Exchange 2003 Service Pack 1, Installation and Overview

Thursday Jul 22nd 2004 by Ryan Smith
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Exchange 2003 SP1 is made up of myriad fixes, enhancements, and new features. We look at what's new in the messaging system as well as offer several installation tips and note hiccups to keep an eye out for.

Microsoft released Exchange 2003 in October 2003. In May 2004, Service Pack 1 for Exchange 2003 was released. SP1 is a collection of fixes, enhancements, and updates to Exchange 2003 designed to extend the product's stability.

Fixes and New Features

Exchange 2003 SP1 is made up of fixes covered in more than 20 Knowledge Base articles. Previously, obtaining these fixes meant making a support call to Microsoft Product Support Services. While this is typically an easy (and free) call to make, it requires more attention than simply downloading a hot fix.

In addition to the fixes, SP1 includes various enhancements and new features:

  • Outlook Web Access & Outlook Mobile Access offers beefed-up language support in the spellcheck feature and blocks more file types.
  • Enhancements were made to the Outlook Mobile Access user interface, including out-of-office modification, a larger text entry field, search folder support, and improved menu navigation.
  • RPC over HTTP front-end/back-end topology is easier to configure. It can be configured using Exchange System Manager. In the past, changes were made manually and required IIS Manager.
  • Volume Shadow Copy now supports Exchange 2003.
  • Exchange System Manager can be used to merge or copy a restored mailbox without using ExMerge.
  • "Move Mailbox Wizard" allows the movement of mailboxes across administrative groups when in mixed mode (such as sites in Exchange 5.5).
  • Migration Wizard now supports the Profile Update Tool, which runs on a user's computer and updates his Outlook profile after a cross-site or cross-organization move.
  • An admin can now move public folders, mailboxes, distribution lists, and contacts across site boundaries, even while still in mixed mode.
  • Performance of Exchange 2003 on four- or eight-processor systems has been improved. This also includes HyperThreading systems.
  • Mailbox permissions, including delegate permissions, are now preserved during a cross-forest move.
  • Additional support is offered for portable devices that want to use the Outlook Mobile Access feature.
  • Badmail folder usage is disabled by default in SP1. To activate it, two registry keys must be added.

SP1 also contains a number of new tools for Exchange 2003. The following are available as separate downloads.

  • Exchange Domain Rename Fixup: Repairs Exchange Server attributes in Active Directory after using the Windows Server 2003 domain rename tool
  • Exchange 2003 Management Pack Config Wizard: Graphical user interface that configures test mailboxes, message tracking, and monitoring services in the Exchange Server 2000 and Exchange Server 2003 Management Packs
  • Outlook Web Access Web Administration: Web-based tool for administering Outlook Web Access
  • Exchange Server Profile Redirector: Updates Outlook profiles after moving mailboxes across Exchange Server organizations or administrative groups
  • Updated Exchange 2003 Deployment tools: Helps determine the steps you should take, the diagnostic tools you should use, and the setup links needed to successfully install Exchange Server 2003
  • AUTD Binding Cleanup: Enables the viewing and removal of AUTD (Always Up To Date) event registration items (bindings) on individual and bulk levels
  • Auto Accept Agent: Automatically processes meeting requests for resource mailboxes by checking the availability of the resource mailbox based on the resource schedule (not free/busy) and accepting or declining new or updated meeting requests
  • Badmail Deletion and Archiving: Automatically deletes or archives files in the Badmail directory of specified Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) virtual servers
  • E-mail Journaling Advanced Configuration: Augments the current Exchange Server archiving features and captures recipients on expanded distribution lists, Bcc recipients, and other message details
  • WinRoute: Provides a visual representation of the Exchange Server routing topology and the status of the different routing components

>> Installation Tips, Tricks, and Hiccups

Installation

One hiccup we found while installing SP1 was the need for a hot fix to be installed that is not mentioned anywhere in the release documentation. If it is not installed, the following error message is generating during the SP1 installation process.

KB #831464 - IIS 6.0 compression corruption causes access violations

This hot fix does require a server reboot, so ensuring it is downloaded and installed prior to starting an SP1 installation is important.

As is typical for Exchange service packs, the installation file is contained in the \setup\i386 directory and is update.exe. Why the Microsoft Exchange group can't put a simple installation program in the root of the extract data is baffling.

Installing the service pack is very straightforward. However, there is one important item to note:

Exchange 2003 SP1 cannot be uninstalled.

So, if possible, perform a test deployment in a lab environment before deploying SP1 on production Exchange servers to ensure you have a good backup.

When installation is complete, update your Exchange 2003 help files to SP1 as well. These help files can be downloaded from: http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/exchange/2003/library/sp1help.mspx.

Conclusion

Overall, Exchange 2003 SP1 is a useful collection of fixes and new features for Exchange 2003. The few problems we heard about SP1 relate either to setup problems with the e2kdsn.dll file failing to register successfully (which can usually be resolved by manually registering the .dll) or to problems with e-mail no longer sending after SP1 has been installed. This is typically due to an application, such as antivirus or antispam software, that does not allow the Store itself to unload during SP1 installation. Disabling the software and reinstalling SP1 should resolve this problem.

Before installing SP1, we recommend checking with any of your software vendors whose products interact directly with Exchange 2003 to determine if the products will conflict with it. Symantec, TrendMicro, and GFI are often quick to report when their products conflict with service packs. Checking them out is simple and can often save countless hours troubleshooting a failing SP1 installation.

The other major complaint we've heard is that Outlook Web Access now requires users to enter domain & username in the logon field. A workaround for this is available at www.sbslinks.com/domain.

Overall, we recommend Exchange 2003 SP1 for anyone currently running Exchange 2003. Organizations migrating from Exchange 5.5 should be sure to reference the updated deployment guide as well.

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