How to Prepare AD for Exchange 2013 Server Install in Hybrid Deployment

If you have a current Exchange 2010/Office 365 hybrid deployment with  you may want to consider adding at least one Exchange 2013 server. Microsoft will provide you with one for free, but disallows hosting mailboxes on the Exchange 2013 server with the complimentary license. Read about how to get your free Exchange 2013 license here.

office 365

Preparing Active Directory for a hybrid configuration is a slightly different than a non-hybrid configuration. Follow these comprehensive steps for a quick solution to prepare your Active Directory for installing Exchange 2013 Server on-prem when you have a pre-existing hybrid deployment in your organization.

First objective is to get an XML file with your hybrid configuration information. To obtain the configuration files, open Azure Active Directory Module for Windows PowerShell.

  • If you need the module, use the link above, download the 32-bit or 64-bit version and install it on a domain joined computer or server.

Log into a domain controller (DC) and create a folder on the C drive named “a” just to keep it simple. Open elevated session in Azure Active Directory Module for Windows PowerShell (Run as Administrator).

run as

Connect to Azure AD using commands below, cut and paste all at once and when the windows pops up enter global admin account credentials for your 365 tenant.

$LiveCred = Get-Credential
$Session = New-PSSession -ConfigurationName Microsoft.Exchange -ConnectionUri -Credential $LiveCred -Authentication Basic -AllowRedirection
Import-PSSession $Session

powershell creds

ps 2

Once connected you need to obtain the XML config file, enter this command:

Get-OrganizationConfig | Export-Clixml -Path c:\a\MyTenantOrganizationConfig.XML

If it doesn’t work you are either not connected to Azure AD or you didn’t create a folder in your C drive called “a” for the file to be placed in. Once you have it figured out continue.

  • Warning you will not be able to install any new Exchange 2007 Servers in your environment after following the next steps.

Download and unzip the Exchange 2013 installation files. I placed them in a folder called “ex 2013 install” on the C drive of the DC but you can call the folder whatever you want.

After verifying that the XML file is in the “a” folder on your C drive, open an elevated session of PowerShell and run this command to prepare your AD.

.\setup /PrepareAD /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms /TenantOrganizationConfig c:\a\MyTenantOrganizationConfig.XML


After the preparation is completed on the DC, login to the server you intend to install Exchange Server 2013 on and continue your installation.


Read about how to get your free Exchange 2013 license here.