinue migration (using SBS wizard)
3 – out of hours 3 Setup user accounts and folder redirectionMove shared folders and sharepoint
4 – day 4 Deal with any issues from data moveDecommission SBS 2003

As with all articles on this site this guide is for reference only. Please conduct your own research and testing.

Prepare Source Server


Step 1 – Pre-requisite Checks

  • Note that SBS 2011 ONLY supports a Class C network – i.e. the subnet mask must be If you are using another subnet mask then that is a problem!
  • Only Backup Exec 12.5 and later will work on SBS2011.
  • If using a self issued SSL certificate then the end users are going to see certificate warnings on their PC/phones. I recommend buying a cheap SSL certificate for the new server (see my other article on this).
  • Check that any applications you plan on installing on the SBS 2011 server actually support SBS 2011 (i.e. 64-bit windows)
  • Run a full backup of the SBS 2003 server and verify that backup


Step 2 – Install latest service packs and updates


See the MS site for further information http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg563799.aspx

  • SBS 2003 SP1 – Note that this is entirely separate to Windows SP1 and can be installed in addition to Windows SP2. Check HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\SmallBusinesServer\ServicePackNumber

    If the value is 0x00000001, Service Pack 1 (SP1) for Windows SBS 2003 is installed.

  • .net framework 2.0 – check in add/remove programs
  • Exchange 2003 SP2
  • Windows Server 2003 sp2 – if not installed install this after SBS 2003 SP1
  • Windows Sharepoint services 2.0 sp3 – Go to “Add or Remove Programs”. Select Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services 2.0, and then click “Click here for support information”. If the version number is 11.0.8173.0, SP3 is installed.
  • Verify that the CompanyWeb site is updated with sharepoint sp3 – click Administrative Tools | SharePoint Central Administration |Central Administration |Configure virtual server settings |Virtual Server Configuration section. On the Virtual Server List page, verify that the version for the CompanyWeb site is
    MSXML 6.0 SP1
  • MS SQL server management studio express sp2
  • Microsoft Update – I would recommend running this to ensure the system is fully patched. 
  • KB939820 – It is recommended to install hotfix KB939820
  • Download microsoft baseline configuration analyser 2.0 http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=1B6E9026-F505-403E-84C3-A5DEA704EC67


Step 3 – Misc tasks

  • I would recommend exporting a list of email addresses used. Download this file, extract and and run the vbs script. It will create a text file called c:\proxyaddresses.txt
  • I would also recommend making a note of DHCP settings and their reservations. I have noticed that although the DHCP service is moved over to the new server the reservations are not.
  • Shorten the DHCP lease time on the SBS 2003 server. This is to try and avoid IP conflicts when DHCP is moved over to the new SBS server.
  • Rename any postmaster accounts – make sure there is no postmaster@ address used in the company
  • Remove any mailbox management policies
  • Remove duplicate or incorrect SMTP addresses
  • Create an active directory user for migration (e.g. sbsmigration).
    • This account must have a strong password – mixture of case, 1 number and 1 symbol.
    • Must be a member of domain admins, enterprise admins and schema admins.
    • Make sure the primary group is domain users.
    • Must have “logon as a batch” right. Set this in the “default domain controllers” group policy object.
  • Disable WSUS services on the SBS 2003 server
  • If VPN (RRAS) is used on the source server then disable this.
  • If using ISA I recommend further reading. You could uninstall for the migration – obviously don’t leave your server connected to the internet unsecured.
  • If using an SSL certificate on the SBS 2003 server then export it (with the private key). You can import it on the SBS 2011 server later.
  • Reset the Active Directory Restore Mode password (MS KB322672). This is optional just in case the worst happens!

  • Try to identify any software that might have hard coded reference to the SBS 2003 server
  • Where possible remove old users/mailboxes.


Next – Migration from SBS 2003 to SBS 2011 – part 2

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