Why IMF updates don’t update

Exchange 2003 SP2 includes the Intelligent Message Filter (IMF v2). Microsoft indicated that IMF definition updates would be released twice a month. These IMF updates can be obtained via WSUS or Microsoft Update (MU), which requires a reg edit to be made in order to work.

 Recently, plenty of people have asked (complained?) about either not getting the IMF update, or if they got it, it would not install. Turns out that Microsft has an expiration on each IMF update, and once that window of opportunity passes, you need to wait for the next IMF update. P.S.: if you did not know this, then you are not alone!

A NG poster, Macker, recently investigated all of this, and here are his comments:

A lot of people are having problems getting IMFv2 to update. I can report that I just received the (most recent) update:
Microsoft Exchange Server 2003: Update for Intelligent Message Filter for Exchange Server 2003: 2006.11.09 (KB907747)

The “solution” to the problem is as follows: There is a *small window* (how long exactly I don’t know), every 1st or 3rd Tuesday (or Wednesday) of each month to get the update. If you miss the “window,” the updates “expire” and then you have to wait another 2 weeks for the next lot of updates to come along.

As well as that, make sure you have the following in place:

– SBS 2003 SP1 w/Exchange Service Pack 2.
– Uninstall IMFv1 (Intelligent Message Filter version 1) prior to installing Exchange SP2. Do not install IMFv1 after Exchange SP2. Exchange SP2 has it’s own version of IMF (IMFv2), which is the one we have trouble updating.
– After Exchange SP2 is installed: Make sure your server has the necessary subkey of ContentFilterState with a DWORD value of 1 under the key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Exchange
– VERY IMPORTANT: Make sure your SBS Server is running Microsoft Update (not Windows Update).
– Make sure MUWEB.DLL is in the System32 folder. I’m not sure how important this last part is, but I’ve heard that it is important (it seems to be on all our servers already – certainly those with Exchange SP2).
– LAST and NOT LEAST: Wait for the update window to come around (1st & 3rd Tuesday or Wednesday of each month). Look for it on the Microsoft Update Site and PROMPTLY install the update when it is available.

If you miss the update, you’ll have to wait another 2 weeks, as the updates “expire” and become unavailable (for some maddening reason, which is the cause of all these angry posts).

That’s it!

4 thoughts on “Why IMF updates don’t update

  1. “VERY IMPORTANT: Make sure your SBS Server is running Microsoft Update (not Windows Update).”

    – saved me a lot of pulling hair. Much obliged !


  2. I realized I wasn’t running MICROSOFT update… after doing a google search for that… looks the same as Windows update.. who knew?

    one thing I DID notice though, there was no MUWEB.DLL before I ran the install/activex install for microsoft update, so if you are pulling your hair out like I was… and you don’t see MUWEB.DLL, chances are you aren’t using Microsoft Update.

  3. thanks, i didn’t know about the expiry. It looks a bit odd, why would they expire the update? Can’t they leave the last update until the latest arrive? or there is a micromyth behind it?

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