Exchange 2003 SP2


I’ve hopefully met many of you at TechEd, IT Forum, or another Exchange community event – but if not, I hope to meet you there soon and I’ll introduce myself now to get it out of the way. I’m the General Manager of the Exchange product team. I’ve been a member of the Exchange team for 4 years now – joining after E2K SP2, and leading the product team for the past 2 years. I love working on Exchange. I love the huge positive impact we have on the productivity of the world. I love working with this Exchange team, which is genuinely a great group of people. And I love how much opportunity there is for us to do more for you, the best group of customers I’ve ever worked with.

So with that… let’s talk E2K3 SP2. Most of our team is focused on Exchange 12 now, but we remain committed to maintaining a steady investment in E2K3 to make it even better over time. SP1 was a great example of our work in this area (with the OWA admin, cross-admin-group mailbox moves, and the automatic bit flip correction in store), followed by ExBPA, and now SP2.

SP2 is imminent, and I’m very excited about this. We are currently running almost all of Microsoft (102,000 mailboxes) on SP2 (with the exception of 1400 people currently running Exchange 12…). As an end-user I couldn’t live without SP2. Likewise, as the Exchange admin for my personal mail, my wife’s and mother’s email – this is a great release.

Well’s what in it? Huge improvements to 5 areas:

Mobile device experiences

We have invested in a big way in mobility features in SP2. For end users, we are introducing direct push technology so that your devices are always up-to-date. For admins, we are introducing features that make device access more secure by enforcing policies including requiring PIN lock, local wipe, and remote wipe. Better compression will significantly cut bandwidth, costs, and latency. We have previously announced our partnerships with palmOne (Treo 650 and LifeDrive already support E2K3), Nokia, Motorola, DataViz, Symbian, and others – so that you should also have more device choices. This is an incredible step forward… of course, I can’t help myself but say – just wait for E12 :-)

I just started carrying a Blue Angel device last week – I can’t leave home without it. For an email addict like myself, this is dangerous stuff.

Anti-spam filtering
I hate spam -- who doesn’t? SP2 is the only anti-spam defense we run here for Microsoft’s corporate mail. We have added Sender-ID support, anti-phishing filtering, and increased the frequency of updates. This is an incredible step forward… of course, I can’t help myself but say – just wait for E12…

Outlook 2003 cached mode experiences.
We decided we needed to invest in the offline address book experience in cached mode to keep up with your requirements when consolidating servers across WANs from the clients. The new speed and efficiency of OAB is looking really promising in our early testing and I look forward to sharing more information on that as we get closer to release. I should add that cached mode was the #2 focus of E2K3 development (after security). We will continue to refine this experience in future release until it is “perfect”.

Public Folder management

I can’t say it any better than P.F. Whitney did in his posting a couple of weeks ago.

Standard edition store size limit
Today’s 16 GB limit is legacy of a decision made in 1997 for Exchange 5.5 when a standard disk drive was 5 GB in size. Today’s world is obviously very different, with large email attachments common and end-user expectations of a 1 GB mailbox. We have heard you loud and clear on this issue, and with SP2, we are increasing the limit to 75 GB. We anticipate a lot of our Standard Edition customers will be very pleased. I understand this news received a hearty applause at the TechEd event this week. Speaking of TechEd, if you’d like to take a look at Steve Ballmer’s keynote and a short video showing off some of our new mobility features, take a look at the links here:

The following days and weeks will include many blog postings drilling into details of the SP2 work. We would love to have help in the final testing of this release. If you are interested in helping out, by putting SP2 into production within your environment, please let us know.


- Terry Myerson

Comments (35)
  1. Kay Sellenrode says:

    Hey this is all great news, and stuff we are waiting for for a long time. I would love to help in the final testing. you can reach me at

  2. A loud "Wahooo!" for the Exchange team! Especially the increase of the storage limit is a big step in the right direction! I also would love to help in getting the release as bug-free as possible… :-)

  3. Benjamin Mateos says:

    Hi Terry,

    Nice work done ! :-D

    All this sounds really interesting… And I don’t mind to test the bits.



  4. Adam Gates says:

    THANKS FOR THE GREAT WORK!!! E23k has been a dream to install, maintain, and support.

    What about Office Communicator and Live Communication Server? Are there any great tie ins on the horizon?

    It would be great to see all communication brought into one interface Email, IM, phone, smoke signal, etc and still include all the ability and collaboration that Exchange includes.

    Thanks for all the effort in growing the online support community this last year. I can not begin to convey how much of a difference it has made supporting Exchange. Thanks again.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Damn… I was going to post about the massive increase to the Exchange database today after my roadshow…

  6. Terry Cook says:

    Can we assume your "Blue Angel" is still running WM2003SE? And if so, are you using it with direct push in SP2? Or will direct push only work with WM2005 as I saw previously reported…somewhere…

  7. Anonymous says:

    TechEd is on in the USA (Orlando, Florida) right now, Steve Ballmer did the opening Keynote which was…

  8. Anonymous says:

    TechEd is on in the USA (Orlando, Florida) right now, Steve Ballmer did the opening Keynote (titled "Enabling…

  9. Mike Smith says:

    Great news! A big leap forward with the DB size limit increase & I look forward to improvements with Cached Mode!!… We would love to help test & report back on SP2.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Terry mentioned this in his post earlier this week, but I think this video is so cool that I want to…

  11. Tim Carmichael says:

    There used to be an exceptionally good partner program on Betaplace, especially around SP1 timeframe, which got us testing our Exchange bits pre-relase, semms like the program just vanished.

  12. Lubomir Hozak says:

    Super, I am looking forward to the new and better OAB sync, we have actually disabled it in our O2K3 deployment. But there is another thing which makes the users much unhappier, and not only them. We have decided to force them to use cache mode, so they cache as much as possible before we will move them across the WAN. The problem is that the offline store is filled backwards, I mean the oldest emails first, what really doesn’t makes sin, the people need the newest mails first to be able to work. We have tought we disable the cache mode soon after O2K3 deployment and check the “Automatically Send and Receive …every 5 minutes” checkbox to allow users see the mailbox online and sync the offline store. But unfortunately we weren’t able to find easy way to change these settings remotely (netlogon, SMS). All has to be done manual through the GUI in outlook options.

    Everything will be much easier if the cached mode saves the newest emails in the offline store first.

  13. David Hunter says:


    After attending Tech-Ed this past week I am very excited to about the new features of SP2.

    Our organization would love to try out SP2 and its new features.

  14. Michael Kirst-Neschwa says:


    i’m intrerested to test a beta, too!

    in germany we have so many trouble with db size… ;-)

    my email:

  15. Christoph Erren says:

    This is great news about E2K3, so I would like to take a look at E2K3Sp2 as well. You can contact me via email:

    Thanks in advance!

  16. Brad Brown says:

    This is great news!! The 75gb Limit will be wonderful!! The 16gb limit has become a big issue with us. I would be willing to try SP2 out! I can be reached at



  17. Cedric Sykes says:

    This is news like to hear. I wouldn’t mind being the 1st to test it either!!!

  18. Anonymous says:

    People in charge of IT departments want the ability to force users to have certain settings on their…

  19. Anonymous says:

    Up on the Exchange Blog, I know you have already read it before reading this, but you should read this…

  20. Ian Murphy says:

    Great news – the 16gb limit was far too small. The only problem now is how to manage with these new huge monolithic edb files. They’ve got to be broken up! Why can’t we have an edb per mailbox or something similar?

    I cannot even imagine trying to defragment a 50gb edb file in one go.

    While I’m here I’d also like to request that some work be done on eseutil to make it more eficient, on the systems I administer it doesn’t manage to top out cpu, network or disk speeds, the program itself seems to have a bottleneck. Ideally it should work at 100% cpu or 100% disk speed… close to the speed of a file copy.



  21. Shawn Anderson says:

    Any chance there was a fix for the 32k limit to rules???? Considering the massive amount of emails that are received now days, this limit is absurd.

    Any way, here is hoping :)

  22. Poomba1 ( says:

    You know I hope you fix somethimng else that I believe is a huge oversight. If you accept a meeting request and there is an attachemnt (like a GIF of a map for directions or a DOC with agenda items), the atttachment doesn NOT sync with the appointment on the device (I’ve tried both DELL and HP PPC2003 2nd edt). This has nothing to do with limiting size of an attachment as many believe. If there is an attachemnt in the calendar item, it should come down to the device.

  23. Ralf says:


    Has anyone information about the store size limit in the SBS2003 edition?

    It would be great to see in enlarged too.


  24. Exchange says:

    Ralf, yes – SBS will also get a size extension. We mentioned it here:

  25. Anonymous says:

    The official Exchange blog has some more information on Exchange 2003 SP2 leaking out.  In particular,…

  26. Emmanuel says:


    i’m interested to test a beta, too!

    we are currently deploying a pilot before a mail mass migration EXCH 5.5 –> EXCH 2003 (2000 mailboxes over 40 countries)and we’d like to test new Mobile Push Technology.

    my email:

  27. Anonymous says:

    After Steve announced SP2 at TechEd Orlando and Terry blogged about it (and so did I), I’ve had quite…

  28. Anonymous says:

    People in charge of IT departments want the ability to force users to have certain settings on their…

  29. claudius says:


    Great news we got here, specially with Mobile and size extension

    Our organization would love to try out SP2 and its new features

    Can be reached at

  30. Martin Kemle says:

    I love the way getting news in this blog. Meanwhile it’s my startpage, incredible news and announcements. I am looking for any blackberry killer applications, the new sp2 features sound like it will help me to stop my board from doing sth. wrong :-)

    So, I am very interested in SP2, my Lab is waiting for it…I can be reached at

    Keep on rockin…


  31. sasteph says:

    Do you know what patches will be included with SP2, I would assume all of them but we are holding out on the IMAP/Log File build up issue from Entourage hoping that it will be in SP2…

  32. Osiris Rosario says:

    We are interested in putting SP2 in our production environment. Please contact at

  33. Mark Leary says:

    I know this is late in the game but we have several interesting production environments from 40 users to 16k users and others in between that we would love to test SP2 in.

  34. ElieM says:

    Hi Terry,

    I would really appreciate to start testing the SP2. I am more interrested in the integration with its Push and Security functionality.

    Can you please advise if Microsoft is taking the responsability to allign all partners (palmOne…) to develop the solution on different mobile platforms or this will be an open green field approach.

  35. Anonymous says:

    As we mentioned before here and here, Exchange 2003 SP2 brings us increased database size limits for…

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