How Do I Migrate from Exchange 2013 to 2019?

Summary: In this guide, we have discussed the steps to migrate Exchange 2013 to Exchange 2019. You will find detailed instructions on setting up and configuring the new Exchange Server 2019. Also, the steps to transfer components, such as mailboxes, virtual directories, certificates, mail flow, etc., from Exchange 2013 to Exchange 2019.

The major things to see when migrating from Exchange Server 2013 to 2019 are the requirements, limitations, and co-existence. For this free guide, we will assume that only one Exchange Server is installed.

Prerequisites for Exchange 2013 to 2019 Migration

If you are migrating from Exchange 2013 to Exchange 2019, you need to ensure the following before getting started:

  • Update Exchange 2013 with the latest Cumulative Update 23 (CU23) released in July 2021 or later.
  • Active Directory Servers must be hosted on Windows 2012 R2 Standard or Datacenter and higher with Windows Server 2012 R2 or higher Active Directory Forest functionality.
  • If you still host Windows 2008 R2 domain controllers, you need to make sure that these are decommissioned before the installation and migration of Exchange 2013 to Exchange 2019.
  • Exchange 2019 supports Outlook 2013 and higher.

Important Note: With Exchange 2019, you don’t have any Unified Messaging (UM). Thus, if you have Lync or Skype for Business Server, you will lose the ability to save voicemail messages in your mailboxes, and an alternative needs to be found, like CX-E or Azure Voicemail on Office 365.

Steps to Migrate Exchange Server 2013 to 2019

  • Deploy Exchange 2019
    • Install Windows Server 2019
    • Install Exchange 2019 Prerequisites
      • .Net 4.8 Framework
      • Visual C++ Redistributable Package for Visual Studio 2012 and 2013
      • Remote Tool, Administration Pack, and Windows Features
  • Install Exchange Server 2019 using Setup Wizard
  • Setup Outlook Anywhere
  • Setup Service Connection Point
  • Import Certificates from Exchange 2013 to Exchange 2019
    • Export and import Certificates using PowerShell cmdlets
    • Export and import Certificates using Exchange Admin Center
  • Configure Exchange 2019 Virtual Directories
    • Configure Virtual Directories on Exchange 2019 using EAC
    • Configure Virtual Directories on Exchange 2019 using EMS
  • Update DNS Records
  • Move mailboxes from Exchange 2013 to Exchange Server 2019
    • Move Mailboxes using EAC
    • Move Mailboxes Using EMS
  • Decommission Exchange 2013 server
  • Conclusion

Deploy Exchange Server 2019

Install Windows Server 2019 on a VM or Physical Machine

Start by installing Windows Server 2019 Standard or Datacenter on a Virtual or physical machine. Microsoft recommends installing Exchange 2019 on Windows Server 2019 Core, but the Desktop Experience feature is still supported. So, it’s your choice at this stage. You cannot install it on any other operating system.

Install Windows Server 2019

If you install Management Tools on another machine, you need to install them on a Windows 10 64-bit edition. After installing and setting up Windows Server 2019, install the OS updates and following software.

Install Exchange 2019 Prerequisites

  • .NET Framework 4.7.2 or later (preferably 4.8)

Download the .NET 4.8 on your Windows Server 2019 machine and run the software package as an administrator.

install net framwork 4.7.2

Accept the Terms and Conditions and then click ‘Install.’

installing .net framework 4

After the installation, click ‘Finish.

Installation completed

Then click ‘Restart Now.

restart system
  • Install Visual C++ Redistributable Package for Visual Studio 2012 and 2013

Download Visual C++ Redistributable Package for Visual Studio 2012 and 2013 packages and install them as administrators.

Visual C++ Redistributable Package
  • Install the Remote Tool Administration Pack and Windows features via PowerShell using the below command.

Install-WindowsFeature NET-Framework-45-Features, RSAT-ADDS, RPC-over-HTTP-proxy, RSAT-Clustering, RSAT-Clustering-CmdInterface, RSAT-Clustering-Mgmt, RSAT-Clustering-PowerShell, Web-Mgmt-Console, WAS-Process-Model, Web-Asp-Net45, Web-Basic-Auth, Web-Client-Auth, Web-Digest-Auth, Web-Dir-Browsing, Web-Dyn-Compression, Web-Http-Errors, Web-Http-Logging, Web-Http-Redirect, Web-Http-Tracing, Web-ISAPI-Ext, Web-ISAPI-Filter, Web-Lgcy-Mgmt-Console, Web-Metabase, Web-Mgmt-Console, Web-Mgmt-Service, Web-Net-Ext45, Web-Request-Monitor, Web-Server, Web-Stat-Compression, Web-Static-Content, Web-Windows-Auth, Web-WMI, Windows-Identity-Foundation

install windows features

Install Exchange Server 2019 using Setup Wizard

To install Exchange Server 2019, connect the Exchange Server 2019 media to the server machine and mount the ISO. Then open the Command Prompt window to navigate to the Setup.exe location using the cd (change directory) command.

Then run the below command in Command Prompt window to prepare the Schema and the AD.

Setup.exe /PrepareSchema /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms

Setup.exe /PrepareAD /OrganizationName:”Contoso” /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms

Here you have prepared the Active Directory to be Exchange 2019 friendly and now you can start the installation. Before you start, make sure that no new updates are available for the prerequisites you’ve installed.

Now launch the Setup.exe.

laucnh exchange setup

Click ‘next’.

follow exchange server installation wizard

Accept the license agreement and click ‘next.’

accept license terms and conditions

Select ‘Recommended settings’ and click ‘next.

select recommended settings

On the Server Role Selection page, make sure to tick Mailbox Role and Management Tools and check ‘Automatically install Windows Server roles and features required to install Exchange Server.’ Click ‘next’.

choose mailbox role management tools

Choose the location of the installation of the Exchange Server and click ‘next’ (Make sure not to install Exchange on the system drive).

choose exchange server install location

Enter the organization’s name and click ‘next.’

On the Malware protection setting, click No for now as this can be enabled in the future. You don’t need it for now.

rediness check exchange server

After the Readiness screen, the installation will start. After finishing, make sure again to see if any updates are available.

Exchange Server 2019 setup is installing

Setup Outlook Anywhere

Login to Exchange Admin Center and click ‘servers.

Exchange server 2019 admin center

Select the Exchange 2019 Server and clickthe edit icon.

enable outlook anywhere

Click ‘Outlook Anywhere’ and update the internal and external FQDN (Fully Qualified Domain Name). Click ‘Save’.

Setup the Service Connection Point (SCP)

The next step is to set up the Service Connection Point (SCP), an attribute on Exchange Server stored in the AD schema that directs domain-joined client computers using Outlook to the server using auto-discover settings. By default, it will change to the new server. You need to stop the users from connecting to the new server for now due to issues with certificates as the default with the installation is a self-signed one. This can be changed by running the following PowerShell cmdlet:

Set-ClientAccessService –Identity ExchangeServer2019 –AutoDiscoverServiceInternalUri

This will point the users to the current server.

Import the Certificates into Exchange 2019

Now you need to import the certificates into the new server. Again, you can use the PowerShell commands or Exchange Admin Center to import and export certificates from Exchange 2013 to Exchange 2019.

Export and Import Certificates via EAC

To export and import certificates from Exchange 2013 to 2019, follow these steps:

  • Open Exchange Admin Center and navigate to servers > certificate.
  • Select the certificate, click … (three dots), and choose ‘Export Exchange Certificate.
export exchnage certificate
  • Enter the UNC path where the certificate will be exported and enter a password to protect the certificate. Remember this password or note it down somewhere safe. Click ‘ok.’
enter unc path add password

Copy the exported certificate from the UNC path on Exchange 2013 Server to an external storage device and transfer it to a UNC folder path on the Exchange 2019. Then open the Exchange Admin Center in Exchange 2019 and follow these steps to import the certificate:

  • Go to servers > certificate. Click on three dots (…) and choose ‘Import Exchange Certificate.
import exchange certificate
  • Enter the UNC path where the certificate is stored and then enter the password. Click ‘next.
enter unc path to import certificate in exchange
  • Select the server where you want to apply the certificate and click ‘finish.’

Now assign the POP, IMAP, IIS, and SMTP services to the imported certificates by following these steps:

  • Select the imported certificate and click the ‘Edit button.
  • Click ‘services’ and then check the POP, IMAP, IIS, and SMTP options.
enable smtp pop imap iis services
  • Click ‘Save’.

Export and Import Certificates via PowerShell Cmdlets

First, you need to identify the certificates to move by using the below PowerShell cmdlet:

Get-ExchangeCertificate | fl Thumbprint,NotAfter,Issuer,CertificateDomains,Services

use ems to export exchange server certificate

This will give you a list of certificates, along with the thumbprint and the services they are used for so you know the certificates and on what services to assign them to. On the Exchange 2013 Server, use the following PowerShell cmdlet to export the certificate for the Exchange 2019 Server.

$CertPass = ConvertTo-SecureString “LetMeIn” -AsPlainText –Force

Export-ExchangeCertificate -Thumbprint C87C1CBA43733D177B2679BC825808C7BECC659B -FileName C:\temp\Exchange2013Certificate.pfx -Password $CertPass | Out-Null

Once done, keep a note of the password. In case you forget it, you can always redo the above and use a new password. Copy the file to the Exchange Server 2019 and run the below command in PowerShell:

$CertPass = ConvertTo-SecureString “LetMeIn” -AsPlainText –Force

Import-ExchangeCertificate -FileName C:\temp\Exchange2013Certificate.pfx -PrivateKeyExportable $true –

Password $CertPass | Enable-ExchangeCertificate –Services POP,IMAP,IIS,SMTP –DoNotRequireSsl

This will import the certificate and assign it to POP, IMAP, IIS, and SMTP services.

Configure Virtual Directories

The next step is to set the URLs for the internal and external access using Outlook Anywhere. On Exchange Admin Center,

  • Go to servers > virtual directories.
  • From Select type, choose OWA.
  • Double click on OWA and go to authentication.
  • Select ‘Use forms-based authentication’ and choose Domain\user name. You may choose another option based on your preference.
enable form based authentication
  • Click ‘Save’.

Now set and update the internal and external URL of virtual directories for Outlook Anywhere, OWA, ECP, Web Services, ActiveSync, Offline Address Book, and MAPI. Again, you can use the CLI interface or Exchange Admin Center to configure the virtual directories.  

Set and Update Virtual Directories via EAC

The steps are as follows:

  • In EAC, under server > virtual directories, double-click on OWA.
  • Paste or enter the FQDN in Internal URL and External URL section.
enter internal external url
  • Repeat the steps and update the Internal URL and External URL fields for ecp, oab, activesync, webservices, mapi.

Set and Update Virtual Directories via PowerShell Cmdlets

On Exchange 2019, run the below command.

Get-OutlookAnywhere -Server srvexc2019 | Set-OutlookAnywhere -InternalHostname -InternalClientAuthenticationMethod Ntlm -InternalClientsRequireSsl $true -ExternalHostname -ExternalClientAuthenticationMethod Basic -ExternalClientsRequireSsl $true -IISAuthenticationMethods Negotiate,NTLM,Basic

Get-EcpVirtualDirectory -Server srvexc2019 | Set-EcpVirtualDirectory -InternalUrl https://ex02/ -ExternalUrl

Get-OwaVirtualDirectory -Server srvexc2019 | Set-OwaVirtualDirectory -InternalUrl -ExternalUrl

Get-WebServicesVirtualDirectory -Server srvexc2019 | Set-WebServicesVirtualDirectory -InternalUrl -ExternalUrl

Get-ActiveSyncVirtualDirectory -Server srvexc2019 | Set-ActiveSyncVirtualDirectory -InternalUrl -ExternalUrl

Get-OabVirtualDirectory -Server srvexc2019 | Set-OabVirtualDirectory -InternalUrl -ExternalUrl

Get-MapiVirtualDirectory -Server srvexc2019 | Set-MapiVirtualDirectory -InternalUrl -ExternalUrl

Replace the URL in the command with your domain name (URL).

To ensure these changes are in effect, recycle the Application Pool for MSExchangeAutodiscoverAppPool. To do this,

  • Open IIS, expand the server, and click on Application Pools.
  • Find the Application Pool and click on Recycle.
recycle msexchangeautodiscoverapppool

Update DNS Records

Now that the URLs are changed, it’s time to point the DNS records to the new Exchange 2019 Server. For this, contact your network team to see that any ports open and forwarded with NAT to the current Exchange 2013 are replicated to also point to the Exchange 2019.

All open ports to Exchange 2013 should be opened for Exchange 2019. Any forwarding from outside to the inside should be changed to point to the Exchange 2019 Server instead. It’s now the time to point the SCP record, you set before, to point to the Exchange 2019 rather than 2013.

Now the users should be able to work by accessing the Exchange 2019 as their Exchange Server while being redirected to the Exchange 2013 Server as the location of their mailbox. It’s time to go round and work on the multi-function devices to point to the new Exchange 2019 Server. From the server, set up the transport rules to allow the devices to pass through it.

You need to make sure that the URL being used internally is also changed and propagated. Then connect one Outlook and check that it’s connecting to the right Exchange Server by opening the Outlook Connection status.

Mailbox Move from Exchange 2013 to Exchange 2019

The next step is to move the mailboxes from your current Exchange Server 2013 to Exchange Server 2019. This is done by creating a migration batch job. You can create the migration batch via Exchange Admin Center or Exchange Management Shell.

Create Mailbox Move Migration Batch via EAC

The steps are as follows:

  • Open the Exchange Admin Center and click on Recipients. Click on Migration, click the + sign, and select Move to a different database.
move mailboxes from exchange server
  • Select the mailboxes you want to move and click Next.
add users you want to move
  • Then you can select to move everything or select specific mailbox only or the archive mailbox only.
  • Select the Target database for mail and archive and click next. You can select multiple mailboxes at once in a job, depending on the volume and size.

Create Mailbox Migration Batch via Exchange Management Shell

The steps are as follows:

  • Open the Exchange Management Shell and execute the following PowerShell command:

Get-Mailbox -Database MBX-DB-2013 | New-MoveRequest -TargetDatabase DB19 -BatchName “DB13toDB19”

  • Also, move the Arbitration mailboxes to complete the mailbox move.

Get-Mailbox -server ExchangeServer2013 -Arbitration |New-MoveRequest

  • You can check the progress using the following command:

Get-MoveRequest | Get-MoveRequestStatistics

The process is slow and requires you to export and import the mailboxes manually.

For faster mailbox move, download and install Stellar Converter for EDB. With this EDB to PST converter software, you can scan and migrate mailboxes from online or offline Exchange databases to PST. In addition, you may also directly export the mailboxes from your Exchange 2013 offline database (EDB) directly to Exchange 2019 or Office 365.

Unlike EMS or EAC, the software does not impact the server resources or performance and moves the mailboxes from one Exchange Server to another at up to 4x speed. You can download it for free to evaluate yourself.

free download

Decommission Exchange Server 2013

Proper decommissioning of the Exchange Server is critical. Login to EAC and follow these steps:

  • Go to mail flow > send connector.
remove mailboxes database
  • Double-click on send connector name and go to scoping.
remove smtp connectors
  • Remove the server’s name. 

Once all mailboxes are moved, you can go ahead and remove the mailboxes from the Exchange Server 2013 using EAC or EMS command (as given below).

Get-MailboxDatabase –Server ExchangeServer2013 | Remove-MailboxDatabase

Finally, uninstall Exchange 2013 from the current server from the Control Panel. Then shut down the Exchange 2013 Server.

This completes the decommissioning of the Exchange Server. At this stage, your Exchange Server migration is complete.


This is a comprehensive guide on how to migrate Exchange 2013 to Exchange 2019. From deploying Exchange Server 2019 to decommissioning Exchange 2013, this guide covers every step in detail to help IT and Exchange administrators migrate Exchange 2013 to 2019 without any hiccups.

However, if you face any issue, experience errors, or need help in migrating Exchange 2013 to 2019, you can reach us via the comments section below.

  1. ExcHangeHelps April 21, 2021
    • Eric Simson April 21, 2021
  2. Rene November 22, 2020
    • Eric Simson November 24, 2020
  3. Neal Blackie July 23, 2020
  4. martin July 10, 2020
  5. Lucas Armer February 18, 2020
  6. Bruno D January 30, 2020
    • Eric Simson February 1, 2020

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