A Bridge Too Far…. Exchange 2013 CU15

For those of you who support Exchange 2013, you may be aware of the availability of CUs for Exchange 2013. If you are not, then simply put, when a new CU comes out, only that CU and the previous CU are available for Public download. There will be some interim time when the previous CU (CU-2) is also available, but that too shall pass. Currently Microsoft is now up to CU17 for Exchange 2013.

    CU – Cumulative Update – Microsoft’s quarterly update for Exchange server


What this means is that CU17 and CU16 will eventually be the only updates for Exchange 2013 out there. While CU15 is still available at the time of this post, that again shall disappear.
The Bridge
If you are running any version of Exchange 2013 that is CU14 or lower, this is going to cause you some headache if you need to update to the latest CU. Microsoft put in a .NET requirements that makes it impossible to go directly from CU14 and before to CU16 or CU17. These latest Cumulative Updates require .NET 4.6.2 BEFORE you can install them. However, CU14 and before only support up to .NET 4.6.1. See the Exchange 2013 Supportability Matrix for more information on what is supported.
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Microsoft MVP – Fifth Year!

This morning I received my fifth MVP Award notice and felt elated that Microsoft would award me once again. Getting the award this year seems to mean just a little more than usual. For one, I published my first book Practical PowerShell – Exchange Server 2016 with fellow Office Server and Services MVP Dave Stork. That was cool…. and very time-consuming. On my blog I still managed to post over 30 posts while working on this book. In my spare time I also ran a user group on Microsoft products like Exchange, Office 365, SharePoint and more and presented at each meeting. To say the least this keeps me busy all while working a full-time job on the side.

My experience over the past 4 years as an MVP has been an interesting ride. Interaction with the Exchange Product Group and a select group of Exchange MVPs has shaped my need to continue on this path of community involvement. Finally I would like to thank Microsoft for recognizing me with this award. 2017 looks to be another big year and there will be some interesting announcements on this blog after the summer…. so stay tuned for more!

Here’s to another five years!

.NET 4.7 and Exchange Server Support

When it comes to Exchange Server, having WSUS or automatic updates is a rather bad idea. There are many updates that can cause havoc on an Exchange server and are best avoided if possible. Currently the best example of this is .NET Framework for Windows Servers. .NET has had many updates over the past year or so. As such there is a range of .NET versions that are supported on Exchange. However, you need to make sure to match the .NET version with the correct version of Exchange 2010, 2013 or 2016. If the wrong version is installed, it may cause problems with Exchange and it will certainly place your server in an unsupported configuration.

.NET 4.7

The latest release by Microsoft is .NET Framework 4.7. This version is NOT supported on any version of Exchange currently. However, it is possible to get this update on your server due to WSUS or Windows Update. Because it is unsupported, disabling automatic updates or at least restricting updates that can be applied to Exchange servers would be ideal. We can review Microsoft’s documentation:

Supportability Matrix

Make sure to check this page for any changes as it is the official supportability list for Exchange Servers.

Tasks Retention Tag – PowerShell Only

Migrations from Exchange On-Premises to Exchange Online can be complex if you are new to the process. Knowing what translates and what does not when it comes to the migration process can be extremely helpful. For Example, there are certain items in Exchange that need to be recreated in Exchange Online in order for functionality to translate – Transport Rules, Retention Policies/Tags and Journal rules all need to be recreated in Exchange Online. The one I want to review in particular here is Retention Policies.
If the intent is to continue using the existing Retention Policies and Tags in Office 365, then these will need to be duplicated. If the tags and policies are not duplicated, then the old tags will not apply and will eventually be removed. To prevent this disconnect during a migration, it is imperative that the tags and policies for retention are copied prior to any mailbox moves. The easiest way to do this is to have both the on-premises console for your Exchange servers up and also have a browser logged into your Exchange Online tenant. With that you should be able to copy and paste the names of custom tags, or custom policies and then verify everything looks good.
The problem is that apparently not all of the tag options are available in the GUI. In particular, Tasks is not visible in the selectable list of known folders: Continue reading

Meetup – Microsoft Messaging and Collaboration User Group

Security and Compliance Center (Office 365) For this meeting we’ll be meeting at the Microsoft Store on Michigan Ave. in Chicago. Microsoft offered this meeting place up to us as something cool and different. Make sure to come at 6:00 PM for networking and food. We have two presentations for the meeting:

Security and Compliance Center (Office 365) – The Big Change on July 1 – Exchange and OneDrive
Presented by Damian Scoles – Office Servers and Services MVP, from Netrix

Security and Compliance Center (Office 365) – Managing SharePoint options
Presented by Doug Hemminger – Office Servers and Services MVP

Hope to see everyone there!

Exchange 2016 – Hybrid Deployment Check – Invalid Credentials

Thought I would share a weird error I experience in a while with Exchange CU installations. First, let me provide a little background:
Environment

  • Exchange 2010 SP3 UR15
  • Hybrid configuration
  • Office 365 tenant with E3 licenses

The client is at the end of their migration of mailboxes to Office 365. We are cleaning up the environment and now installing Exchange 2016 to play the role of hybrid and management. As such, we prepped a brand new server and patched it with the latest Windows patches. I then updated the server with my prerequisites script. The next step was to install Exchange 2016 CU5. During the installation process, the installer recognized that we were in a hybrid mode with Exchange and Office 365. Continue reading

Exchange 2013 Stuck CU Upgrade

During a routine update of an Exchange server, a client of mine had an issue with a Security Update for Exchange 2013 CU12. This patch, KB3184736, showed Status – Failed in the Windows Update History. After the install failed, Exchange Admin Console would not load, the Exchange Management Shell also could not connect to Exchange server, and then they noticed that all of the Exchange servers were not started.
In order to fix the same server, they then tried to update their server to CU16. When the CU16 installation complained about the .NET version, they upgraded .NET to 4.6.2. The CU16 upgrade was tried again and it failed.
Then I was called in to assist. We reviewed the situation and decided to move forward with the Exchange CU16 installation. According to Microsoft, the ideal upgrade plan would have been:

  • Upgrade Exchange 2013 CU12 to CU15
  • Update .NET to 4.6.1
  • Upgrade Exchange 2013 CU16

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