Thursday, August 03, 2006

The Virtual Direct Push Setup (VDPS part 1)

The Virtual Direct Push Setup (VDPS part 1)!

Hello there... The following article will try to explain an easy way to setup a virtual environment for you to test out the Exchange 2003 SP2 & Windows Mobile 5.0 Feature Pack features... Without buying any hardware like servers, mobile phones/PDA's etc... Sounds nice, right?

You will have to be able to install several products and components your self (Virtual PC 2004, Windows Server 2003 + Exchange Server 2003 and a few other products)

What do I need to make it happen?
Well, you need a pretty good computer (laptop or stationary) with at least 1 GB memory - that is at least what I prefer as a minimum. The CPU should not be less that 2 GHz. You will also need some GB's on you hard drive - could be an external USB 2.0 drive without any problems.

The computer must have a version of Windows XP running - personally I'm running Windows XP SP2 on an IBM Thinkpad T43 with 2GB. I was only able to find the host operating system in a free trial for the 64 bit platforms: (550 MB) - but if you haven't got XP running you must be a "Microsoft Hater" anyway, bye bye ;-)

What do I need to download - the basics?
"Microsoft Virtual PC 2004 SP1" it is completely free (thanx Microsoft): (18.2 MB)
- Note: the "better" product from Microsoft "Virtual Server 2005 R2 Enterprise" is also available at no cost what so ever - but I haven't tested the network drivers on that platform so that's why I recommend VPC right now.

"Microsoft Windows Server 2003 SP1 or R2" (32 bit) is available in a 180 day trial: Get the trial version here (
566 MB + 120 MB is you choose R2, but not necessary for the VDPS to run)

"Microsoft Exchange 2003 Standard or Enterprise Edition" is available in a 120 day trial edition: (120 MB)

"Service Pack 2 for Exchange Server 2003" must be downloaded and installed: Download available here (109.7 MB)

"The usual updates...." - well, just in case you didn't know - you should update your Windows platform and Exchange with the latest hotfixes/updates after installation.

What do I need to download - the cool stuff?
"Microsoft Exchange Server ActiveSync Web Administration Tool" is available here: (320 KB)

"Virtual Machine Network Driver for Microsoft Device Emulator" is available here: (336 KB)

"Standalone Device Emulator 1.0 with Windows Mobile OS Images" is available here: (download "" + "efp.msi" = 58 MB)

"Sysinternals NewSID" is available here: (51 KB)

Please note that the above links may be subject to change, but I trust you ability to Google - please send me some info if/when a link is broken...

I'm ready - everything is downloaded now!
Nice job :)

Now, first you must install your host operating system on you computer if this is not already done... Hopefully you have a system up and running already. Then you should install Microsoft Virtual PC 2004 SP1 on top of your host OS.

I can't explain the way VPC works right here, sorry - but from here you must install the first Virtual Machine (VM) - min. 256 MB memory - this would be the Windows Server 2003 SP1. The two VM we will create here both use the "Local only" NIC - disable sound - and enable "Undo discs" whenever you get scared of messing up stuff :) Please remember to install the Virtual Machine Additions at this point for your own convenience.

Update the OS using "Windows Update" (or even better install "Microsoft Update" - with MU you will be able to update your Exchange installation when we get so far).

When you have a good VM server up and running close down the VM and make a backup of the Virtual hard drive - save this backup in a safe place :)

Now set up the virtual server as a Domain Controller (static IP, name like "DC", DNS server & DCPROMO - you could just use the "role" wizard) - when the DC is done we want to create the Exchange server. I prefer to have the Exchange server on it's own box (never on a DC) - not even in a test environment, hehe - that is why we create 2 VMs, if you want to try VDPS on a single box feel free to try it out on your own. Close down the DC while we prepare the Exchange server.

Copy the backup you created of the VMs hard drive and use this in a new VPC (min. 512 MB).

Before booting this new VM the first time edit the MAC address in the .VMC file (check the location of your VM) - find the MAC address in the line stating something like "ethernet_card_address" etc. and edit (using Notepad) the address to another random 12 digit HEX value.

Now boot the VM. When this OS is up and running you should run the NewSID tool from Sysinternals - choose to generate a new random SID and rename the computer to something like "EXCH" or whatever you like. Reboot as required. This tool is used instead of SYSPREP - NewSID is much faster and work great.

Well - when the server is up and running join it to the domain (remember to set static IP info first - DNS should point to the DC, which should be bootet of course). Reboot and logon as domain administrator - start the Exchange installation (including FORESTPREP, DOMAINPREP, restart etc.). Install Exchange SP2 when possible, update the server (you could use "Microsoft Update" as mentioned) and be sure to test the server functionality - easy by using Outlook Web Access (OWA).

When satisfied install Exchange Management Tools on the DC also.

You should now have the following virtual domain scenario:
1. A Windows Server 2003 SP1 DC running DNS and Active Directory (with Exchange tools installed)
2. An Exchange Server 2003 SP2 up and running nicely (with OWA)

We should now be ready to go to VDPS part 2 :)
Go to part 2: