Updated schedule of Exchange Anti-spam Filter Updates

I wanted to take a moment to get out the latest information concerning Exchange Anti-Spam Filters for the different Exchange products that have been released. This definitely will not answer all the questions but it should help in clarifying things that you may notice changing over the next couple of weeks as we begin publishing Anti-spam Filter updates for Exchange Server 2010 product targeting the Standard CAL configuration.

Exchange Server 2003 Anti-spam Filter Updates

I previously discussed Demystifying Exchange Server 2003 SP2 IMF Updates in detail many moons ago. The IMF Updates for Exchange Server 2003 will only published on the third Wednesday of the month moving forward. Previously, it was being offered twice a month on the first and second Wednesday of the month.

Exchange Server 2007 Anti-spam Filter Updates

In preparation of releasing Anti-Spam updates for Exchange Server 2010 in the very near future, I would like to take a moment to remind that Enabling Forefront Security Anti-spam Updates is a good article to read for understanding how to enable Anti-Spam updates. There are other articles on the internet and this is the one that caught my attention. We should have updates to the instructions in the near future if it hasn't been done already to reflect how to configure Exchange Server 2010.

I would like to point out that for Exchange Server 2007, the publishing of Anti-Spam updates for the Standard CAL will still be once every two weeks and the Enterprise CAL updates will still be offered daily.

Exchange Server 2010 Anti-spam Filter Updates

For Exchange Server 2010, the Standard CAL spam definition updates will become available over the next couple of days and will be published twice a month from that point on. Exchange Server 2010 Enterprise CAL anti-spam definition updates will not be provided by Microsoft Update. They will be made available via Forefront Security for Exchange.

Exchange Server 2007

Exchange Server 2010

Update Type





Filter definitions




Via Forefront

Spam signatures




Via Forefront

IP Reputation




Via Forefront

** WSUS Administrators **

For the WSUS administrators, you may notice the previous Product Classification "Exchange Server 2007 Anti-spam" is now "Exchange Server 2007 and Above Anti-spam". Over the next few weeks, you will see this name change again once more to "Microsoft Exchange Standard Anti-spam Updates" once the change is allowed to go live. We also published the first Exchange Server 2010 category and you should be seeing that listed with the other Product Classifications. These changes were done to make the above possible.


- Scott Roberts (Exchange)

Comments (14)
  1. Mike Crowley says:

    Is the new Forefront for Exchange out of beta/rc?  If not, will it be by the time Exchange 2010 hits the tubes?

  2. Andy says:

    Using the standard license, do you have any way to automatically update the spam filter without having Windows update install automatically?  I am asking because I have disabled automatic install after a pre-release version of Rollup 4 installed on my servers.

  3. Uwe says:

    Is Forefront than part of the Exchange 2010 Enterprise Licence or is this just a new way to sqeeze more money out of the customers by forcing them to also buy Forefront? That would reduce my chances to make the decision makers in my company to move to 2010 extremely.

  4. bink says:

    What if Exchange 2010 enterprise is used without an edge server, but anti-spam agent on the Transport server?

  5. Scott Roberts (Exchange) says:

    Andy, You can go to http://catalog.update.microsoft.com/ and download it manually. You can also write to the WU API yourself and get it downloaded. Look at my previous Exchange 2003 IMF blog for an old vbscript for that product. I will work on a quick blog post provide a coding examples for this.

  6. Scott Landry (MSFT) says:

    @Bink – Yes, you can install the anti-spam agents on hub transport role, same as before.

    @Andy – Should have a blog coming out about this any day now.  Check back, or ping me (dot between first & last) and I’ll forward it along.

    @Uew – Basic antispam is part of Exchange Standard CAL as it has been.  Adding Forefront would require the Enterprise CAL, but check the website and your sales folks for information.    http://www.microsoft.com/calsuites/enterprise_product.mspx

  7. alex says:

    Scott can you please clarify further your answers to Bink, Uwe and myself.

    As the article explains in Exchange 2007 Enterprise, the updates are available even if Forefront is not installed.

    Thus a company could choose to stick to the built-in anti-spam without any further cost.

    With Exchange 2010 Enterprise unless you purchase Forefront you get no updates. So my conclusion is that out-of-the-box Exchange 2010 Enterprise has inferior anit-spam functionality.

    I hope to be wrong and would appreciate a clear answer.

  8. Jeremy de Souza (MSFT) says:

    You do get Forefront as part of the Enterprise CAL license in 2007 and 2010.

    In Exchange 2007, Smartscreen was the spam filter in both standard and enterprise.

    In Exchange 2010, smartscreen is the spam filter in standard and Forefront is the filter in enterprise.

    Exchange 2010 enterprise actually has better anti-spam functionality.

  9. alex says:

    Thanks for your answer Jeremy. Our clients are still running on Ex 2003 so probably this is why I am not fully understanding you.

    My confusion is a bit related to the fact that Exchange is available in two editions Enterprise and Standard.

    But you can then also have a mix of Enterprise CALs and Standard CALs.

    Let’s consider some scenarios:

    1. Exchange 2010 Standard Edition with a mix of Standard CALs and Enterprise CALs

    2. Exchange 2010 Enterprise Edition with a mix of Standard CALs and Enterprise CALs

    The question is what type of anti-spam filtering will Standard CAL users get?

    Will there be 2 different spam filters one handling emails addressed to Standard CAL recipients and another (forefront) to Enterprise CAL recipients?

  10. alex says:

    Any answers to my last question? Thanks for your help.

  11. Dan_IT says:

    It’s possibly misleading to say that Exchange 2007 updates are offered daily. The logs on my test server which is a 2007 Enterprise edition Hub Transport server with the anti-spam component added shows that the last two updates were the 15th and 16th of October, but nothing since then. So it’s been ~ a week since a new update was published, either that or my system just isn’t checking daily like an Enterprise edition should.

    So possibly revise the statements to say the updates are checked daily by the server, but only downloaded *if* there is an updated version?

  12. joseph says:

    Hi there,

    may i ask a question regarding enable anti-spam auto update, is it possible if i can use auto update anti-spam data from exchange 2007 enterprise to exchange 2007 standard? is there any effect for my exchange 2007 anti-spam?

    (FYI, i am using anti spam on hub transport not on edge transport)

    because when i ran this command on my exchange shell "Enable-AntispamUpdates -Identity SERVER01 -IPReputationUpdatesEnabled $True -UpdateMode Automatic -SpamSignatureUpdatesEnabled $True"

    i receive anti-spam updated every day but for exchange 2007 enterprise (my exchange is standard edition) not standard edition.

    Thank you!

  13. Larry says:

    Since the IMF update file has shrunk to 4.7MB from a previous 7+MB,

    the file cannot be applied to Exchange 2003 Enterprise. The error message is the ‘File cannot be found’. Is there any change to the procedure?

  14. Scott (Exchange) says:

    Nothing has changed on our end. Can you generate a log file of the failed install and post it? update.exe /? will show the logfile options. You can email it to scotro <insert microsoft address with a com at the end>  and I can look at it that logfile.

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