Exchange 2003 SP2 on SBS

Welcome to the exciting world of Exchange 2003 SP2: Enhanced security, SPAM protection, bigger message store, SenderID/spf and the ability to manage your mobile devices. This article covers the installation of Exchange 2003 Service Pack 2 on Windows Small Business Server (SBS) 2003. Yes it is supported on SBS 2003 and Yes, it actually works on SBS 2003. Here are the top 10 reasons Microsoft thinks you will find be impressed by SP2:

  • Keep up to date with Direct Push Technology.
  • Help protect your mobile devices through policy enforcement.
  • Boost your defenses with Microsoft Exchange Server Intelligent Message Filter and Sender ID.
  • Support larger mailboxes with the raised storage limit in Standard Edition.
  • Simplify public folder administration
  • Get your e-mail faster when on the go.
  • Access contact information wirelessly.
  • Gain more mobile e-mail security options.
  • Migrate with peace of mind with fully supported tools to move from GroupWise.
  • Extend server consolidation with optimized cached mode.

Warning: Exchange is the core of your SBS server, if you break it it will affect other components such as your ability to receive SharePoint alerts and monitoring reports. But your users will first notice that they can't get any email. So please be cautious, test the upgrade in a virtual server or a spare machine and contact a local Microsoft Certified Small Business Specialist if any of this sounds mysterious. Process is fairly trivial but if you are not comfortable making these changes you should seek expert help.

Obtaining and preparing for Exchange 2003 SP2

Download Exchange 2003 SP2 in the language of your choice from Microsoft. You can also order the service pack on CD for $5 shipping charge.

Download Site:

Mobility Warning: Please keep in mind that as I am writing this article most PocketPC/SmartPhone features will be worthless because they require The Messaging & Security Feature Pack for Windows Mobile 5.0, a separate piece of software not available for download. This software will be released by your phone manufacturer and/or carrier so until that happens you will not have the wonderful things like ability to push messages or manage your smartphone. Furthermore, these features are only available on Windows Mobile 5, so if your phone is more than two months old you will likely never see the benefit of these features.

Before you do anything else make sure you backup at least your message store. This way if you completely obliterate your SBS/Exchange you at least will not lose any of your email. Exchange backup in SBS is very simple: Click on Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Backup. Start in a Wizard Mode, select to Back up files and settings, elect to Let me choose what to back up, expand the Microsoft Exchange Server, your Server Name (ex: HQ), and check the Microsoft Information Store. Allow the backup process to finish and copy it off to another system, USB drive or any other removable/remote media. Basic CYA procedure.

Now the following goes without saying, which is why I must stress it in bold: Read the release notes.

Contact your security software vendors (antispam, antivirus, antispyware, antimail) and Exchange accessory makers (backup software, store defragmentation software, storage services) and make sure their products have been tested and certified to run on Exchange 2003 SP2. If so, proceed, if not - wait till your support software is up to date.

Vendor Notices:
"I just spoke to Symantec and it is at this time an unsupported patch, they have not completed testing on it yet." -- Andy Goodman, SBS-MVP, MCP, MSA
"Early reports indicate things are fine with Trend." - Kevin Weilbacher, SBS-MVP

Now that you know what you're getting yourself into and what to expect, lets get on with the show. First, follow the best practices. Make a backup of your system. Disconnect the system from the network. Make sure you can reboot the system without any problems. If you have stability issues with your server already, trust me, service pack will not make them any better. Shut down all the Exchange accessories: antivirus, antispyware, firewalls, spam protection (several UI studies suggest that people do not read specifics inside of large blocks of text so this is a test of your ability to remove IMF before you start the service pack installation) as well as any other software that may interfere with service pack installation. Do not be alarmed about the security implications; this is why your system is unplugged from the remainder of the network while you install the service pack.

Double click on the service pack executable (E3SP2ENG.EXE, for English) and extract it to your hard drive.

After the service pack is extracted open the new folder and go into E3SP2ENG\setup\i386 directory. Launch update.exe:

Exchange 2003 Service Pack 2 installation for SBS is starting. Give it a second to initialize.

Welcome to the SP2 wizard, it tells you what you're about to do. If these are the droids you are looking for, click Next to continue.

Agree with the license to proceed. Or disagree with it, makes the installation process far simpler (if you do not agree with the license the SP2 setup will terminate.)


Problems you may encounter

Now here we are at the SP2 component selection screen. If you have a checkmark instead of Upgrade under the Action column you are not really reading this article deep enough.

If you have not removed IMF (Intelligent Message Filter) for Exchange 2003 the setup will stop and alert you to do so. How do you go about that?

Well, first make sure you have all the settings for IMF written down (they will be preserved by the setup even after your remove IMF but its nice to remember what you already configured). To find these settings open up your Exchange System Manager (Start > All Programs > Microsoft Exchange > System Manager). Expand the Global Settings and right click on Message Delivery to select properties. Go to the Intelligent Message Filtering tab and write down your Gateway Blocking Configuration and Store Junk E-mail Configuration. Better safe than sorry.

To actually remove the IMF you need to access the Add/Remove Programs control panel (Start > Control Panel > Add/Remove Programs) and find the Microsoft Intelligent Message Filter. Click on Remove and click on OK when you are prompted if you really want to get rid of IMF. Proceed, the Exchange SP2 installs the next generation of IMF.

If you are doing this on a production machine with other users logged in (check out the following prompt will remind you to update you resume. You really should be applying this service pack while being disconnected from the rest of your network. Click on Continue and allow IMF to be removed.

So now IMF is gone. If you encounter any other programs that block your ability to deploy Exchange 2003 SP2 seek help in Microsoft PSS Newsgroups, public SBS lists or forums.

Problem-free Installation of SP2

Now if you have read the procedures and the release notes all the way, this is the first screen you're seeing after you agreed to the license terms. All Exchange components of SBS will be Upgraded. Click Next to continue.

You’ll be presented with a summary of what is about to be upgraded. Next to continue.

Installation wizard starts the installation, giving you some time to get a drink. This deployment inside of my Virtual Server took roughly 13 minutes to complete. Try to look busy, remember, nobody in your office can access email so it is going to look really bad if you're supposedly upgrading the server yet hanging out at the soda machine.

Exchange SP2 setup stops, upgrades and restarts all the necessary services. No reboot necessary, you're now running Microsoft Exchange SP2 on SBS 2003. Just to check, open up Exchange System Manager, expand Servers, open the properties of your server. You should see Exchange Version 6.5 (Build 7638.2: Service Pack 2). Almost done.

Post-install Maintenance

What do you mean? It worked! I'm done, yay! Not so fast.

First re-enable all of your security software and make sure it actually works (or contact the vendor if you encounter issues). Create a new complete backup set. Reconnect the system to the network and test the configuration. Now you're (not done) ready to configure all the new services and features Exchange 2003 SP2 provides. Your users can get back to their business and you can explore what is new.

Taking full advantage of Exchange 2003 SP2

I'll be updating this blog over the next few days with articles on Exchange SP2 features and how to properly configure them on SBS 2003. Subscribe to the blog rss feed or just check this page every other day. I'm in the process of writing the following articles at the moment:

  • How to publish your SenderID/SPF Records
  • How to increase your Store size with Exchange SP2 on SBS
  • Customizing new IMF

... and few others so check back here in a week to find out how to make the most out of Exchange SP2.

Good luck with Exchange 2003 SP2.


Read my other Exchange articles:

Publishing SenderID records for Exchange SP2 IMFv2
Enabling IMF 2 in Exchange 2003 SP2
Changing Exchange 2003 Store Database Limits
Exchange 2003 SP2 for SBS
Modifying the Outlook Web Access Login Page
Disabling NDR (non-delivery reports) on Exchange 2003
Setting up Exchange 2003 as an ATRN Client
Setting up Exchange 2003 as an ATRN Server


Additional Resources

Exchange 2003 SP2 Webcasts
Top 10 Reasons to Install Exchange Server 2003 SP2
Exchange Server 2003 SP2 Release Notes
What Is New in Exchange Server 2003
Exchange Server 2003 Support for Mobile Device







Divider Divider