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June 25th, 2018:

Microsoft Exchange – Major update for June 2018

As noted below, the quarterly update release for Microsoft Exchange contains some major changes as noted below:

The Microsoft Exchange team got more talkative this week regarding a few improvements and changes, mostly on the server side.

Organizations got a bunch of Exchange Server quarterly updates this month, which added some capabilities. For instance, organizations can now run Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 3 (SP3) on Windows Server 2016. Microsoft is also correcting an Exchange Online mailbox sizing issue that could have repercussions for some IT shops. Lastly, Microsoft added some perks for organizations when they are moving from Exchange Server to Exchange Online.

On the Exchange Online migration front, earlier this week, Microsoft made it easier to transfer some policies from Exchange Server 2010, Exchange Server 2013 or Exchange Server 2016 to Exchange Online. On Wednesday, Microsoft announced the ability to hold back Recoverable Items Folders (formerly known as “dumpsters”) during Exchange Online moves.

Windows 7 – SSE2 compliance required for security updates

Starting with the March 2018 Windows 7 updates, security patches will only install on SSE2 or higher computing devices (i.e., the Pentium 4 was 1st PC to offer this).  This change only affects a small # of users on 15-20 year old legacy PCs

Microsoft unexpectedly drops Windows 7 support for some ancient CPUs. Believe it or not, some hardy souls are still running Windows 7 on PCs equipped with turn-of-the-century Pentium III CPUs. But the latest round of Windows 7 security patches won’t install on those devices.  Beginning with the March update, those cumulative Windows 7 patches won’t install on a Pentium III system.

In August 2000, nearly 18 years ago, Intel proudly showed off its newest CPU family, the Pentium 4.  The Pentium 4 does have other advantages over the Pentium III, analysts said. It packs an improved floating point unit and a new set of multimedia instructions, called SSE2, that allow the chip to process multimedia in parallel, thereby speeding performance.

The addition of support for Streaming SIMD Extensions 2 (SSE2) was a big deal at the time. It was a high-end feature in 2000, but by 2004 or so every mainstream processor supported this feature. The CPU in your more modern PC almost certainly supports a later version; the latest and greatest release is SSE 4.2.

The point is, if you’re running a PC today, in mid-2018, that doesn’t support SSE2, you should be charging admission to your computer museum. You probably upgraded it from Windows 98 to Windows XP and then to Windows 7, and you’ve been humming along for nearly two decades, which is impressive.  SSE2 support became a big deal in 2012, when Microsoft announced that it was one of three mandatory CPU features required for its new OS. Windows 10 has the same requirements.