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Improve Exchange 2007 MC Performance - Use Windows XP

If you have used Exchange 2007 for anything more than 2 minutes, you will quickly notice that the performance of the Exchange Management Console (EMC) is very poor - no matter how much memory or processing power you have on your server.

While moving content on the blog, I was reminded of a post where I linked to an announcement about the Exchange 2003 management tools being made available for 32 bit OS. ( This reminded me that I had a virtual machine with the management tools installed. Having just updated my main Exchange 2007 server to SP1, I decided to update that virtual machine as well with the 32 bit service pack. Imagine my surprise when I started the tools to find that they started much quicker than on my server. Checking other Exchange 2007 servers (include a quad processor with 8gb of RAM) I found that it still loaded quicker on this low spec virtual machine.

The Exchange Management Shell also seems to load quicker on a Windows XP machine. However that does mean you have to specify the Exchange server that you are using when you run any PowerShell commands for Exchange. If you are on a single server site then the quickest way I have found to do this is to start the commands with "get-<server role> |" then the rest of the command as normal. For example "get-mailboxserver | get-mailboxstatistics"
Replace mailboxserver with the role that you are working on. 

To install the tools on to a Windows XP machine, download the 32 bit version of Exchange 2007 Service Pack 1.

You will also need to install the base IIS components (not SMTP though) and some additional downloads including MMC 3.0, PowerShell 1.0 and net framework 2.0 if you haven't already installed it.

After installing the net framework, run Microsoft Update to ensure that you have the required updates. If you don't, then the Exchange 2007 setup will prompt you to install the update before you can install the management tools.

When it comes to the actual installation, carry out a custom install and choose the Management Tools only.

If your Exchange server has plenty of resources, and you have the licenses to do so, then rather than installing the Management Tools on to your own workstation, you could use a Windows XP virtual machine which is stored on the Exchange server. This is particularly useful if you are using the best practises for permissions have separate Administration and User accounts. If you usually access your Exchange server using RDP, then enable remote desktop on the virtual machine Windows XP installation and then connect to it directly. As it is stored on the server, it will always be available to you.

Links to Downloads Required

Exchange 2007 SP1:
MMC 3.0:
PowerShell 1.0:
.net Framework 2.0:

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