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No Exchange 2007 on Windows 2008 R2 – but why?

UPDATE! (06/22/2010)

Good news — Exchange Server 2007 SP3 was finally released this week with full support for Windows Server 2008 R2. See? That didn’t take so long after all.

UPDATE! (11/05/2009)

It looks like the people have spoken and Microsoft has done an about-face on this issue.

ORIGINAL POST (08/12/2009)

News broke a couple weeks ago that Exchange Server 2007 will not be supported on Windows Server 2008 R2 (and by “broke” I mean the Microsoft Exchange Team casually snuck it into a blog about an SP1 update). This means that while R2 will support Exchange 2007 DCs, organizations migrating to the new server OS will also have to upgrade to Exchange Server 2010.

Upon hearing the news, one tech expert’s immediate reaction was, “Well that’s not going to be a very popular decision!”

So what’s the reason behind this? Well in an emailed statement from Microsoft, we learned that the company’s primary focus right now is on Exchange 2010. You can also read between the lines and theorize that by the time most companies start to adopt Windows 2008 R2 (likely at least a year after its release), Exchange 2010 will be out in full force.

But clearly there is more to it than that. One possible reason is that while Windows Server 2008 R2 is built on PowerShell 2.0, Exchange 2007 has PowerShell 1.0 built-in. Since PowerShell 2.0 is not backward compatible, and it can’t be uninstalled from R2 … well you see where we’re going with this. The conspiracy theorists out there, however, might just view this as a play by Microsoft to force companies into hosting Exchange.

But what do you think? Does this move from Microsoft make good business sense? Or is an upgrade to both Windows Server 2008 R2 and Exchange Server 2010 at the same time too much to ask of their customers? Sound off in the comments section below.

UPDATE! (09/21/2009)

Microsoft’s Nino Bilic has posted more details on this topic at The Microsoft Exchange Team Blog. According to the post, there were two primary reasons for skipping Exchange Server 2007 support with Windows 2008 R2.

The first reason is that testing for this would have caused major delays in the release of Exchange 2007 SP2 (testing which apparently still wouldn’t result in Exchange 2007 being able to take advantage of R2’s new features). Secondly, based on user feedback, Microsoft deemed the primary need was “to support Windows Server 2008 R2 domain controllers in an existing Exchange 2007 deployment, which [they] have done.”

While this certainly clears some things up as to the why, many question still remain. For example, one reader asked how not being able to install Exchange 2007 SP2 will affect Exchange 2010 upgrades.

A discussion has already started in the comments section of the Microsoft post, which might be a good place to get most questions answered for now.

For more information on Exchange Server 2007 and 2010, visit

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Thanks for the great post which explains why my Exchange install on R2 is failing. It's pretty unbelievable that Exchange 2007 won't be supported on 2008 R2, but recalling the feature-incomplete product the Exchange team dumped on us prior to 2007 SP1, it should come as no surprise that they are basically ambushing Exchange admins everywhere with this surprise. What hidden gotchas can we expect in Exchange 2010, I wonder. Speaking from experience now, Exchange 2007 SP1 passes all prerequisites on 2008 R2 RTM, begins to install, fails halfway through the Mailox role portion, refuses to uninstall, leaving a broken half installed copy of Exchange that cannot be removed. Nice job Microsoft!
great update... thanks for this man...