Installing and Configuring SBS 2003

Implementing Microsoft's small business full featured package from an Exchange 2003 perspective. This article will not detail all the countless features of SBS 2003. Instead, it will focus on installing SBS 2003 as an Exchange server that also features file and monitoring services.


Microsoft put a lot of development efforts into producing SBS 2003 so that it will be really full featured and yet easy to configure product. Due to its low cost a lot of small and medium sized customers are buying it and using it primarily as a messaging server.

This article will not detail all the countless features of SBS 2003. Instead, it will focus on installing SBS 2003 as an Exchange server that also features file and monitoring services.


Having installed previous versions of SBS and countless Active Directory and Exchange servers, the experts amongst us will be tempted to install components manually, the trademark of a real expert.

I would really recommend against it. Microsoft put a lot of effort in determining what most SBS installations require so that if you follow the wizards you will get a fully working server with little use for extra tweaking. Also, SBS 2003 is restricted from a security perspective, so if you don''t follow the wizards to the end of the installation process, you will have to spend some time loosening these restrictions for some regular features to work.

Operating System

The first step in installing SBS is setting up the operating system in the same way that Windows 2003 is installed.

Having completed this you will get the SBS Setup Wizard welcome screen. At his stage you should not proceed with the wizard. Instead you should configure the server to support the rest of the installation.

Before commencing with the installation it is of utmost importance that you install all available patches at

Otherwise, some components might not install properly.


The following screenshot shows my recommendation for partitioning of a server. I reserve a healthy chunk of disk space for the operating system, create a separate partition for the page file (an idea borrowed from Unix/Linux installations). The rest is used for data such as databases and user files.

Having configured the server partitions, now is a good time to configure the page file itself accessible by right clicking My Computer and choosing "Properties" or from the control panel.


The logic of the setup wizard requires you to configure a network card with a private IP address and your ISP DNS servers. Once the domain controller installation part of the SBS installation proceeds, the primary DNS server will be changed to the server''s IP private IP address as is required in an Active Directory domain.

Installation Wizard

If you install SBS servers with a single network card, like I do, you might get the following notice:

It''s okay to disregard it and proceed with the rest of the installation.

My recommendation is to leave all of the installation on the default drive C: and create folders for all of the data folders on the large data partition.

At this point the server is installed as a domain controller and IP addressing is changed. Running the IPConfig command will show something like this:

Ethernet adapter Server Local Area Connection:

Connection-specific DNS Suffix  . :
Description . . . . . . . . . . . . : 3Com Gigabit LOM (3C940)
Physical Address. . . . . . . .  : 00-0E-A6-8A-90-0C
DHCP Enabled. . . . . . . . . .  : No
IP Address. . . . . . . . . . . . . :
Subnet Mask . . . . . . . . . . . :
Default Gateway . . . . . . . . .:
DNS Servers . . . . . . . . . . . :
Primary WINS Server . . . . . :

Post Installation

After installation completed you should follow most of the To Do List Wizards.

The E-mail and Internet Wizard, for example, follows some configuration that was already performed but have some important configuration dialog boxes that are relevant for Exchange access. The following screenshots show the common configuration for a network with a broadband Firewall/Router connecting such as Cable or ADSL.

The following screenshot configures remote access for OWA, OMA and Outlook using RPC over HTTPS.

The following screenshots show a common configuration for Exchange to send and receive Internet mail.

SBS 2003 allows you to filter attachment file types. If you have a decent Antivirus package you might choose to let it do this chore.

Configuring Users

Although you can use the  Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in to set up users, using the Add Users and Computers wizard is preferred because it does more and is easier to use when you set up a lot of users.


SBS 2003 comes with a built-in monitoring components that you can set up by using the "Set up Monitoring Reports and Alerts" wizard.

The reports can show you both how your installed server is used and what errors are encountered and is useful to show you bosses what the server is doing.


Once you understand the logic of SBS 2003 installation they can run smoothly and quickly so you could enjoy the many features this worthy package has to offer.