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How to Get Free Hotfixes
Call PSS, push a few buttons, and be polite to the representative.
by Ben Schorr and Jim McBee

Posted April 12, 2004

I found a Microsoft Knowledge Base article that says I need a hotfix and that I should call Product Support Services (PSS). I'm frustrated because it seems like the fix should be free and available without all this hassle.

—Carlton, Miami


Ben: Well Carlton, we can sympathize. When you need something fixed you want to be able to get it fixed right away, and you don't want to have to shell out more money to fix something the vendor should have fixed for free. However, we have good news for you that has nothing to do with our car insurance.

Jim: Ben's right (though I am saving a lot of money on my car insurance these days). If you call PSS, the auto-attendant will tell you which button to press for a hotfix. Press that and you'll be directed to a very short queue (usually there's no wait) for a product support representative who will give you the link to download your hotfix.

Ben: Best of all, there's no charge for it.

I've got a few mailboxes on my Exchange 2000 server that appear to be orphaned—they don't have a user account associated with them. If they're not associated with a user account how can I delete them?

—Eric, New York, NY

Jim: We are assuming you are talking about mailboxes in the Mailboxes container in each mailbox store that have a small red and white "x" over them (Figure 1). Those are deleted mailboxes. It's a feature. Exchange 2000 and 2003 will keep a mailbox for 30 days (by default) after the associated account has been deleted. You can configure this on the Limits property page (Figure 2) of each mailbox store or through a mailbox store policy.

Ben: If the deleted mailboxes are bothering you enough that you can't sleep at night, you can right-click on the deleted mailbox and choose Purge to reclaim the space that mailbox is using immediately.

Jim: However, if you find that the deleted mailboxes are hanging around for longer than the deleted mailbox time, this might mean that nightly online maintenance is not running. Confirm that your backup is not completely overlapping the online maintenance interval for your stores.

I'm trying to install RPC over HTTP so that my remote Outlook users can connect to my Exchange 2003 server without VPNs, but I'm having trouble getting it to work. I know my Exchange server has to be on Windows 2003 for this, but does my front-end server have to be Windows 2003 also?

—April, Bonn, Germany

Jim: Not only does your front-end server have to be on Windows 2003, but your Global Catalog servers have to as well. All mailboxes and public folders you are going to access must be running Exchange 2003 on Windows 2003, as do all front-end servers.

Ben: And don't forget that on the client side you have to be running Windows XP with at least SP1 and all of the latest QFEs, including the fix described in Knowledge Base article 331320.

Jim: Anyone who has configured RPC over HTTP will tell you that it is a little tricky the first time. Microsoft Knowledge Base article 833401 is a good starting point. One important tip I can pass along to you is that the RPC Proxy server doesn't necessarily have to be on an Exchange 2003 server, but it does have to be Windows 2003.

Ben: Another important tip is that the certificate that you use for SSL encryption on the RPC Proxy server must come from a trusted certification authority. If the Outlook client doesn't trust the certificate, then it will not establish a connection.

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