Tony Redmond's Exchange Unwashed Blog

May 7, 2013

The curious lack of Exchange 2013 hardware planning tools

Exchange 2010 has a great mailbox server role calculator available to help plan server configurations. Yet eight months after its release, Microsoft still has not updated its tools to support Exchange 2013. What's going on and why might this be so? Perhaps it's the nature of the changes that have been made to Exchange 2013. What's for sure is that you will need to equip servers with more memory......More
May 2, 2013

Exchange Connections - Calling all speakers

Las Vegas in October - conference time again. But with a difference - Exchange Connections is back and it's going to be packed with insightful and practical information about Exchange and its surrounding ecosystem. Opportunities exist for speakers and you can submit session ideas until May 14. It should be great fun!...More
Apr 30, 2013

Why Exchange 2013 asks you to restart the Information Store after creating a new database 4

You might be surprised when the Exchange Administration Center or the Exchange Management Shell prompt to restart the Information Store service after you create a new mailbox database. It's a side effect of the new memory management model used by Exchange 2013's Managed Store....More
Apr 25, 2013

MRMAPI, the Little Brother of MFCMAPI 2

You've probably heard of MFCMAPI, a very useful program in the hands of any administrator who wants to learn just what's stored in an Exchange mailbox. MRMAPI is less well known, but it is also pretty useful for other reasons....More
Apr 23, 2013

First tests of Exchange 2013 on Azure point to the future? 2

The first test deployments of Exchange 2013 on Windows Azure makes you think about just how far we have come with virtualized Exchange in the last eight years or so. And where we might be heading......More
Apr 18, 2013

Microsoft and Google War Over First Ajax Webmail

Google claims they were the first webmail client based on Ajax but Microsoft's Outlook Web Access was Ajax-based in Exchange 2003. But the competition has moved the state of email far in a short time....More
Apr 16, 2013

Blocking OWA access for a user is a problem for Exchange 2013 CU1 2

Some people like to track the stream of knowledge base articles as they are released by Microsoft. I do not, possibly because there always seems to be better things to do such as write blog entries. So I am grateful to those of you who pointed out KB2835562, otherwise known as “You can't disable Outlook Web App (OWA) access for users in Office 365 or on-premises Exchange Server”....More
Apr 11, 2013

Individual fix for Exchange soft delete problem proves worth of support contracts 4

Microsoft now has individual fixes for the soft-delete bug that affects Outlook clients configured in online mode for certain items that contain voicemail or PDF attachments. The fixes are only available to customers who have support contracts, proving once again that support contracts are a necessity for most companies that use Exchange....More
Apr 9, 2013

Microsoft announces MEC 2014 will be in Austin

Building on their original teaser that announced the next iteration of the Microsoft Exchange Conference (MEC) would be held in 2014 rather than a year after last September's event in Orlando, Microsoft has revealed that the location of the next MEC will be Austin, Texas from March 31 to April 2, 2014....More
Apr 9, 2013

Managing groups with groups in Exchange 2013 CU1

  One of the small but very welcome changes made in Exchange 2013 CU1 is the reintroduction of support for “groups managing groups”. This feature was supported in previous versions of Exchange but was removed in Exchange 2010. Microsoft published some workarounds to help companies migrating to Exchange 2010 cope with the problem. The net effect was a real mess....More
Apr 4, 2013

Installing Exchange 2013 CU1 on DAG member servers - some care and maintenance mode required 3

Installing a cumulative update for Exchange 2013 can't be all that difficult - or can it? Well, it depends if mailbox servers are deployed inside a Database Availability Group. If they are, then you have to take some more care because DAG members need to be put into maintenance mode before they are upgraded as otherwise Exchange's Managed Availability system will get upset......More
Apr 2, 2013

Exchange 2013 CU1: The software that RTM could have been 1

  The first cumulative update for Exchange 2013 (CU1) has arrived. The new release can be installed using a “build to build” (B2B) upgrade if you already have Exchange 2013 RTM in place. Otherwise you can simply install Exchange 2013 CU1 and use it as your starting point for Exchange 2013. An Active Directory schema update is required to support Exchange 2013 CU1. This is a different version to the schema update released with Exchange 2010 SP3....More
Mar 28, 2013

Microsoft replaces OCAT with OffCAT (Office Configuration Analysis Tool) 1

After proving that analyzing and comparing Outlook's configuration on a PC against "well-known" problems and other issues with OCAT, the same team produces OffCAT, which can now analyze and tell you what's wrong (or potentially wrong) with Access, Word, PowerPoint and Excel as well as Outlook. Sounds good... and it does work!...More
Mar 26, 2013

Preserving mailboxes when employees leave

If employees leave your company, you should think about preserving the content held in their mailboxes. You might just be glad that you do this if your company becomes liable to legal discovery. Then again, it can be argued that deleting mailboxes immediately solves the problem... until you're forced to restore the mailboxes from backup by the legal department. So here's a discussion about some practical steps to help with the problem of what to do with those pesky mailboxes....More
Mar 21, 2013

101 Exchange Web Services code examples

The recent provision of 101 Exchange Web Services (EWS) code samples in one package is very welcome. The samples cover pretty well all of the basic operations that you’d want to perform against an Exchange server, including the creation and sending of email, searching through folders, and so on....More
Mar 19, 2013

Exchange 2010 Discovery Searches: What about users who leave?

As you probably know, Microsoft has made quite a big fuss about the compliance features that they have incorporated into Exchange 2010 and extended further in Exchange 2013. It’s fair to acknowledge the progress that has been made in this area through the addition of features such as archive mailboxes, retention policies and tags, litigation and retention hold, enhancements to the “dumpster”, and the provision of a discovery search capability....More
Mar 14, 2013

Why Exchange Online hates journal mailboxes 6

Microsoft positions Office 365 as being capable of servicing the needs of even the largest businesses and offers proof points such as the recent announcement that Microsoft and HP will work together to move 600,000 users of the U.S. Veterans Administration to the cloud. All good stuff and I’m sure that the VA will enjoy using Office 365 over the five-year contract term. But not every customer finds the same joy in Office 365....More
Mar 12, 2013

EDA, PinPoint DNS, and a chat about Exchange 2013

The release of updates for the Microsoft Exchange Deployment Assistant (EDA) to cater for the latest versions of Exchange 2010 and Exchange 2007 and the changing technical landscape (all explained in the EHLO blog) is very welcome. Generally I am a big fan of anything that helps to guide the deployment of technology in an intelligent manner and it’s good that Microsoft devotes the necessary resources to keep EDA updated....More
Mar 7, 2013

The Exchange Reports Codeplex Project

I received some interesting comments after writing about the loss of the Messaging Tracking Explorer (MTE) in Exchange 2013. Some people felt that it was absolutely fine to junk MTE as the utility was long since passed its best-sell-by date and PowerShell is much more powerful and flexible when it comes to extracting information from message tracking logs. Others believe that many administrators haven’t quite steeled themselves to mess with PowerShell and will regret the passing of a utility that provides a graphical user interface to following the path of messages as they wend their way through Exchange’s transport system. Both sides are quite correct. Of course, the Get-MessageTrackingLog cmdlet is very powerful and does a great job of extracting information from message tracking logs. In the right hands, Get-MessageTrackingLog is faster and more precise than MTE. But that’s like saying that a violin produces great music, if only you know how to play it. The point being that if you don’t know how to use the Exchange Management Shell (EMS) and are unfamiliar with the way that PowerShell behaves, knowing that the Get-MessageTrackingLog cmdlet exists is not very productive when you have to find out whether a message was processed correctly. Which brings me to Exchange Reports, a Codeplex project dedicated to helping Exchange administrators extract information from various sources more easily than they can through EMS, including the interpretation of message tracking logs. Various other reports are included including distribution groups and mailboxes, all of which are produced rather more easily than if you had to code the PowerShell yourself. I ran the reports against Exchange 2013 on Windows 2012 servers, but it also supports reporting against Exchange 2010 and Exchange Online in Office 365. Of course, other reports exist that can be downloaded to make it easier to manage Exchange servers. My two personal favourites in this respect are Steve Goodman’s Exchange...More
Feb 28, 2013

The loss of the Message Tracking Log Explorer and the denuded Exchange 2013 Toolbox

The Exchange toolbox has always been a loose collection of utility programs gathered from the highways and byways within Microsoft. Some of the utilities come from the Exchange development group, and some, including the extremely useful Remote Connectivity Analyzer (ExRCA) are developed by people who aren’t part of the product group. It seems like the general rush in Exchange 2013 to drop everything related to the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) framework and embrace the browser paradigm for management in the form of the Exchange Management Center (EAC) has caused a clear-out of the toolbox, which now boasts just three entries (see below) instead of the twelve provided with Exchange 2010. Dropping MMC wherever possible seems like a really good idea, especially in view of the fact that MMC caused some problems for Exchange 2010 SP1 last year. Of course, the move to EAC was well under way by then as it builds on the principles established by the Exchange 2010 Control Panel (ECP) and Exchange 2013 was ramping up for its beta versions and I doubt that anyone in the Exchange team shed any tears at the demise of MMC. It’s understandable that the reason to drop some of the utilities is “progress”. For example, it probably does not make much sense to continue shipping the public folder management console when a) it’s built on MMC and b) Microsoft would really like any of you who use public folders to try their super-duper modern versions, which can be managed through EAC. Of course, during the migration process you can continue to use the public folder management console on an Exchange 2010 server or a workstation where you have installed the Exchange 2010 management tools. Other utilities, such as the RBAC editor and delivery reports (aka message tracking), are now part of EAC. However, one big change – and one that removes quite a lot of value – is that the Message Tracking Log Explorer (MTE) is dropped. I can’t quite think of a good reason why this decision was t...More
What's Tony Redmond's Exchange Unwashed Blog?

On-premises and cloud-based Microsoft Exchange Server and all the associated technology that runs alongside Microsoft's enterprise messaging server.


Tony Redmond

Tony Redmond is a senior contributing editor for Windows IT Pro and the author of Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 Inside Out (Microsoft Press) and Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 Inside Out: Mailbox...
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