More in Exchange Server 2010

  • 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
  • Apr 11, 2013
    blog

    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
  • Exchange Server email management with PST files: yield sign
    Mar 28, 2013
    blog

    What's to Be Done with PSTs: Capture, Migrate, Eliminate?

    Microsoft's free PST Capture tool has been updated to work with Exchange Server 2013, but a tool such as Sherpa Software's Mail Attender provides more features for PST management....More
  • Mar 26, 2013
    blog

    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 19, 2013
    blog

    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
  • Feb 19, 2013
    blog

    Exchange 2010 Datacenter switchover tool

    I must have been asleep when Microsoft published the Exchange 2010 datacenter switchover tool last October as I have utterly failed to acknowledge its existence until now. Some have noted that this is not really a tool at all, largely because it has not been created by coding the steps necessary to switchover a Database Availability Group (DAG) across datacenters in some form of computer code and presenting the resulting knowledge as an executable program. The assertion is true, but only if you regard a tool as something that absolutely has to be an executable. I guess this is true, if you assume that tool in this context means a computer utility, but it’s not in the wider context if you regard a tool as something that helps you to do a job more effectively, which is what this tool does. Of course, you might regard PowerPoint as a language. Certainly, there are people who can make PowerPoint do things that I would never dream of, such as the PowerPoint MVPs. So perhaps the datacenter switchover tool, which is provided in the form of a PowerPoint presentation, really is a tool after all. Now that we have battered the semantics of the situation to death, the tool is the result of some pretty impressive work by Tim McMichael, someone who is well known as a true expert in the arcane art of the lesser-known corners of DAGs. Tim has presented at many conferences and his sessions are always content-rich and full of practical knowledge......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
  • Feb 5, 2013
    blog

    Performance Monitor and Exchange DAG replication queues

    When I wrote about how the Exchange 2013 Administration Center (EAC) simplifies the management of Database Availability Groups (DAGs), Scott Schnoll, that well-known and much-travelled evangelist of Exchange high availability, pointed out quite correctly that none of Exchange’s management tools include any business logic whatsoever as all depend on calling whatever Exchange Management Shell (EMS) cmdlet is appropriate to manipulate information an object. This has been the case since Exchange 2007 embraced PowerShell and launched Exchange on the path that it has since followed. Not being picky at all, my sources within the EAC team tell me that they run EMS in a slightly different manner than an administrator does through an EMS window. It’s all to do with the way that browsers send commands to servers. At least, that’s what I remember from a lunch-time conversation at MEC in Orlando. Or maybe I was too concerned with eating to remember accurately. In any case, Scott’s point is well made....More
  • Jan 8, 2013
    blog

    Exchange 2010 SP1 reaches end of support

    It might have escaped your attention or maybe you aren’t concerned, but Microsoft’s formal support for Exchange 2010 SP1 expires today. Ongoing support activities were proceeding until quite recently, with Exchange 2010 SP1 RU8 released on December 11, 2012. But now it’s time to move on and get servers upgraded to Exchange 2010 SP2, preferably applying the latest roll-up update (RU5) for that service pack, making sure that you test everything thoroughly first. Exchange 2010 SP1 completed the development process for Exchange 2010. I know that’s not the official story because Microsoft always holds that development is complete when they ship the RTM version for a product, but in reality this isn’t so as there’s invariably a rush to get software out the door to meet arbitrary dates and usually there are some gaps remaining that have to be close post-RTM, usually delivered in the first service pack. Exchange 2010 SP1 appeared with a completely rewritten version of Outlook Web App, for instance, and it included lots of new UI in the Exchange Management Console to help administrators cope with retention policies and tags. It also introduced some very interesting technology in the Store, including block-mode replication. Of course, we’re still waiting for news about Exchange 2010 SP3, a release announced by Microsoft in October 2012 with a delivery date in “early 2013”. This is an important release because SP3 is needed to allow Exchange 2010 to co-exist alongside the brand-new Exchange 2013. The word is that work is progressing and that SP3 will appear soon. I hope so as its lack is preventing any sort of activity around Exchange 2013. Another item that we’re still awaiting news of is what Microsoft intends to do to address the issue that they caused when the decision was made to move Exchange 2013 into prime position for TechNet searches. I don’t think anyone would quibble with the notion that it is a good idea to keep TechNet refreshed in such a way that the lates...More
  • Jan 3, 2013
    blog

    Downgrading an Exchange 2010 Server 1

    Microsoft doesn't support the use of license keys to downgrade an Exchange server from enterprise to standard edition--but it seems like it should be possible....More
  • Jan 1, 2013
    blog

    Exchange searches limited to specific item types

    It’s always good to get questions and comments after an article appears, if only to prove that someone’s reading the material out there on the InterWeb. I was happy to receive some comments after my “Search and Destroy” article that covers the basics of Exchange 2010’s ability to search for and (optionally) remove messages in user mailboxes. Hopefully you won’t have to remove messages too often because users don’t typically respond too well to this kind of administrative intervention. That is, of course, if they notice that anything has been deleted! But if you do, it’s good to have solid tools to interrogate mailboxes for offending content and then purge it from the server. I presume the content to be offending in some respect as otherwise it would seem strange to search Exchange for it. One question that came up is about the AQS syntax used by Exchange to frame search queries. Microsoft documents the AQS syntax in MSDN and a couple of examples to help start the ball rolling can be found in the help for the Search-Mailbox cmdlet. The examples are intended to get your creative juices going and it will probably take some trial and error before you settle on the best query for your purposes. But sometimes you run into a limitation that isn’t covered too well in product documentation. Reading about Search-Mailbox, we find that “The SearchQuery parameter specifies a search string or a query formatted using Advanced Query Syntax (AQS).”...More
  • Dec 27, 2012
    blog

    How to Fix an Unbalanced DAG

    It is an undeniable fact of system administration that programs and data operate well, most neatly, just after they have been first deployed. Over time components have a nasty habit of degrading, of transforming themselves into non-optimum configurations, or simply not working as well as they might. And so it is with Database Availability Groups (DAGs), which brings us nicely to RedistributeActiveDatabases.ps1, a script that’s provided for your use with the Exchange 2010 kit. DAGs have proven to be the big success story for Exchange 2010 and are a major motivating factor in the decision that many companies have made to upgrade from previous releases. For the first time, Exchange includes native high availability features that scale past two nodes, a limitation that’s been in place ever since the introduction of the original “Wolfpack” clusters on Windows NT 4.0 with Exchange 5.5 in late 1997. DAGs scale to sixteen nodes, a limitation imposed by the underlying Windows Failover Clustering technology, and can accommodate hundreds of active databases if you run the enterprise edition of Exchange 2010. The standard edition supports DAGs too, but a server can only mount up to five databases at a time rather than the hundred supported by the enterprise edition. So good so far. To get back to the point in hand, DAGs operate spiffingly well when they are first deployed and the active databases all run on their preferred server....More
  • Dec 18, 2012
    blog

    Exchange 2010 SP2 RU5 V2, WSUS, and WMF 3.0: quite a potential for confusion really

    Oh dear… Problems do seem to have a habit of reoccurring, especially when it comes to software. Or maybe it’s just that repeated problems seem more obvious when seen in software. Or just that those who work in IT are narky people who complain a lot (I definitely fall into this category). Last August, I wrote about the way that the Exchange team had included a security update into Exchange 2010 SP2 RU4. The issue was simple. Because the update was marked as having fixed a security issue, it became much more of a pressing matter to install RU4 quickly. And because RU4 was deployed quickly, people did not have the chance to analyze the contents of the update and then test it thoroughly as they normally would before putting the new software into production. AS it turned out, RU4 included a change to the way that the Managed Folder Assistant processed calendar items that could have caused some difficulties for deployments. Coming right up to date, a problem was quickly found in Exchange 2010 SP2 RU5 when it was released in November. Microsoft pulled RU5 back and the fixed version (now dubbed RU5 V2) was released along with Exchange 2010 SP1 RU8 and Exchange 2007 SP3 RU9 on December 11. The initial feeling of well-being was quickly dispelled when people realized that RU5 V2 includes a security fix, making it a more pressing update to deploy. I think it’s fair to say that the decision to include the security fix in RU5 V2 did not impress the Exchange community. At least, that’s what the comments on the EHLO blog indicates. To be fair to the Exchange Customer Experience (CXP) team who put out updates, their hand might have been forced on the issue by internal Microsoft guidelines that dictate how security fixes are released to customers. The jury is still out as to whether RU5 V2 is any better than its predecessor. The DAG bug seems to have gone away, which is good, but some have reported installing the update, which isn’t so good. And curiously, KB288870 has been remove...More
  • Dec 11, 2012
    blog

    Will Exchange fix ActiveSync to make sure that iOS mail cannot screw up calendars

    Even with Apple’s best attempts to fix its malfunctioning email client in iOS 6.0.1 so that meetings scheduled in Exchange calendars aren’t “hijacked” and cancelled, the word I hear coming out of Redmond is that the folks in Cupertino still can’t quite understand that ActiveSync clients should not update the organizer field for a meeting. Evidence of strong feelings from Microsoft employees who have been affected by the bug come from a number of meetings involving literally hundreds of people that have been cancelled, simply because one of the potential attendees received a meeting request and then decided not to go, not realizing that iOS6 would go ahead and cancel the entire event. This resulted in everyone on a very large attendance list being spammed with a cancellation notice, which then led to the meeting being removed from their devices, in turn generating a further flood of cancellation notices. Clearly this kind of behaviour does not create a good user experience. Of course, you might wonder why quite so many Microsoft employees roam the Redmond campus equipped with Apple devices rather than showing allegiance to the wonders of Windows Phone, but let’s say that they’re doing in-depth hands-on competitive analysis for now. What’s clear though is that the problems created by the iOS bugs have affected Microsoft and that this has now gotten the attention of some relatively senior individuals, who have made their feelings clear to the Exchange development group that enough is enough and that steps should be put in place to stop badly-written ActiveSync clients screwing up user calendars, which is essentially what iOS is doing. I’ve been looking for Microsoft to take a more assertive role in dealing with ActiveSync licensees for a while now, so I’m happy that “something will be done” to stop clients messing with data when they should not. The problem Microsoft faces is that the profusion of ActiveSync clients means that cannot realistically ask ActiveSync l...More
  • Nov 1, 2012
    blog

    Using Exchange Standard or Enterprise Edition to Build a DAG

    A recent discussion amongst some Exchange MVPs asked whether it was a good idea to implement a Database Availability Group (DAG) using the standard edition of Exchange 2010. Although this is obviously possible because Exchange 2010 does not require the enterprise edition to form a DAG, I’m not sure that this is a good route to take. In passing, you do need the enterprise edition of Windows 2008 R2 to be able to use Windows Failover Clustering, the fundamental underpinning of the DAG. Companies do need to keep an eye on cash spent on IT and a natural tendency exists to restrict spending whenever it’s not absolutely necessary. A DAG built on the standard edition of Exchange 2010 can support five mounted databases on each server (mailbox and public folder databases count against the limit). Given sufficient DAG members to support three copies of each database (two copies deliver reasonable redundancy; three provide a warm feeling), it’s therefore reasonable to avoid the higher software license fees required for Exchange 2010 enterprise edition and go ahead with the standard edition. I agree with this stance up to a point. A small DAG (say, three mailbox servers) can certainly deliver good redundancy at an excellent price point, especially if you deploy JBOD-style storage. But then I start to think about why the DAG exists. A DAG is there to deliver highly available mailboxes, pure and simple....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
  • Oct 10, 2012
    blog

    Exchange Server Q&A: Nathan Winters on Exchange 2013, FOPE, and PSTs

    The air is getting crisp, the leaves are turning: must be time for this year's fall Microsoft Exchange Connections conference. If you weren't able to attend last month's Microsoft Exchange Conference (MEC) in Orlando, you still have the chance to get great Exchange Server content from the experts in a warm environment, as Connections takes place in Las Vegas, October 29 through November 1. Plus, spending Halloween in Las Vegas? You know that's got to be fun. One of our long-time Exchange authors, Nathan Winters, will be speaking at Connections for the first time this year. After working for a few difference companies over the years, Nathan is now an Exchange technical specialist with Microsoft UK. He most recently wrote Mastering Lync Server 2010 and is currently working on projects for the 2013 product wave. I asked Nathan a few questions about what attendees at Exchange Connections could expect from his sessions, as well as how a graduate of the Royal College of Music came to work with Exchange Server....More
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