More in Exchange Server 2007

  • Apr 25, 2013
    blog

    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 18, 2013
    blog

    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
  • Feb 12, 2013
    blog

    Exchange 2010 SP3 is released - almost ready for Exchange 2013 deployments

    At last, the chocks have been released and the runway is almost clear for Exchange 2013 deployment. The missing places that have stopped existing customers introducing Exchange 2013 into their environment have been provided with the release of: Exchange 2010 SP3 Exchange 2007 SP3 RU10...More
  • Feb 7, 2013
    blog

    Touchdown—a solution for BYOD email?

    Loss of control over the software run to connect to corporate services is just one of the issues for companies that’s exposed by the BYOD craze. Given the range of devices that people use, it’s practically impossible for administrators and help desk personnel to know the details of the applications that connect....More
  • Oct 11, 2012
    blog

    Expiring digital signatures and rereleased updates

    A reasonable amount of confusion appears to have arisen after Microsoft re-released the latest roll-up updates for Exchange 2007 SP3 and Exchange 2010 SP1 and SP2 on October 9. Only one piece of additional functionality is included in the new software (KB2756987, a fix that ensures the correct search results are provided to Outlook 2010 and Outlook 2013 clients), so it’s not the case that Microsoft suddenly discovered some lingering bug or horrible problem that they had distributed in error in the original releases....More
  • Sep 6, 2012
    blog

    The Implications of Outlook 2013 Changing OST Cache Behavior 2

    When I wrote about my initial experiences of Outlook 2013 Preview on July 24, I remarked that the installation of Outlook 2013 forced a recreation of my Offline Storage file (OST). The new OST was much smaller than the older version used by Outlook 2010, a fact that seemed to be a good thing at the time even if the creation of OSTs en masse might generate a resource consumption problem for servers if you deployed Outlook 2013 to multiple users at one time....More
  • Aug 23, 2012
    blog

    The Basic Impossibility of Renaming an Exchange Server 2

    Because we’re all skilled computer professionals who have carefully considered a suitable computer naming convention before deploying any server into production, I can’t think of good reasons why anyone would ever want to rename an Exchange server. On the other hand, I can think of some pretty bad reasons for wanting to rename a server such as wishing to update all names following a corporate merger or as part of a rebranding exercise launched by the marketing department....More
  • Jul 26, 2012
    blog

    Workcycles and the Managed Folder Assistant (MFA)

    The Managed Folder Assistant (MFA) debuted in Exchange 2007 as part of Microsoft’s first attempt to introduce a subsystem called Messaging Records Management (MRM) intended to help users retain information that might be required for purposes such as audits and administrators impose some control over folders in terms of how long items could be retained. MFA is the component that imposed the control by implementing whatever policies are created by administrators and assigned to mailboxes....More
  • Feb 21, 2012
    blog

    OCAT: Microsoft's Outlook Configuration Analysis tool

    Following up on my recent articles covering the MFCMAPI and EWSEditor tools, both of which help administrators gain an insight into mailbox contents, I note that Microsoft has released the Outlook Configuration Analyzer Tool (OCAT), another program to help administrators. In this case, OCAT is designed to scan a PC and gather details from Outlook profiles and registry entries to pick up any inconsistencies or potential issues that might cause problems when Outlook 2007 or 2010 clients connect to Exchange. OCAT looks very like the Exchange Best Practice Analyzer (ExBPA) that’s been around for several versions of Exchange and was written by two Microsoft support engineers to help address what they perceived as a gap in the support infrastructure – how to extract reliable information from a PC running Outlook that can then be used as the basis for troubleshooting problems. Although OCAT comes with “as-is” (no) support, you can send problem reports to the OCAT development team at OCATsupp@microsoft.com . A Twitter feed is available to broadcast news of OCAT updates. Obviously the OCAT team had to make some tough choices when they developed the tool, one of which was to exclude Outlook 2003 from the supported versions (an error message is generated if you attempt to run OCAT on a PC with Outlook 2003). This is a pity because Outlook 2003 is still in use in many large Exchange deployments. You’ll need to have .NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack 1 installed on a PC before OCAT can be installed. Windows XP SP3, Vista SP2, and Windows 7 are the supported client platforms. Once installed (a matter of just a few minutes), running OCAT is simple. First, make sure that Outlook is running and then start OCAT. At the home screen, opt to create a new scan, give it a name, and start. The time required for a scan depends on the complexity of the profile being analyzed (for example, how many accounts, mailboxes, and archive mailboxes are opened), the version of Outlook that’s install...More
  • Feb 16, 2012
    blog

    PST Capture: Congratulations and some caveats from Transvault's CTO

    In addition to the welcome extended by many, the much-heralded and long-delayed arrival of Microsoft’s PST Capture tool was always likely to generate comment from the software vendors who already have offerings to help companies control the spread of dreaded PSTs. It therefore came as no surprise to see Dan Clark, the CTO of Transvault Software, post some notes about PSTs in general as well as the limitations he sees in PST Capture on the Transvault blog. I’m sure that the “congratulations” echoed by Dan in opening his piece reflects the satisfaction that the software vendors in this space feel now that Microsoft has implicitly affirmed that companies do have a problem dealing with PSTs. After all, once Microsoft publishes a solution, there must be a problem for it to solve....More
  • Feb 2, 2012
    blog

    Learn about Microsoft Certified Master accreditation 1

    Microsoft has scheduled a one-hour overview on Wednesday, February 15 at 9AM Pacific to brief interested parties in the training that leads to Microsoft Certified Master (MCM) accreditation in Exchange 2010. You can view details about the briefing and register on Microsoft’s web site. In November 2011, I wrote about the economics involved in committing yourself to the three-week intense training that leads to MCM accreditation. If you can raise the finance or justify the expense to your management, there’s no doubt that this training will lead to a sharp increase in your knowledge of Exchange 2010 and potentially, if you succeed in the demanding exams, to membership of an exclusive group who have a tight connection with the development group. Although there were some complaints about the stress that trainees were put under in early iterations of MCM training, more recent reaction seems to be very positive, albeit with the caveat that you very much have to prepare properly to be able to deal with the information fire hose, extended hours, homework, and exams. I understand that Microsoft has reviewed the material covered in MCM and now include more Office 365 content, especially in the area of interoperability. I think that this is wise because on-premises/cloud hybrid configurations are likely to become very common in the medium to large enterprise space over the next few years. It also reflects the engineering direction for Exchange with more work currently being done to support Office 365 than the on-premises variant. This overview should be very interesting if you’ve been thinking about going for MCM accreditation. The more knowledge you have, the better a decision you’ll make – and the better a case you’ll be able to construct to bring to management to secure those all-important budget dollars to fund three weeks in sunny (or snowy, but more likely rainy) Redmond....More
  • Dec 29, 2011
    blog

    Reporting Exchange Server 2010 Client Access Licenses 1

    Exchange Server requires customers to purchase two types of licenses, server and client. There seems to be some doubt about how these licenses work. Let me see if I can cast some light onto the topic. Exchange servers start off in an unlicensed state after software is installed on a computer. This allows servers to be used in test or trial deployments. When you put servers in production, you have to purchase a license for every server that you have in the organization and enter the 25-character license key through the Exchange Management Console (EMC) or Exchange Management Shell (EMS) using the Set-ExchangeServer cmdlet....More
  • Dec 27, 2011
    blog

    Learning how to master PowerShell with Exchange as your tutor

    A recent survey in the Exchange and Outlook Update revealed that 16% of the respondents said that PowerShell remained a complete mystery to them no matter how hard they tried to master the topic. Hmmm… that’s not a good situation for any Exchange administrator to find themselves in because PowerShell, whether you personally think it is a good idea or not, is at the heart of all on-premises Exchange administration tools – EMC, EMS, ECP, and Setup. And the same is true if you take care of Exchange Online in Office 365. Exchange 2010 includes three different ways for administrators to learn PowerShell from the commands that it executes to perform different tasks. You can pick up some excellent tips about the syntax and usage of commands through these sources. Even better, you can cut and paste the code to form the basis of scripts that you then use to automate common administrative processes. First up there’s the code that EMC displays after it runs one of its many wizards. The screen below shows the code used to move a mailbox from one database to another with the New-MoveRequest cmdlet. You can see the invitation to press CTRL+C to copy the code. This facility is also available in the Exchange 2007 version of EMC. Next, there’s the neat feature that Microsoft added to EMC in Exchange 2010. If you access the property pages of an object such as a mailbox and make a change, a little PowerShell symbol in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen lights up. If you press the symbol, another window appears to show you the code that EMC will execute if you subsequently press the OK or “Apply” buttons. In other words, this is the code that is used to make the change that you’ve just requested. In the screen below the Set-Mailbox cmdlet will be run to update some attributes of a user mailbox. Again, you can highlight the code and use CTRL+C to copy it for further use. Last, Microsoft also added PowerShell logging to the Exchange 2010 EMC. This means that every singl...More
  • Dec 1, 2011
    blog

    The futility of attempting to recall a message

    A recent tweet by Brian Winstead exclaimed “Didn't mean to send that. Don’t worry, With Outlook 2010, you can recall a message after it’s sent” and pointed to the Office web page that explained all. Of course, Exchange clients have been able to recall messages for a long time – I believe it was one of the features of the Outlook 97 release – but in any case attempting to recall a message has long been an exercise in sheer futility. Here’s why. It’s logical that time is critical when it comes to preventing a recipient having the opportunity to read a message that we wish they don’t see. After all, the longer a message resides in the recipient’s Inbox, the more opportunity he or she has to read the blessed thing and expose the reason why we wanted to recall the message in the first place. The first barrier to recalling a message is Outlook’s user interface. People don’t generally recall a lot of messages (if they do, perhaps they have another problem) so it’s unlikely that the average user will immediately know what option to take (or where it is located) to recall a message....More
  • Oct 17, 2011
    blog

    IE9 finally fixes the bug that messed up Exchange Management Console

    Microsoft has announced that the Internet Explorer (IE) development group has fixed the bug that caused the Microsoft Management Console (MMC)-based Exchange Management Console (EMC) to fail to close because “a dialog was still open”. The fix is reported on the Exchange development group (EHLO) blog and states: In order to install the fix, a released version of IE9 needs to be installed on the machine first. Then: MS11-081: Cumulative Security Update for Internet Explorer: October 11, 2011 needs to be installed. This can be obtained from Windows Update or - if you need to download it for local network installation, the packages can be obtained here. Please note that the packages for client and server OSes might be different, depending on what you need. The installation of this package is REQUIRED for proper operation of the EMC hotfix. In order to obtain the actual hotfix that resolves the interoperability problem with EMC, you will need to call Microsoft support and request a hotfix. The hotfix package is currently not available for public download, but can be obtained from support engineers, who can get it from internal hotfix servers. When you talk to support, the hotfix that you need to request is for the KB 2624899. Please note that this article is not publicly available at this time either. In truth, the bug was irritating rather than serious. It became more serious as irritation grew because Microsoft couldn’t get their act together between the IE, MMC, and Exchange groups to figure out who owned the bug and what they would do to fix it. The problem was first reported in April 2011 yet nothing seemed to be done to advance towards a fix until some of us started to complain more publicly about the issue. My first sally into the topic was on August 17 but many others, most notably MVP Jeff Guillet took up the fight to get Microsoft to do the right thing. On September 14, I published an update to report that some light had appeared at the end of the t...More
  • Sep 26, 2011
    blog

    The Joy of PowerShell for Exchange Administrators 7

    My recent post outlining how important PowerShell is to Microsoft Exchange Server and how some of the concepts established in the implementation of Remote PowerShell in Exchange 2010 are finding their way into Windows Server 8 provoked a flurry of email messages, some of which posed the excellent question, “I’m struggling to master (or even understand) PowerShell; how do I make progress?”...More
  • Sep 22, 2011
    blog

    PowerShell: the gift that keeps on giving to Exchange 6

    When reading the list of speakers for the Fall 2011 Exchange Connections conference, I was impressed to see Jeffrey Snover on the list of speakers who will deliver a keynote session. For those who are unfamiliar with his name, Jeffrey is the father of PowerShell and is therefore someone who has made a huge and important contribution to Exchange, albeit indirectly. His keynote should be worth the admission price alone. I realize that many of you who work with Exchange might not share my enthusiasm for PowerShell. After all, isn’t it just revisiting the command-line past, something that makes one think that you’re coping with the piping and scripting beloved of UNIX and Linux geeks? Well, the command-line nature of PowerShell is there for all to see and PowerShell is awfully fond of piping (and gets a lot of its power from this ability) and there’s no doubt that scripting is something that PowerShell devotees spend a lot of their time discussing, but all of this is missing the point. The reason why I think PowerShell has made such a contribution to Exchange, including Exchange Online in Office 365, is simple: it provides the ability to automate common administrative tasks quickly, simply, and accurately in a way that even the best-designed GUI-based management console will never be able to do. In addition, the Exchange development group took the fundamental decision from Exchange 2007 onwards to encapsulate the business logic that drives the product around what is now a very large set of well over 600 PowerShell cmdlets. This was a stunning and far-reaching decision that no other major Microsoft server product emulated for several years. Indeed, it’s only relatively recently that elements of Windows Server such as Active Directory have supported similar access via PowerShell (the TechNet articles on the topic are dated from February 2009).  In passing, let me say that “cmdlet” is one of my least favorite technical terms. I find it to be neither fish nor foul...More
  • Sep 18, 2011
    blog

    Be there or be square: Come to Exchange Connections and have a great time!

    There’s lots of new stuff to talk about at the Fall 2011 Exchange Connections conference in Las Vegas (Oct 31-Nov 3). Since the last conference we’ve seen the launch of Office 365 and a steady growth in interest from companies who have either started to use Microsoft’s cloud platform or are planning a migration from on-premises Exchange. Microsoft is also busy preparing Service Pack 2 for Exchange 2010 and have hinted at some of the new features included in this release. So there’s quite a bit for the Exchange community to review, discuss, ponder, and basically get sorted. My contribution to the conference is a keynote on November 2 when my topic is “Why Microsoft’s Head is in the Cloud and what this means to you”. My goal is to explain my view on the engineering and competitive pressures that Microsoft is under as it develops new versions of Exchange that are capable of delivering equally well for both on-premises and cloud customers. I also want to discuss factors that I think every company needs to consider before they make the decision to move to a cloud email platform and some of the practical aspects of migrations such as making support work in a cloud environment. Finally, I want to talk about the choices that face an administrator whose job has been to manage an on-premises Exchange deployment if their company decides to move towards Office 365. I believe that this discussion is timely and hope that it will be useful to attendees. So come along and debate the issues of the day with fellow members of the Exchange community – and take the time to hang out with all the experts who’ll be attending such as Paul Robichaux, Mike Crowley, Michael B. Smith, Jim McBee, Tim McMichael,Siegfried Jagott, Anthony Vitell, and Lee Mackey. Although we can’t guarantee how much fun you’ll have in Vegas, this group can guarantee real-life advice and guidance to solving some of the hardest Exchange conundrums that we all have to face. See you at Connections!...More
  • Sep 14, 2011
    blog

    The Strange Case of IE9, MMC, and Exchange: Some light appears at the end of the tunnel 4

    On August 17, I wrote about an annoying and longstanding problem that surfaced on computers where the Exchange 2007 or Exchange 2010 management tools are installed once IE9 is introduced to the mix. Microsoft had been pretty quiet on the topic ever since reports first emerged in April that the Exchange Management Console (EMC) refused to close properly after the installation of IE9 and a firm impression had taken hold within the Exchange community that the Microsoft engineering groups responsible for the technology involved in the situation (Exchange, IE, and the Microsoft Management Console - MMC) were having some difficulty in figuring out the root cause and how best to address the problem. No one questions the fact that large organizations have their own tempo when it comes to resolving internal debates. Furthermore, no one questions that it can be hellishly difficult to determine just what’s going wrong when a new software mix suddenly exhibits odd behavior. Microsoft would therefore have been forgiven if they had used their own software bug reporting and resolution processes to address the bug in a reasonable timeframe....More
  • Aug 17, 2011
    blog

    Why can't Microsoft get IE9 to work with the Exchange Management Console? 3

    The thread complaining about problems administrators have on their Exchange servers once they’ve installed IE9 must be one of the longest-running and least productive (in terms of Microsoft response) of any on the TechNet forums. Certainly I can’t think of another discussion that has lasted four months (the original post was made on 7 April 2011) about what seems to be a pretty fundamental issue without a patch or some other positive response from the Exchange engineering group. Given the quality problems due to test issues that have occurred in two recent roll-up update releases for Exchange 2010 SP1, this kind of issue makes you think that the recent actions taken to improve testing before the Exchange development group releases anything might need to take IE into account. The problem is simple: when you have IE9 and Exchange 2010 installed on a Windows 2008 server (any version, any patch level), you cannot close the Exchange Management Console (EMC). Any attempt to close EMC results in the error: “You must close all dialog boxes before you can close Exchange Management Console” This occurs even when all dialogs (such as those that you’d use to view mailbox properties) are closed. Some reports indicate that the same issue occurs with Exchange 2007 servers, again once IE9 finds its way onto the box. The same problem can also occur on workstations that have the Exchange management tools installed, again once IE9 shows up and makes its presence felt. The only workarounds are to either use Task Manager to kill mmc.exe every time you need to close EMC or to remove IE9. The second option seems to be much the better option as the problem simply doesn’t occur with IE7 or IE8 on the server. EMC is an important tool for most Exchange administrators. Sure, you can fire up the Exchange Management Shell (EMS) and manage servers by typing individual commands in the shell but my experience is that quite a few administrators don’t like EMS very much and try to do as much as...More
  • Aug 5, 2011
    blog

    Microsoft's Messaging Records Management strategy still evolving

    Microsoft first introduced Messaging Records Management (MRM) in Exchange 2007. This version is commonly referred to as MRM V1.0 and is based on the concept of “managed folders”. A managed folder can be one of the default folders such as the Inbox or Sent Items or a folder specifically designed for retention purposes, such as one called “Audit 2011” that might be assigned to store items required for this year’s audit exercise. MRM groups a set of managed folders into policies that are then assigned to mailboxes. The act of assigning a policy creates the purpose-designed folders covered by the policy in the user’s mailbox and the user can then move items into those folders. Each folder has a retention action and period assigned to it and the Managed Folder Assistant (MFA) processes items in the background according to those actions and periods.MRM V1.0 sounds like it could work and indeed, in the hands of administrators who build well-designed and logical policies and users who have the discipline to realize how the managed folders should be used, MRM V1.0 does work. However, for the vast majority of humanity, MRM V1.0 foundered on the single salient fact that most of us are just too busy to take too much notice of the managed folders carefully constructed by administrators and therefore carried on as before. The result was that the valuable items that should have been moved into the managed folders remained scattered throughout the mailbox. Such is life....More
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