Microsoft Pulls Back on New Update for Exchange 2010

An update for Service Pack 2 for Exchange 2010 was pulled from the Net this week after Microsoft discovered a bug in the software.

The link to the download page for the update, Rollup Update 5 (RU5), has been disabled by Microsoft and a terse comment posted by the company to the Internet advising administrators not to install the software.

That message came a little too late for some administrators. After installing the update, Garry O’ Neill reported that when he tried to check the properties for the Database Availability Group (DAG) for his Exchange installation, he began getting “unexpected errors.”

He added that when he uninstalled RU5, the error went away. When he installed it again, the error came back.

The pullback must have been disappointing to the Exchange team who have vowed to clean up their buggy act that’s embarrassed them several times this year.

What will be in RU5 when it’s re-released?

One Exchange 2010 flaw to be addressed by the update involves accessing public folders. Now, if a user’s default public folder is unavailable, Exchange will choose a random public folder that’s often in the nether regions of the network or one of its sluggish backwaters.

That will be a welcome fix in light of Exchange 2013′s revamp of public folders to take advantage of the high availability and storage technologies of the new Exchange’s mailbox database.

Another fix addresses Store.exe crashes. Those crashes occur on Exchange 2010 mailbox servers on systems using virus-scanning API-based antivirus software. That problem doesn’t exist in 2013 because Microsoft removed the virus-scanning API from the software.

Microsoft is also addressing DAG performance problems in virtual environments by ensuring a DAG doesn’t lose quorum if a router or switch issue occurs. Now if a router or switch in the network fails, DAG members can lose touch with each other. Confusion ensues, the DAG stops and users can’t reach their mailboxes, making them very unhappy campers.

Two managed folders issues are also targeted in the batch of fixes. One patch addresses the problem of archived items remaining in the Recoverable Items folder of a primary mailbox longer than they should. Exchange ships items to a sub-folder in Recoverable Items when it archives them so they’re visible until they hit their expiration dates — which is longer than they should be visible.

The other managed folder problem involves items languishing in the Deletions subfolder past their retention date. In that case, Exchange ignores the throw away date on archived items in the folder when a litigation hold is in play.

Some errors when using Outlook in online mode will also be fixed — sort of — with the update. Exchange has a nasty habit of displaying meeting requests on a user’s calendar after they’ve been declined. Since most people use Outlook in cache mode, this is less of a problem than it appears to be at first blush.

The other Outlook online annoyance occurs when trying to send a draft message which generates a “the operation failed” error. This occurs when the draft contains online images. Microsoft isn’t quite sure what’s going on there. It’s only advice is don’t create draft messages in HTML.

When will RU5 be released in the wild again? Microsoft was mum on that subject this week.

Written by John P Mello Jr

John Mello is a freelance writer who has written about business and technical subjects for more than 25 years. He is frequent contributor to the ECT News Network and his work has appeared in a number of periodicals, including Byte magazine, PC World, Computerworld, CIO magazine and the Boston Globe

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