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Random Musings on Exchange and Virtualization

Exchange Support For Windows Server 2012 R2

Exchange Support For Windows Server 2012 R2

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Windows Server 2012 R2 And Exchange Support Previously Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 were released to the TechNet subscriber download centre.   Prior to Windows Server 2012 R2 being tested and validated by the Exchange Product Group, we had asked to pause deployments of 2012 R2 DCs into environments where Exchange was installed. 

Exchange 2013 Service Pack 1, Exchange 2010 SP3 RU5 and Exchange 2007 SP3 RU13 were all released today, the 25th of February 2014.   As announced back in November the Exchange team were working to test and validate Exchange against Windows Server 2012 DCs.   That work has been completed, and the support stance has been updated on TechNet. 

To prevent confusion for folks that may have read this post prior to today’s updated support stance it has been heavily edited to reflect the new information.  Probably not much point showing out-dated stuff, eh?

Walking The Supported Path

TechNet documents the Exchange Product Group’s supported OS for each version of Exchange.  Here are the links for your convenience:

System Requirements Supportability Matrix
2007 2007
2010 2010
2013 2013

There have been a couple of posts in the TechNet forums where people have run into some issues when they have either:

  • Upgraded the OS in place to Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Tried to install Exchange 2010  onto Windows Server 2012 R2

Unfortunately there is not much that can be done to help apart from digging out backups as they are not supported options.

I didn’t list Exchange 2003 as hopefully no one out there is going to be trying that with Server 2012 R2. **


Supported Operating System Platforms

The following tableidentifies the operating system platforms on which each version of Exchange can run. Supported platforms are identified by an X character.

Exchange Supported Operating Systems

You will note that Windows Server 2012 R2 is currently only listed as a supported OS platform for Exchange 2013 SP1.  In addition to this please also note that Windows Server 2012 R2 is listed as a supported Domain Controller for Exchange 2013 SP1, Exchange 2010 SP3 RU5 and Exchange 2007 SP3 RU13 or later builds of each. 

Supported Active Directory Environments

The following tableidentifies the Active Directory environments with which each version of Exchange can communicate. Supported environments are identified by an X character. An Active Directory server refers to both writable global catalog servers and to writable domain controllers. Read-only global catalog servers and read-only domain controllers aren't supported.

Exchange Supported Active Directory Servers

Exchange Supported Domain And Forest Function Levels



Previous update history to this post for full disclosure:

Update  3-10-2013: Added additional note about Domain Controller support

Update 12-11-2013: Added note to indicate TechNet has updated support stance to say Exchange 2013 support  for Windows Server 2012 R2 will be provided by future version of Exchange 2013.

Update 20-11-2013:  Additional details here.

Update 25-2-2014:  Re-wrote this post to reflect the current support stance




** Well you never know I suppose….


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  • Thanks for the clarification.

    I think you might be missing an "R2" in this line: You will note that Windows Server 2012 *R2* is not currently listed


  • I am indeed - thanks muchly Steve!!

    Post has been corrected.  Keeping track of what's in Exchange RUs is easier than getting this R2 business straight :)



  • Is there a planned release date for Exchange Server 2013 SP1 as yet?

  • It's the old adage,  those that know cannot say, and the ones that are talking probably do not know :)



  • Thank you very very much for the Info... you also cleared up for me, if i can have 2012 R2 for my DC's and have 2012 on the exchange... now i know i can ONLY install 2012 on both the DC's and the exchange server

  • No worries Miguel,

    The product group is totally aware of this.  2012 R2 is not even generally available so it will be a wee while before I'd expect to see an announcement.  Stay tuned to the Exchange team blog and twitter handles and they will announce when they are in a position to support this.  



  • Thanks much for this post. This is why I always check first before diving in!

  • You mention not to introduce any 2012 R2 DCs... I did that a week before this post came out but haven't seen any obscure behavior in my Exchange 2013 lab environment. Is there something I should be looking for?


  • Hi Dani,

    While we *may* not expect any issues, until testing has been completed it's an unknown.



  • Good post. Thanks for clarification.

  • Is this a joke?

    As a partner we are forced to update to the latest releases of products, but you are unable to support the latest version of Exchange with Windows 2012 R2? Do your developers not think to test your own applications with the latest operating system releases prior to releasing them to the unsuspecting general public. I for one, am dreading the annual updates that you are suggesting if this is going to be the case with each update. I suggest this needs to be resolved as a matter of urgency!! Furthermore your own "Windows 2012 R2 Known Issues" web page bears no mention to the fact that Exchange is not supported technet.microsoft.com/.../dn387077.aspx

  • @Wayne

    I'm not sure what has you so upset. Exchange 2013 came out well before Windows 2012 R2 and 2012 R2 introduces new technology not programmed into Exchange 2013. Exchange, like many other new servers leverage PowerShell. In Server 2012 PowerShell v3 is the native PowerShell version. Exchange 2013 uses PowerShell v3. Server 2012 R2 uses PowerShell v4 and Exchange 2013 does not, so there is going to have to be some work done on Exchange 2013 to bring it up to support PS v4.

    I've not known a partner to be 'forced' to update to a latest release. As a partner, you should want to update to the latest release, read the supportability matrices, and prepare yourself for the questions that your customers have.

    Hang in there and I’m sure there will be a service pack or CU which addresses Exchange 2013 and support for PowerShell v4.

  • @Tom....As a partner we are made to upgrade to the latest release within 12 months. We are due to upgrade our systems to 2012 within the next two weeks, but R2 has been released so do I......

    A) Wait a few months and upgrade a live infrastructure or B) trust that Microsoft would have their own products tested on their own operating systems and upgrade now on a system that is not live but will be shortly.

    I can forgive Microsoft when 3rd party applications do not work with their products, but for their flagship product to not work with their own operating system is beyond belief. If only their was an alternative!! I appreciate that work "needs to be done" on powershell etc, but surely M$ have had this release for months before the general public.

  • Are there any known problems installing and using 2013 CU2 Exchange Management Tools on a Windows 2012 R2 server to administer Exchange?

  • Also, regarding 2012 R2 domain controllers, your second sentence is not very clear:"...please do not update the OS on your Exchange servers right now or to introduce 2012 R2 DCs."  Does this mean if we have exchange 2013 in our forest we cannot use any DCs that are running 2012 R2?  If we have no 2013 Exchange servers, it is OK to install DCs on 2012 R2?

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