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Microsoft Releases Exchange 2013 and Exchange 2010 Updates

Updates to Exchange 2013 and Exchange 2010 Service Pack 3 were released by Microsoft at the end of November.

Cumulative Update 3 (CU3) for Exchange Server 2013 is now available at the Microsoft Download Center here, along with unified messaging language packs. In addition, Microsoft released Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 3 Update Rollup 3 (RU3), which can be downloaded at this page.

The CU3 release reflects Microsoft's new quarterly release cycle for cumulative updates announced back in April. Update rollups, on the other hand, are still released on a monthly basis. Unlike cumulative updates, update rollups don't include previous releases, and so update rollups have to be installed sequentially.

Microsoft recommends testing and applying the cumulative updates particularly for organizations that run "hybrid" Exchange configurations -- that is, organizations with computing environments that combine Exchange Online with premises-based Exchange Server installations. The idea is to better assure that the hosted and server versions of Exchange are running the same code, but it's actually more than just a recommendation, per Microsoft.

"Customers in hybrid deployments where Exchange is deployed in-house and in the cloud, or who are using Exchange Online Archiving with their in-house Exchange deployment are required to maintain currency on Cumulative Update releases," according to Microsoft's CU3 announcement.

Exchange Server 2013 CU3
CU3 for Exchange Server 2013 (build 15.00.0775.038) includes customer-requested fixes since CU2 was released, along with some usability improvements, such as:

  • Microsoft's cloud-based Rights Management Service now will work with Exchange Server 2013
  • Organizations no longer have to use the "light version" of Outlook Web App with Windows 8.1 and Internet Explorer 11
  • Microsoft improved the "admin audit log experience" and smoothed the process in the Exchange Administration Console for adding "new and existing groups"

Microsoft's next cumulative update for Exchange Server 2013, CU4, will be included in a future Exchange Server 2013 Service Pack 1 release. Microsoft did not indicate when SP1 for Exchange Server 2013 would be released but it might be expected to arrive in the first quarter of 2014.

Microsoft's announcement offered a peculiar caveat about applying CU3 for Exchange Server 2013 for organizations using "Backup and Recovery mechanisms to protect Exchange data." IT pros should take care to back up their data before applying CU3 in those cases, per Microsoft's Knowledge Base article 2888315. A full list of all CU 3 fixes can be found here.

Microsoft is warning IT pros that installing CU3 involves updating "Active Directory schema and configuration." If installing CU3 using PowerShell, which lacks a user-friendly graphics user interface, Microsoft offers a "6 Mistakes to Avoid" guide. Also, when using PowerShell, Microsoft advises that the script execution policy should be set to "unrestricted" on the target server.

An updated Server Role Requirements Calculator for Exchange Server 2013 is now available at this page. Version 6.1 was updated in December, after glitches were fixed in May.

Exchange Server 2010 SP3 RU3
Update Rollup 3 for Exchange Server 2010 SP3 (build 14.03.0169.001) contains fixes for customer reported issues since RU2. It doesn't include any security fixes.

Of the 24 fixes, Microsoft noted a few. There are fixes to the RPC Client Access Service that address freezes and crashes. In addition, there's a fix for Client Access Server crashes that occur when using Outlook with "a Riverbed WAN optimizer." The complete RU3 list can be accessed here.

Microsoft is warning that customized Outlook Web App files should be backed up first before applying RU3. Servers should have Internet connections optimally to avoid long install times. There's also a caveat associated with installing RU3 when organizations are using Client Access Server-to-Client Access Server proxying, where Microsoft recommends updating the Internet-facing servers first.

Microsoft also advises that IT pros do testing before deployment, of course. That's an especially important consideration given that Microsoft's Exchange updates have sometimes arrived with troublesome glitches included.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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