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Windows Server 2012 R2 Still Lacking Exchange Support

Windows Server 2012 R2 still cannot properly run any versions of Exchange, Microsoft said last week.

Windows Server 2012 R2 hit the release-to-manufacturing (RTM) stage in late August. The product reaching RTM would usually signal that the operating system is ready for imaging on server hardware. Given that status, IT pros may have assumed that Microsoft's newest server could support running Exchange as a typically supported application workload. However, that's not the case, according to a Microsoft support engineer.

"You will note that Windows Server 2012 R2 is not currently listed as a supported OS platform for Exchange," stated Rhoderick Milne, a Microsoft senior Exchange Premier Field Engineer, in a blog post.

Microsoft also announced in a blog post that Windows Server 2012 R2 also does not currently support running SharePoint 2013. The release of SharePoint 2013 Service Pack 1 will enable enable support on the new server, according to a Microsoft Knowledge Base article, but Microsoft hasn't announced when SP1 for SharePoint 2013 will be released.

Exchange 2013 and Exchange 2010 Service Pack 3 currently are supported on Microsoft's older Windows Server 2012, as well as Windows Server 2008 R2 with Service Pack 1, but not yet on Microsoft's newest server. Exchange 2007 is just supported on Windows 2008 and Windows 2003, according to Microsoft's "Exchange Server Supportability Matrix" page.

Windows Server 2012 R2 is planned for release as a final product on Oct. 18, which is when it reaches its "general availability" product milestone. In anticipation, many IT pros may be testing the new server since the RTM bits of Windows Server 2012 R2 were released to TechNet and MSDN subscribers earlier this month.

Milne noted that some testers were stumped by problems associated with running Exchange on Windows Server 2012 R2, not realizing that it wasn't supported yet. He advised IT pros not to "waste their time" trying to test it at present. He also noted in a Microsoft TechNet forum post that Microsoft doesn't support in-place upgrades of the underlying server OS with Exchange.

"In place upgrades have not been supported since Exchange 2003," he wrote in the forum post.

In an apparent change of practice with its RTMs, Microsoft will be making major changes to Windows Server 2012 R2 close to the product's release. For instance, Microsoft indicated when it announced the RTM bits for TechNet and MSDN subscribers that it planned to make changes to the product at the time of the server's general availability on Oct. 18.

Microsoft plans to launch several of its flagship products at once on Oct. 18. In addition to Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows 8.1, the company expects to roll out System Center 2012 R2 and Windows Intune products.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is online news editor for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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