Microsoft End of Life Dates – Mark Your Calendars!

Where is 2012 going?  It seems like just yesterday I filed away my planner for 2011 and crack open that fresh page to January 2012. Now that we are racing towards Spring, you might want to highlight a few of these special dates for the future.

Here are some future “end of life” dates for some Microsoft products you might still have floating around on your network.  Some will be supported for several more years, but it never hurts to keep your eye on the horizon.

These dates are the end of support life for the product as a whole (no more extended support), so start thinking about your budget cycles and internal support needs for the next few years.

Windows XP – 4/8/2014
Server 2003 – 7/14/2015
Windows Vista – 4/11/2017

Exchange Server 2007 – 4/11/2017
SQL Server 2000 – 4/9/2013
SQL Server 2005 – 4/12/2016

Office 2003 – 4/8/2014
Office 2007 – 10/10/2017

These dates are for specific service packs for these products, so be sure to install the latest available service pack, if you haven’t already.

SQL Server 2005 SP 3 -1/10/2012
Exchange 2010 SP 1 – 1/8/2013
Office 2007 SP 2 – 1/8/2013

For more information about other Microsoft Server products, check out the Lifecycle Info for Server Products list. – http://support.microsoft.com/gp/lifeSelectServ

** 11/21/14 Update **

For some current end of life dates – visit this post.  Interested in learning more about getting away from on-prem Exchange and Office?  Check out these courses from the Microsoft Virtual Academy –

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You Can’t Send That From Here

Recently, an end user of mine was getting immediate NDR messages when sending to an outside party with the error message of “None of your e-mail accounts could send to this recipient.”

Normally, I chalk these type of issues up to a temporary problem with the external server, but the fact that it was an immediate NDR indicated it was some type of internal problem. Also, the language of the error message seemed odd, as our users only have one email account and aren’t configuring their office Outlook clients to connect to other POP mail services.

While my research didn’t turn up the exact scenerio my end user was seeing, it came down to the fact that he replied to a recent email using the “mailto” address link from a previous message that had imbedded the “mailto:” in the email address and Outlook 2007 was mishandling it in some way.

The link had then updated his Outlook autocomplete file to include the “mailto”, so every time he tried to send something else to same address, the error reoccured. We had to delete the autocomplete entry and retype the email address to make sure everything worked properly again.

Their is a hotfix (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2475888) that address several issues, including this one.I didn’t apply the provided fix at this time, since the issue has only come up once so far. But I’ll be on the lookout for more of this in case a mass deployment of the fix is required for our desktops.

Looking for User Training for Windows and Office? Check out ELF.

Looking for a way to provide tips about Windows 7 or Office at your office? The Microsoft Enterprise Learning Framework gives you fast access to information that you can share with users regarding the deployment and usage of Windows client operating systems and office applications.  Walk through a few steps, select the OS and applications that you need, and then review the list of articles and short videos that you can share as you deploy new software.
All the links lead to content that is available on online, but its neatly organized in a way you can share with information workers in your organization.  According to the Microsoft site, you can use ELF for a variety of purposes:

  1. As part of your deployment communication plan. Select the timeframe (for example, a month before deployment, a week after deployment) and category of employee (for example, Information Workers) and then generate a sample e-mail with topic recommendations for your employees.
  2. To identify a few key learning topics for a particular feature, such as Search. For example, you could include links to Windows Online Help topics about the Search feature on your corporate intranet site.
  3. Any time, to get ideas for tips-and-tricks topics for newsletters, your intranet support site or lunch-and-learn presentations. 

Finally, need documentation for some of your own applications so you can share tips with others?  Try using the Problem Steps Recorder that’s included with Windows 7.  Not only a great way to troubleshoot issues, you can use the tool to capture screen shots with captions that you can use as a starting point for your own instructional documents.

Error Messages: When they could be more helpful…

The last few weeks I’ve been tripped up by this odd issue with connecting calendars in SharePoint to Outlook 2007. The problem was following me from machine to machine, which made it particularly troublesome. Other people I tested with could properly connect to the calendars, so I knew it wasn’t a show-stopper for our SharePoint (WSS 3.0) roll out, but I knew I’d need to get it solved at some point.

The only two symptoms I had that seemed worth any salt was the fact that the “sharepoint.pst” file wasn’t being created and Outlook would throw an Informational Event in the Application log, that stated “Operation Failed” (Event 27). So which operation was failing?

Turns out we had an odd collection of things going on that contributed:

  1. An Office GPO set a while back during our Office 2007 deployment defaulted newly created PST files to sub-folder in the user’s home folder called “outlook” (Ex. home\outlook)
  2. Several users (including myself) had an unexplained file named “outlook” (no extension) of 265MB in size in their home folders.
  3. Users (like me) who didn’t use PST files or had their PST files in a different location before the policy was applied.

The GPO policy wouldn’t have been an issue, if not for the random “outlook” file that was blocking the creation of the sub-folder for the sharepoint.pst placement. (Bad default PST file creation after the software upgrade from Office 2003? Failed personal mailbox creation if the server/username couldn’t be resolved for some reason?)

The Windows operating system will allow the creation of folders that match filenames as long as the file has a file type extension on it, but if the file doesn’t have an extension it’s not possible to create a folder of the same name. If this problem occurs in Windows Explorer, an error message will pop up.

However when Outlook 2007 was confronted with the inability to create the sub-folder, it failed in a mostly silent fashion – providing only the “operation failed” message, without any additional information that would have been valuable in the moment. A error window or line in that application log error detailing the path to where the sharepoint.pst file was supposed to go would have made the error quick and easy to resolve.