Exchange Hybrid License

Free Exchange Hybrid License

If you have migrated all your mailboxes to Exchange Online, you have probably realized by now that you still need to manage a lot of attributes in your on-premises AD.

One way to manage on-premises AD mail attributes is by using an on-premises Exchange Server.

Microsoft provides a free Exchange hybrid license that you can use on your last on-premises Exchange Server. This article will show you how to license it.

Free Exchange Hybrid License Doesn’t Mean Free

Before you get all excited, consider the following costs of running an on-premises Exchange Server to manage email attributes:

  • Operating System license.
  • Hardware/VM resources.
  • Power.
  • Time spent patching, monitoring, securing, and troubleshooting.
  • Third-party software licenses for AV, backup, and monitoring.
  • The potential cost of being hit by zero-day exploits (of which many specifically target Exchange on-premises).

Suppose your helpdesk team is happy performing daily support using PowerShell instead of a GUI(!). In that case, you should consider upgrading to Exchange 2019 CU12 or later, taking it offline, and using the Exchange Management Tools.

You’ll find details on how to do this here.

Realistically, the cost of hiring PowerShell gurus for first-level support is unacceptable for most organizations.

Replace Exchange On-Premises With Easy365Manager

Many companies are looking to third-party tools to eliminate their on-premises Exchange Server.

Easy365Manager is a unique solution with several benefits:

  • Allows for the removal of Exchange On-Premises.
  • Eliminates the need to log in to the many Office 365 web consoles.
  • Enables first-level supporters to perform complex tasks that otherwise can only be solved using PowerShell.

The implementation is straightforward as Easy365Manager is a simple .dll extension to AD Users & Computers:

  • No infrastructure changes are needed.
  • No changes to authentication or permissions (uses standard OAuth2)
  • Zero learning curve (first-level supporters are already familiar with AD Users & Computers).

With the two new tabs in user properties, Easy365Manager enables your helpdesk to perform complex tasks like calendar delegation easily:

To many admins, this sounds almost too good to be true. Fortunately, it isn’t.

You can run the 30-day trial in parallel with your on-premises Exchange Server to experience the many benefits first-hand.

How to License Exchange On-Premises for Free

If you decide to keep your on-premises Exchange Server, you can activate a free license by following these steps:

  1. Download the Hybrid Configuration Wizard (HCW).
  2. Run HCW on the On-Premises Exchange Server.
  3. Generate a license for the server.
  4. Verify the Exchange On-Premises Server is licensed.

These steps are described in more detail below.

1. Download the Hybrid Configuration Wizard (HCW)

You can grab the HCW executable directly from Microsoft using the following link:

Open the link from your Exchange on-premises server.

In some cases, you may see the following looping error message:

Hybrid Configuration Wizard (HCW) open error

To fix this, you must associate the file type .application to ClickOnce Application Deployment.

Open Settings, click on System, select Default Apps, and click on Choose default apps by file type:

Application settings, default file associations

Then find the .application file type and associate it with ClickOnce Application Deployment:

Application settings, default file associations

Then go back to your browser and open up to run the Hybrid Configuration Wizard.

2. Run HCW on the On-Premises Exchange Server

When the Hybrid Configuration Wizard starts, select Install and Next until you get to the main installation screen:

Hybrid Configuration Wizard, installation

Click Next and allow a few seconds for HCW to collect information about your setup.

3. Generate a license for the server

In the following screen, you can generate your free license for Exchange on-premises.

Click on “license this server now” to generate and apply the license:

Hybrid Configuration Wizard, installation

When the license has been generated and applied, you can copy it to safe storage in case you need it in the future:

Hybrid Configuration Wizard, installation

4. Verify the Exchange On-Premises Server is licensed

With the licensing taken care of, you can exit the HCW wizard.

Your final step is to verify that your on-premises Exchange Server recognizes the license key:

Exchange on-premises licensing

For more information on how you can:

  • Eliminate the need for on-premises Exchange Server, and
  • Perform all daily hybrid Office 365 management from the comfort of AD Users & Computers