Saying Goodbye to Windows Server 2003


The sun setting of Windows XP was a difficult experience for many of us. It was a familiar platform that was stable and relied upon by millions of users. The transition to Windows 7 or 8 (putting aside Vista) was fairly painful as Microsoft did not provide a direct upgrade path. I wrote my about my experience with this migration previously in my blog –

A new concern is the stalwart Windows Server 2003 reaching its end of life on July 14, 2015. Millions of companies will need to address how and when to migrate to a newer platform. Fortunately the migration path is not as severe as that of Windows XP.

There are some things you will want to consider while planning for an upgrade.


  • You will need to purchase new server hardware if your current server is 32 bit. Windows Servers require a 64 bit platform

To which version of the operating system will you migrate

  • Server 2008 mainstream support ends January 14, 2015
  • Windows Server 2012 has only 3 versions: Enterprise, Standard and Essentials (similar to Small Business Server without features like Exchange Server)
  • Microsoft has stated that Small Business Server 2011 will be the final release

Exchange Server

  • If you are still running Exchange 2003 the latest version of Exchange to which you can directly migrate is Exchange 2010. Exchange 2013 will not accept a direct migration from Exchange 2003
  • Microsoft recommends running Exchange Server on its own server. You can create a Hyper-V server on your Domain Server if the hardware has sufficient resources but will need to have a separate license for Windows Server operating system

There are many great sites outlining the proper steps to be taken to migrate from Windows Server 2003. My favorite site is Damasterz Blog. Although it describes migrating from Small Business Server 2003 to Windows Server 2008 R2, it has very concise step-by-step recommendations that should be useful to anyone assigned the migration task.


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