Exchange 2000 Forest Preparation Error

Can't prep the forest for the trees.

Bill, I'd appreciate if you could advise me. I logged in as a Domain Administrator to install Exchange 2000 to the first Windows 2000 domain controller with DNS, NNTP, SMTP and Remote Registry services installed. This error appeared after I clicked the Install button via the Exchange 2000 component wizard:

The component "Microsoft Exchange Forest Preparation" cannot
be assigned the action "Install" because: Either you do not
have permission to update the AD schema or AD service is
currently too busy.


Toh, You didn't say how many domains you have in your forest. ForestPrep modifies the Active Directory schema, which requires several permissions in the forest root domain (the first domain installed in the forest). If you do have multiple domains, you can log on as the Domain Administrator in the forest root domain, then run Setup /ForestPrep. If you do not have that level of authority in your organization, you can have someone with admin rights in the root domain add your account to the following groups:

  • Schema Admins group
  • Enterprise Admins group

You'll also need local admin privileges on the server on which you're installing Exchange.

If you have only one domain, it is the forest root domain by default. In that case, if you are logged on with your own account that has membership in the Domain Admins group, you'll need to add yourself to the Schema Admins group before running ForestPrep.

If you have one domain and you are logged on with the actual Administrator account from the domain and you still get the error, then make sure the domain controller that owns the Schema Master token is available. The simplest way to find the identity of this server is to run DUMPFSMOS from the Windows 2000 Resource Kit. You can also load the Schema snap-in into an empty MMC, right-click the Schema container, and select Operations Master from the property menu. You won't see the Schema snap-in until you register the snap-in DLL, located in %systemroot%\System32\schmmgmt.dll. Register with the syntax:

regsvr32 schmmgmt.dll

If the Schema master is alive and kicking, check to see if someone has changed the default group membership of the Administrator account.

Once you're done with ForestPrep, you'll need to run DomainPrep. This only requires admin privileges in the domain.

The schema modification permissions are also required to install the Active Directory Connector (ADC) that comes with Exchange 2000. If you have Exchange 5.5 servers already installed, you'll need to install the ADC first the run ForestPrep. This requires two sets of modifications to the schema.

Exchange Server 2003 installs the same schema changes for ADC and ForestPrep, so you only need to modify the schema once.

Hope that helps!


About the Author

Contributing Editor Bill Boswell, MCSE, is the principal of Bill Boswell Consulting, Inc. He's the author of Inside Windows Server 2003 and Learning Exchange Server 2003 both from Addison Wesley. Bill is also Redmond magazine's "Windows Insider" columnist and a speaker at MCP Magazine's TechMentor Conferences.


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