Forefront Security 2010 for Exchange Beta 2

Now that the Beta version of Exchange Server 2010 is publicly available, it is good to know that the “better together” security product, Forefront Security 2010 for Exchange Beta 2 is also available to download.

Forefront Security for Exchange Server (FSE) provides fast and effective protection against malware and spam by including multiple scanning engines from industry-leading security partners in a single solution. This second public beta of the next generation of FSE provides customers with updates to the easy-to-use interface, further integration with the Stirling management console, additional scanning and filtering options, new monitoring features, and antispam protection. Future versions will provide additional features and enhancements.

All the technical details, installation instructions and other relevant information can be found in the following links:

Microsoft Office SP2 ready to download!

The 2007 Microsoft Office Suite Service Pack 2 (SP2) was released yesterday, so hurry up to download the 290MB file!

The 2007 Microsoft Office Suite Service Pack 2 (SP2) provides customers with the latest updates to the 2007 Office suite (the products that are affected by this update are listed below). This download includes two types of fixes:

  • Previously unreleased fixes that were made specifically for this service pack.
    • In addition to general product fixes, this includes improvements in stability, performance, and security.
    • You can find out more information in Knowledge Base Article 953195, where product-specific changes are described.
  • All of the Public Updates, Security Updates, Cumulative Updates, and Hotfixes released through February 2009.

Before installing this service pack, you are strongly encouraged to read 953195, which describes some big improvements introduced by SP2, and also calls out some important information that you should be aware of before installing.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you attempt to install this update and get a message saying that the update failed, please refer to Knowledge Base Article 968173. It describes a set of requirements and other issues that may cause the installation to fail, and gives instructions on how to fix them.
Install SP2 for Other Office Products
If you have other Office products installed, please be sure to update them as well. A full list of SP2 releases for Office products is available in the Knowledge Base Article
To Remove this Download
Service Pack 2 is the first service pack to support uninstall of client patches through both the command line and the use of the Microsoft Service Pack Uninstall Tool. The Service Pack Uninstall Tool is available as a separate download. For more information about this tool, see Microsoft Knowledge Base article

But for me, and certainly for most of the readers of this blog, the most interesting improvements are Outlook related. Here’s a summary of the Outlook improvements taken from KB 953195:

Microsoft Office Outlook

  • Performance improvements that apply to the following general responsiveness areas:
    • Startup – Removes lengthy operations from initial startup.
    • Shutdown – Makes Outlook exit predictably despite pending activities.
    • Folder View and Switch – Improves view rendering and folder switching.
  • Calendar improvements
    Improves underlying data structures and the general reliability of calendar updates.
  • Data file checks
    Greatly reduces the number of scenarios in which you receive the following error message when you start Outlook: The data file ‘file name‘ was not closed properly. This file is being checked for problems.
  • Search reliability
    Improves search reliability when you use SP2 with
    Windows Desktop Search 4.
  • Improvements to Really Simple Syndication (RSS)
    There are now fewer duplicated items.
  • Object Model improvements
    Now contains many customer-driven fixes.

For more information about these improvements and details about other Outlook fixes, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base: Outlook 2007 improvements in the 2007 Microsoft Office suite Service Pack 2.

Related links:

Mailbox Server Role Storage Requirements Calculator v16.8

Ross Smith IV announced at the Microsoft Exchange Team Blog that the Mailbox Server Role Storage Requirements Calculator has been updated to version 16.8.

According to the updates tracking page at the You Had Me At EHLO blog, these are the Bug Fixes / Enhancements:

  • To aid you in your designs where you know this impact, we are introducing a new input field in the Mailbox and Client Configuration of the storage calculator.  The way this value is used is as follows: ((db reads + db writes) * Multiplication Factor) + (db reads + db writes) = new IOPS value.
  • The Disk Space and Requirements table was updated to remove confusion around space requirements vs. LUN requirements as they are two separate entities.  The space requirements fields simply state the space required for the Logs or database while LUN requirements fields include the content index capacity, the LUN free space requirement, restore/maintenance capacity (if restore LUN is disabled).
  • On the Storage Design tab, the Total Number of SCR Disks Required for the Single Mailbox Server row was updated to include the correct count of SCR disks when the source solution is CCR and the SCR target configuration is designed to match the source configuration.
  • 7.2K SAS disks were added to the Storage Design Disk Type field.  These disks provide 60 random IOPS at the controller when under a 4K/8K 1:1 read:write ratio with latency under 20ms with 80% capacity utilized (essentially they are about 20% faster than 7.2K SATA disks from a random I/O perspective).
  • The User Mailbox Configuration table on the Storage Requirements tab now exposes the calculated database cache / mailbox (which is based on the recommended memory configuration and is used in the I/O prediction formula calculations) as opposed to the desired database cache based on the message profile.
  • Updated various comment fields.

To get the detailed instructions on how to use it, read Exchange 2007 Mailbox Server Role Storage Requirements Calculator.

Exchange Server 2003 Shifts to Extended Support

Exchange Server 2003 shifted into Extended Support on April 14, 2009. Details on the lifecycle policy for Exchange 2003 can be found at

If you’re still using this version of Exchange Server, maybe now it’s a good time to upgrade to Exchange Server 2007… Or maybe start planning the deployment of the recently announced Exchange Server 2010.

What does this mean for customers?
The major differences between the Mainstream Support phase and the Extended Support phase are the following:

  • No-charge Problem Resolution Support is not available
  • Microsoft no longer accept product design change requests (CDCRs) or provide new feature functionality
  • Microsoft no longer provide new non-security hotfixes without enrollment in Extended Hotfix Support

Customers have 90 days after 4/14/2009 to purchase an Extended Hotfix Support Agreement. One exception – customers who have Software Assurance can opt in for the Extended Hotfix Support Agreement at any time.

One of the important things to note is that Extended Support is still a publicly supported phase and no separate agreement is needed to obtain support.  As long as customers are opening paid incidents, they will still be able to receive support. In fact, many Premier and Pro customers who already open paid cases with Microsoft will notice little difference in the support that is provided in this phase. They will continue to be able to open paid cases, receive security updates, obtain support assistance from their TAM, etc.  

Scoop of the week: Exchange 2010 Beta is publicly available!


Unless you’ve been living on Mars during the last few days, the fact that the next version of Exchange Server, previous code named Exchange “14” and now officially branded as Exchange Server 2010, is now publicly available, constitutes no surprise for you.

Here are the links to the released software:

What’s new:

If you’re planning to install it right away, there are some links that can really help you:

And, of course, the news… Lots and lots of news, that’s why this post is far from being a scoop 🙂

Forefront Security for Exchange Capacity Planning Tool

Microsoft released today the Forefront Security for Exchange Server SP1 Capacity Planning Tool.


Brief Description
The Forefront Security for Exchange Server SP1 capacity planning tool helps customers understand what hardware, architecture, and configuration settings will produce recommended system performance and message throughput results for comprehensive protection of their Exchange Servers.

The new Forefront Security for Exchange Server SP1 capacity planning tool helps customers understand what hardware, architecture, and configuration settings will produce recommended system performance and message throughput results for comprehensive protection of their Exchange Servers. This tool, an excel spreadsheet with built in workflow, applies to the Forefront Security for Exchange Server SP1 product. The user will be able to plan the details for a new deployment or understand the impact of adding security protection to an existing deployment. In short, the user will choose their CPU and memory tolerances for deployment, their target reference architecture, their desired protection settings, and their targeted supported user load. Once this is defined, the tool will either recommend scaling up or out on the base recommended hardware for each server role.
For additional details, please read the “Directions” and “Readme” tabs. A “Resource” tab is also provided with links to obtain additional data to help make an informed decision during the planning stage.

Thread Compressor for Microsoft Outlook

Thread Compressor is a nice add-in for Microsoft Outlook, developed by Ewan Dalton, that can really help you saving storage space.

Thread Compressor is an add-in to Microsoft Outlook, which removed unnecessary emails from a "thread" – reducing the amount of storage required (maybe keeping your mailbox within its size quota) and reducing the number of emails you need to read.

TC was developed inside Microsoft from 1999 onwards, and attracted a large following (up to 30,000 users) but has never (officially) been made available externally, due to the fact that it will delete data unless it is configured not to. I’ve decided to share it more widely now.

Let me say that again: Thread Compressor, as it is configured by default, WILL DELETE DATA FROM YOUR INBOX.

If you choose to download it and use it from here, you do it with the author’s blessing, but it’s completely at your own risk and Microsoft cannot be held responsible for what it does.

TechNet Magazine – May 2009

May2009The May edition of TechNet Magazine is now available online or, if you prefer, you can download it as an  HTML Help .chm file for offline reading.

Security gets all the attention in this issue, but 2 of our favorite columns have great Exchange-related content: Exchange Queue & A: Recovering a Clustered Mailbox Server, Offline Address Book Issues, and More and Windows PowerShell: Automating User Provisioning, Part 3.



Upcoming Exchange 2007 webcasts/labcasts

Here’s a list of the upcoming Exchange 2007 webcasts and labcasts:

See all the available webcasts at this link: Exchange Server 2007 Webcasts and Podcasts.

Microsoft Exchange Server User Monitor v06.05.7543

The Microsoft Exchange Server User Monitor has been updated to version 06.05.7543.

Brief Description
Enables system administrators to view and evaluate individual users’ usage and experience with Microsoft Exchange Server.

Use the Microsoft Exchange Server User Monitor to gather real-time data to better understand current client usage patterns, and to plan for future work. Administrators can view several items, including IP addresses used by clients, versions and modes of Microsoft Office Outlook, and resources such as CPU usage, server-side processor latency, and total latency for network and processing with Outlook 2003 version MAPI.