Exchange 2016 Schema Update – Prepare AD Schema for Exchange 2016

Like previous Exchange versions you need perform a schema update before being able to install Exchange 2016 in this article we will go through the process of performing an Exchange 2016 schema update and verify the correctness of the update task.

Exchange 2016 Schema Update Pre-Requisites

Exchange 2016 Schema update can be performed on the Domain Controller where the Schema Master role is running, on any other domain controller in the same AD Site as the schema master or a member server, generally the server where Exchange is going to be installed, as long as the person performing the update has sufficient permissions.

In addition to the above consideration the following requirements need to be satisfied before perform the schema update

  • .NET Framework 4.5.2 need to be installed on the server
  • RSAT ADDS need to be installed on the server (which is the case with Domain Controllers)

You can easily install RSAT AD with the following Command

Install-WindowsFeature rsat-adds

Success Restart Needed Exit Code      Feature Result
------- -------------- ---------      --------------
True    No             NoChangeNeeded {}
  • User performing the update must be member of the Schema and Enterprise Admins groups
  • Forest/Domain function levels must be at least Windows 2008

Exchange 2016 Schema Update

Once the above requirements have been satisfied to perform the Schema Update simply access Exchange 2016 installation files and launch the following command from PowerShell or Command Prompt

./setup.exe /Prepareschema /IacceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms

Welcome to Microsoft Exchange Server 2016 Unattended Setup

Copying Files...
File copy complete.
Setup will now collect additional information needed for installation.


Performing Microsoft Exchange Server Prerequisite Check

    Prerequisite Analysis                                                                             COMPLETED

Configuring Microsoft Exchange Server

    Extending Active Directory schema                                                                 COMPLETED

The Exchange Server setup operation completed successfully.

The Schema Update process will create a log file under C:ExchangeSetupLogs where you can read detailed information about what has been changed and the action output.

In addition to the log files and interactive Output you can verify Exchange 2016 Schema Update with the following command

(Get-ADObject $("CN=ms-Exch-Schema-Version-Pt,"+$((Get-ADRootDSE).NamingContexts | Where-Object {$_ -like "*Schema*"})) -Property rangeUpper).rangeUpper

Exchange 2016 RTM Schema version will be 15317 you can refer to this article which is updated to reflect Schema version number for the various Exchange versions.

Exchange 2016 Schema Update – Additional Tasks

In many years working with Exchange, since Exchange 5.5, I never faced issues with the schema extension tasks but it is usually a good idea to have a fresh backup just in case and another best practice is disable replication for the Schema Master so if something goes wrong you can seize the role to another machine.

Replication can easily be disabled with the following commands

repadmin /options SchemaMasterDCName +DISABLE_OUTBOUND_REPL

repadmin /options SchemaMasterDCName  +DISABLE_OUTBOUND_REPL
Current DSA Options: IS_GC
New DSA Options: IS_GC DISABLE_OUTBOUND_REPL

repadmin /options SZHV-DC2K16 +DISABLE_INBOUND_REPL
Current DSA Options: IS_GC DISABLE_OUTBOUND_REPL
New DSA Options: IS_GC DISABLE_INBOUND_REPL DISABLE_OUTBOUND_REPL

Once you disable replication you events 1113 and 1115 will be registered in the Directory Service event viewer.

With AD replication disabled the Domain Control will effectively become an island allowing you to perform the Exchange 2016 Schema Update if everything goes you can re-enable replication with the following commands

repadmin /options SZHV-DC2K16 -DISABLE_INBOUND_REPL
Current DSA Options: IS_GC DISABLE_INBOUND_REPL DISABLE_OUTBOUND_REPL
New DSA Options: IS_GC DISABLE_OUTBOUND_REPL

repadmin /options SZHV-DC2K16 -DISABLE_OUTBOUND_REPL
Current DSA Options: IS_GC DISABLE_OUTBOUND_REPL
New DSA Options: IS_GC

Allow sufficient time for changes to replicate throughout the forest and domain controllers and then you will be ready to install Exchange 2016.

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