Microsoft quietly releases Exchange 2007 SP3 on Sunday

With no fanfare and very little support information available, Exchange 2007 SP3 goes public.

Microsoft has quietly released the Service Pack 3 version of Exchange 2007. SP3 was posted to the Download Center on Sunday. Microsoft hemmed and hawed about producing a third service pack for its popular e-mail server. It would prefer its users upgrade to Exchange 2010. However, in December, the company bowed to its large 2007 installed base, and announced SP3 would arrive in the second half of 2010.

So here it is, right on schedule.

Well, what's new in SP3, beside the expected cumulative security updates from SP2? A good question. Info can be obtained from the "Release Notes" link on the download. And, as far as I can tell, this is about the only place where Microsoft discusses the changes included in SP3.

One obvious addition is added compatibility for Exchange 2007 on Windows Server 2008 R2 and the slightly older Windows Server 2008. 2007 also now supports Windows 7. At first, Microsoft had hoped to pressure users into forklift upgrades by not supporting the combo of the older e-mail system on the newer versions of Windows Server. But again, after users complained, Microsoft agreed.

Overall, changes seem modest. They include

  • Improved Password Reset Functionality
  • Updated Search Functionality
  • Schema Changes
  • Support for Disclaimer Text in languages that are to be read from the tight-to-the left like Hebrew or Arabic. (Microsoft has done upgrades for Disclaimer Text in Exchange 2010, too, by the way).

Microsoft typically offers all kinds of support documentation when it rolls out new service packs, but again in this case, with the quiet Sunday release, this stuff has been somewhat harder to come by. There is a link on the download page entitled What's New in Exchange Server 2007 SP3" but on Monday, when I clicked on it, it took me directly to a portion of a TechNet Article called What's New in Exchange Server 2007 SP2".

A document called the Exchange Server Supportability Matrix which provides a central source for Microsoft Exchange Administrators to locate information about the level of support available for any configuration for Microsoft Exchange showed me nothing on Monday about SP3, even though a user has asked about it. A link included that is supposed to take you to more SP3 info shows, as of this publication date ... nothing at all.

Microsoft didn't want you getting all excited about SP3 when it wants all attention on 2010. June is the end of its fiscal year. Many salespeople must have booked their new sales by Friday, June 18, to get their bonuses. So, shortly after that deadline expired, SP3 is born and well -- shh, mum's the word.

Unless Microsoft plans on holding the hands with personal support of all of its 2007 SP2 users, no doubt, better support documentation will arrive soon.

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