In a move that’s bound to make Exchange 2007 shops happy, Microsoft has released Service Pack 3 (SP3) for the application, which makes it compatible with Windows Server 2008 R2. The development is good news for organizations who may have moved to Server 2008 R2, but are balking at embracing Exchange 2010 because they’re not ready to make the infrastructure changes needed to accommodate the new software.
“We heard you loud and clear that this is enormously important to our Exchange 2007 customers, so we worked quickly to deliver SP3 in order to meet this requirement,” Microsoft General Manager for Exchange Customer Experience Kevin Allison wrote in a Microsoft blog announcing the release of SP3.
Here are six new features incorporated into Exchange 2007 by the service pack.
- All Exchange 2007 roles are supported on Server 2008 R2. However, upgrade scenarios aren’t supported. So if a computer has been upgraded from Server 2008 to R2, SP3 can’t be installed on that computer; neither can a copy of SP2 be upgraded to SP3. In addition, if a computer has SP3 and Server 2008 installed on it, you can’t upgrade the copy of Server 2008 to R2. According to Microsoft: “To deploy Exchange 2007 SP3 on an Windows Server 2008-based computer, you must first install Windows Server 2008 on a computer that does not have Exchange installed, and then install Exchange 2007 SP3.”
- Windows 7 management tools are now supported by Exchange 2007. What’s more, on a computer running
Windows 7, SP3 supports management tools for Exchange 2007 and 2010. As with Server 2008 R2, SP3 won’t support Exchange management tools on a computer with a Windows 7 upgrade. So a new installation of SP3 or an upgrade from SP2 to SP3 won’t work on a computer that’s been upgraded from Vista to Windows 7. Neither will management tools support work when upgrading from Vista to Windows 7 on a machine which has SP3 already running on it.
- Resetting passwords has been improved by SP3. Exchange 2007 allows Outlook Web Access users to change their passwords, but they need to log on to the system before they can do so. That’s fine if the user’s password is active. But what if his or her password expires before a login can be performed to change it? Administrators could address that problem with a Web application called IISADMPWD. With it, users with expired passwords could be sent to a Web page where they could reset them. The problem now, however, is that Server 2008 doesn’t support IISADMPWD. So users of Exchange 2007 in a Server 2008 environment are caught in a bind if their passwords expire. SP3, though, adds a new feature to the Client Access server role. It detects expired passwords and redirects users to a new change password page. Since some organizations don’t allow passwords to be changed outside their internal network, Microsoft, in its wisdom, has shut that feature off by default. So if you want it, you’ll have to turn it on. You do that by modifying the HLKM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\MSExchange OWA registry subkey and adding a DWORD value–ChangeExpiredPasswordEnabledValue type: REG_DWORDValue data: 1.
- The search function in Exchange 2007 has been updated with SP3. MSSearch binary files are updated to version 3.1 by the service pack.
- Another change imposed by SP3 may make upgrading a little more complicated for IT Pros. That’s because it makes some schema changes in the Active Directory for some Unified Messaging mailbox attributes. Classes of Active Directory schema modified by SP3 include:
Attribute modifications made by SP3 to Active Directory schema include: msExchExtendedProtectionSPNList
- The new service pack for Exchange 2007 also adds some more functionality for languages that read from right to left, such as Arabic. In past versions of Exchange, you could use a transport rule to create a disclaimer in a right-to-left language on an Exchange 2007 Hub Transport Server, but when you viewed it in Outlook 2007, its appearance was askew. SP3 fixes the transport rule so it works properly with Outlook when displaying the right-to-left text.
The new service pack is cumulative. That means you can use it to upgrade from an earlier service pack, like SP1, although Microsoft recommends that users uninstall all interim updates before installing SP3.
After installing SP3, there shouldn’t be much cause to remove it, which is a good thing, since trashing it can be more difficult than setting it up in the first place. According to Microsoft, the only way to purge the service pack from a computer is to uninstall Exchange 2007 entirely and reinstall an earlier version.