If you are considering deploying the latest Exchange on the
latest version of Windows Server, be aware there's a major and
yet unfixed bug.
Sometime the latest is not the greatest, and occasionally the
"leading edge" becomes the "cutting edge" which
quickly becomes the "bleeding edge" and that's not
good for anyone. While I am all for running out and trying the
latest versions of any product Redmond produces, if you are
considering deployment of Exchange 2016 on Windows Server 2016,
And if you have already done this, like I did, and wondering why
you keep having problems, you are not going crazy –
there's a bug. And it's a pretty big bug, considering
Server 2016 is the newest server operating system and Exchange 2016
is the latest version of the flagship Microsoft product, with the
third cumulative update CU3 released on September 20th
2016 (build number 15.01.0544.027).
The bug exists between the CU3 version and IIS in Server 2016.
When you install Exchange 2016 CU3 on to Windows Server 2016, or
you upgrade an existing Exchange 2016 running on Server 2016 to
CU3, you will encounter somewhat random but frequent crashes of the
W3WP.exe process, which is the executable for IIS. Based on some
independent reports, this issue doesn't appear on standalone
servers, but does on deployments with created database availability
groups (DAG). And because IIS is affected, any HTTP-based
protocols, like ActiveSync, OWA and remote PowerShell, experience
The Exchange Team and the Windows Team are working extensively
to run this bug down and stomp it out, but currently there is no
fix either in the form of a readily downloadable update or even a
custom fix. It's a bug that, if you're in the bad position
of already being in this situation, requires you to uninstall CU3
at best, or even revert to Windows Server 2012 R2 if moving back to
older Exchange versions is not an option. For those who haven't
done their upgrades or new installs yet, the best advice is to
At present, there is no fix for this, and the latest guidance
from Microsoft is to delay deploying Exchange Server 2016 to
Windows Server 2016. An update will be forthcoming, and that may be
as soon as December's patch Tuesday next week. But until that
patch is released, you really don't want to go against
Microsoft's advice on this, particularly since it came direct
from the Exchange team.
We will keep an eye out and post to the blog as soon as this
issue has an available patch, and odds are good that we will see
Exchange 2016 CU4 at the same time. If you are already running
Exchange 2016 CU2 in Windows Server 2016, stay put for now. Nobody
wants to run an unpatched server, but since CU2 is N-1, it's
still supported, and you can skip straight to CU4 when it
Watch this space and GFI Software's social media profiles
for updates, as we'll notify you as soon as we get an update on
this. And if you're by any case unsure which version you're
currently running and want to view the build number of the version
of Exchange 2016 that you're running, run the following command
in the Exchange Management Shell:
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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