Exchange Server 2007 and leap year day Feb 29 2008…


EDIT 4/3/2009: We wanted to update this blog post to say that this problem has been fixed in Exchange 2007 SP1 RU5. For more information, please see KB 949893.

We have been made aware that some of our Exchange 2007 customers have been experiencing the following issue today:

When trying to make certain configuration changes such as new-mailbox or enable-mailbox, certain set of our customers would receive the following error:

“The Exchange server address list service failed to respond. This could be because of an address list or email address policy configuration error.”

Additionally, if you have attempted to set up new Exchange 2007 servers today, your setup might have failed because of the same error.

After investigation of this problem we have learned that this problem would occur only if you have started or restarted the Microsoft Exchange System Attendant service between 12:00AM UTC , Feb 29, 2008 and 12:00AM UTC, Mar 1, 2008. It is important to note that the times  involved are UTC, not local server time.

If you are impacted by this, all that you have to do is restart the Microsoft Exchange System Attendant service after the midnight UTC, March 1, 2008. Restart of the System Attendant will not disrupt your Information Store service.

We are working on a permanent fix for this and will update this blog post when it becomes available.

Nino Bilic

Comments (31)
  1. Anthony says:

    Guys….yesterday took years off my life as I thought our infrastructure was busted….spent all day on this trying to work out what was going on…endless ADSI editing etc…WOW!!

    We had existing 2003 LDAP filters for our AL’s and GAL’s mixed in with the new filters….and I thought one of those was responsibly…I blew away all my EmailFilters etc…again WOW!

    Information that would have been handy yesterday!!! :)

    Mind you I am massively relaxed now….

    Anthony

    anthony@yourasp.com.au

  2. Dustin Shepherd says:

    What a day. I’ll sleep like a baby tonight.

  3. Jeff says:

    Nice.  I blogged about this four hours before this post.

    First a DST problem that "snuck up" on everyone after knowing about it for two years, and now those pesky leap days.  Well, at least you have four years to fix this one.

  4. Dave Fuller says:

    New Exchange 2007 install yesterday. Built the servers, all working fantastic during the week. Took them to site Friday, 11am tried to add users – failed. Spent 8 hours trying to fix it, removed exchange, in and out of adsiedit, stripped it all clean and reinstalled. Same problem. Left site tired, depressed and confused with a plan to reload the infrastructure on Monday.

    Tried to add a user at 9am this morning, March 1st and worked like a dream. Speechless.

  5. Gez says:

    Un-Bloody-Believable !!!!!!!

    Just spent the best part of 9 hours searching the web and trying to work out what happened. an earlier warning would have been much appreciated.

    Thanks for finding out the problem though, again another admin that can now sleep tonight and I might be able to salvage the weekend.

  6. Martin Mayrhofer says:

    The same problem in Austria.

    Sent about 6 hours, rebooted the servers, tried adsiedit to fix it.

    Now you have four years time for the hotfix. Shoud be enough.

  7. gmatteson says:

    WOW. I just took 10 years off my life yesterday from that stress trying to scoure google for a solution! ha, if feels good to know I wasn’t the only one :)

  8. Tony says:

    Same here…in middle of two week long 1500 user migration…800 done without a snag. Of course 3/29 was Senior Leadership move day…and we hit this issue. Spent 5 hours on phone with support only to learn about this date bug. I can’t wait untill Monday when I have to give a root cause report and all the anti-microsoft guys pile on about how they are not an Enterprise App.

  9. Duncan Smart says:

    "We are working on a fix for this" – don’t rush, you’ve got another 4 years now…

  10. Gus says:

    Also impacted by this oversight on Friday. Nice to know that it will be addressed.

    Now…. How about giving us back Exmerge!

  11. Chris Warwick says:

    Unbelievable that a product as mature and strategic as E2k7 should have a leap year bug.  Totally unbelievable!  I mean, it’s not as if you even have to go anywhere away from the date APIs that handle these things automatically for you.  Did someone hardcode 28 days in February of something.  Sheesh:-(

  12. sog says:

    Reluctantly installed 2007 exchange server after suggesting to our client that it was not mature enough but they wanted the shiny new exchange server.  Was just about to leave the site on Friday (29th in Australia) and users were complaining of mail not getting in as we disabled all linked accounts on their old Domain.  

    This totally trashed the install.  Now we are having the pain of removing exchange and reinstalling.  

    Thanks MicroCrisis.  First Vista and now this!

  13. Trix says:

    What a laugh. Just serves to prove the old adage – don’t install any MS product in the first year after release. Our Exch 2007 install is projected for 2009 – thank god.

  14. Anthony says:

    We installed Exchange 2007 into full production in a hosted environment one month after RTM. It’s held up perfectly until this little snag. Granted it’s caused lots of pain and suffering for us…but Exchange 2007 is as solid as it gets!

  15. Maurice Brow (south africa) says:

    All i want to know is there any more of these little bugs  that we will have to find out by accident. at 23:30 localtime i found another blog by luck that told me about this problem

  16. I was affected in Germany to. Today, after a restart of the SA, the error is gone. Verry strange error. I will take a day off on next leap year ;-)  

  17. Lothar Moosmann says:

    I never saw something like this before. I tried to install the first Exchangeserver 2007 within a 2003 Organisation on friday. I installed transport and access role, but it failed to install mailbox role with this error message. Fortunately i found this website this morning. Thanks!

  18. Ronald says:

    I think this just shows how far MS has fallen in their products and testing. Exchange 2007 RTM was missing a bunch of features which got shoehorned into SP1. Vista, even with SP1, is a disaster.

    Seriously MS, you are royally pissing off your IT followers and I’m sick of this crap. Do you people NOT test your software? Seems like thorough testing of leap dates would have been ingrained in MS test procedures for decades….

    Whoever developed the test procedures or didn’t do adequate testing should be assigned another job that does not relate to software.

  19. Marie Rubio says:

    Thanks for this post.  What a Friday I had, so now back at the client to research the error again.  Tried to create a new mailbox again (hoping some magic happened over the weekend) and same error.  THis was the third post I saw on the error, and couldn’t believe that simply restarted the SA service would do it, but VIOLA!

    Good gracious.  I am seriously afraid of what will happen to this server on April 1 !!!!!!  

    Marie

  20. Robert says:

    Heads up Microsoft: only 92 years left to prepare until rollover to year 2100. Last century that was a real pain.

    This does make me happy I don’t have to deal with E2K7 until late 2008 or 2009. Whew.

  21. Steve says:

    The DST issue was so bad because of an incredibly poor patching application and an ever-changing TechNet article (what…were’nt there like 30 updates in the first 30 days…including a major order change after about revision 5). Now we have a Leap Year date problem.

    …and I agree with another poster….give us back exmerge! you took away an incredibly important toolset and import-mailbox is not even close. Comeon guys…stop with the script-only things already. This is Windows. Give us GUI too!

  22. Anthony says:

    Geez there are a lot of whingers out there.

    LLLEEEAVE MICROSOFT ALLLONE!!

    No, in all seriousness, I think those IT guys out there wishing for perfect bug free software are living in a fantasy world.

    PS. Powershell is the best innovation in years..and if any of you took the time to learn how to manipulate Exchange 2007 with it, you would realize the ease of use and time saving benefits of it.

  23. CY says:

    To Anthony:

    No, we are not expecting 100% bug free software. But this is a leap year bug we are talking about, not some obscure bug hidden in some dll.

    I would expect a software company worth half a grain of salt with a testing system to root out this kind of problem before RTM. And yes, I am a long time Microsoft supporter.

    Yes I agree with you Powershell is great, but I also agree with that others we need a GUI alternative.

    Cheers

  24. Mcsee says:

    Have you guys thought seriously about having a Time Framework for every MS product ?

    Next Leap Year I wish Excel, Word, Exchange etc.. to fail. All of them or none

  25. Chris Mace says:

    Well I am glad to say that it didnt effect us at all… of course we dont setup new users everyday. But it would be great to have this fixed before the nest leapday. Just my .02

  26. MCSE says:

    We spent about 4 hours on this issue- We had applied the Exchange rollup patch the night before and though it was the issue.

    Luckily someone on Experts Exchange set the date on his test server one day ahead and let us all know that the fix was to wait a day.

    Regardless, we couldn’t get our work done on Friday- not a good day in the IT dept!

  27. Elie says:

    Its a good thing I directly found the fix on this site ;)..

    Who would have guessed the solution.

    The server has been on since Feb 27 so the issue got solved easily.

    Thanks msexchangeteam !

  28. tadda says:

    Anthony:

    It is not whinging to expect the messaging server to understand leap years.  It is grossly offensive that it shipped with this bug; this has cost many organizations time and money and many people personal time that they cannot get back.

    Seeing as the concept of the leap year goes back to Julius Caesar’s time (the Julian Calendar), it is not at all unreasonable to expect that an application that deals with calendaring and scheduling released better than 2000 years after the introduction of a predictable intercalary day should not be put into an apparent error state by it.

    Also, powershell is not all that innovative – it owes a tremendous amount to *nix shells (though the whole object oriented bit is cool and new-ish) from decades ago.

    Please go back under your bridge.

    Exchange Team:  thank you for releasing this information in a timely fashion, we look forward to the fix being released.

  29. tadda says:

    @ Steve and others calling for ExMerge’s return.

    Check out the Export-Mailbox cmdlet, available with Service Pack 1.

  30. Dave_mountain_bound says:

    It is by coiencidence that I install SP1 2 days prior and was sure that my legacy policy string was busted.  Glad I found the forum before trashing anything..

  31. Michel P. - GTI says:

    I am SOOOO glad now that System Attendant is not restarting automatically after a reboot … and that I forgot to restart it on last Feb.29 !! Thanks for that little bug on SA !!

Comments are closed.