Microsoft has released Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 1.  Organizations already running Exchange Server 2010 (RTM) can upgrade to Service Pack 1, however the upgrade must be planned out properly to ensure a successful outcome.

Preparing for Exchange Server 2010 SP1

One of the first issues encountered with Exchange 2010 Service Pack 1 was the additional hotfixes required for Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 before Exchange 2010 SP1 could be installed.

At the time of this writing these hotfixes were not available from the Microsoft Support website, and need to be obtained through various hotfix request channels.  The hotfixes are fully supported though and are expected to be in the next service pack releases for Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2.

Note: some websites have made available ZIP files containing all of the required hotfixes.  I strongly advice you not to obtain the hotfixes from any source other than Microsoft directly, because of the risk that these third parties may be deliberately or inadvertently hosting malware-infected versions of the files.  If you have multiple servers to update just download the files once and keep them stored somewhere handy.

For Windows Server 2008 (not R2) the following hotfixes are needed:

  • 979744 – A .NET Framework 2.0-based Multi-AppDomain application stops responding when you run the application
  • 977624 – AD RMS clients do not authenticate federated identity providers in Windows Server 2008 or in Windows Vista. Without this update, Active Directory Rights Management Services (AD RMS) features may stop working
  • 979917 – Two issues occur when you deploy an ASP.NET 2.0-based application on a server that is running IIS 7.0 or IIS 7.5 in Integrated mode
  • 973136 – FIX: ArgumentNullException exception error message when a .NET Framework 2.0 SP2-based application tries to process a response with zero-length content to an asynchronous ASP.NET Web service request: “Value cannot be null”.
  • 977592 – RPC over HTTP clients cannot connect to the Windows Server 2008 RPC over HTTP servers that have RPC load balancing enabled.

982867 – WCF services that are hosted by computers together with a NLB fail in .NET Framework 3.5 SP1

For Windows Server 2008 R2 the following hotfixes are needed:

  • 979744 – A .NET Framework 2.0-based Multi-AppDomain application stops responding when you run the application
  • 983440 – An ASP.NET 2.0 hotfix rollup package is available for Windows 7 and for Windows Server 2008 R2
  • 979099 – An update is available to remove the application manifest expiry feature from AD RMS clients.
  • 982867 – WCF services that are hosted by computers together with a NLB fail in .NET Framework 3.5 SP1
  • 977020 – FIX: An application that is based on the Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 Service Pack 2 and that invokes a Web service call asynchronously throws an exception on a computer that is running Windows 7.

You will also need to download the Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 1 install file.

Exchange 2010 SP1 Upgrade Issues

The Microsoft Exchange Team blog is tracking a list of known issues with Exchange Server 2010 SP1 upgrade.  Before proceeding you should familiarise yourself with that list.

The issues won’t all occur for every organization, and you can’t always mitigate them with prep work.  Some also do not have solutions at the time of this writing, so if those risks are too great for your business then you might rethink the upgrade at this time.

Which Order to Upgrade Servers

Because of the relationship between the various server roles the recommended order of upgrade is:

  1. Edge Transport servers (note, if you are running the Edge Transport server on a Forefront TMG server there is a patch required to fix a known issue)
  2. Client Access servers.  Upgrade the internet-facing Client Access servers first.  If you are running a CAS array see how to upgrade an Exchange 2010 CAS array.
  3. Hub Transport servers.
  4. Mailbox servers.  If you are running a Database Availability Group see how to upgrade an Exchange 2010 DAG.
  5. Unified Messaging servers.

After upgrading the servers you should also upgrade the management tools on administrator workstations.

Note that there is no rolling back from the SP1 upgrade.  If you uninstall the service pack it will remove Exchange entirely from the server, it will not revert to Exchange 2010 RTM.

Upgrading from Exchange Server 2010 RTM to Exchange Server 2010 SP1

Download the Exchange Server 2010 installer and extract the setup files to a folder on your server.  Launch an elevated command prompt and run this command to perform the upgrade.

setup /mode:upgrade /installwindowscomponents

The upgrade will run for a short while, about the same amount of time it took to install the server originally.

Welcome to Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 Unattended Setup

Preparing Exchange Setup

    Copying Setup Files                           COMPLETED

The following server roles will be upgraded
Hub Transport Role
Client Access Role
Management Tools

Performing Microsoft Exchange Server Prerequisite Check

    Configuring Prerequisites                                 COMPLETED
    Organization Checks                                       COMPLETED
    Language Pack Checks                                      COMPLETED
    Hub Transport Role Checks                                 COMPLETED
    Client Access Role Checks                                 COMPLETED

Configuring Microsoft Exchange Server

    Organization Preparation                                  COMPLETED
    Preparing Setup                                           COMPLETED
    Stopping Services                                         COMPLETED
    Language Files                                            COMPLETED
    Removing Exchange Files                                   COMPLETED
    Preparing Files                                           COMPLETED
    Copying Exchange Files                                    COMPLETED
    Language Files                                            COMPLETED
    Restoring Services                                        COMPLETED
    Languages                                                 COMPLETED
    Hub Transport Server Role                                 COMPLETED
    Client Access Server Role                                 COMPLETED
    Exchange Management Tools                                 COMPLETED
    Finalizing Setup                                          COMPLETED

The Microsoft Exchange Server setup operation completed successfully.

About the Author

Paul Cunningham

Paul is a former Microsoft MVP for Office Apps and Services. He works as a consultant, writer, and trainer specializing in Office 365 and Exchange Server. Paul no longer writes for


  1. G.B.

    Can I get a link to download Exchange 2010 SP1 please? The download is no longer available on Microsoft’s website. Thank you!

  2. wahab

    o try to upgrade from RTM to SP3 but i have this error
    Acces to the pathe XXX/bin/defbrkr.dll is denied and when i add permission the installation remove persmession ??
    any help ?

  3. Jon

    Great, thanks.

  4. Jon

    Hello Paul. I’m in a similar scenario as the gentlemen above. I inherited an Exchange 2010 server running on Windows Server 2008 R2. Seeing as you stated we should just upgrade straight to SP3, if I just follow the prereqs listed here:

    should I be ok to proceed? Reason I ask is that in the comments section of that page, there seems to be users pointing out mistakes or missing things from the official Microsoft instructions. Not sure exactly what to trust and don’t want to cause issues that can be avoided.

    Thanks for your great site. Learning on the fly and this site is gold…

    1. Avatar photo
      Paul Cunningham

      There’s no serious issues in those comments as far as I can see. Most upgrades go smoothly. Some go badly, usually due to some other factor (integrated software, configuration problems). Have a roll back plan and a generous maintenance window and you’ll probably be fine.

  5. Sam

    Hi, inherited an Exchange2010 Server (based on on Server2008 SP2 – not R2..) that hasn’t been updated in a while, now trying to do upgrade to SP1 (and SP2 and 3 eventually..) but most of the required hotfixes are no longer available (download links dead or rerouted.. – any idea where I can still get those hotfixes?

    1. Avatar photo
      Paul Cunningham

      You don’t need to upgrade SP1, SP2 and then SP3. You can just go straight to SP3 (and you should, ASAP).

  6. Dave

    We installed Exchange 2010 in Nov 2011. Pretty much left it alone from there. Now want to use the archive resources and see that we need to at least be to SP1.

    Looking to upgrade to SP1, SP2 and possibly SP3.

    Server was last updated from the server side (windows 2008 R2) last December. Given that, would any of the hotfixes above have been included in the updates applied to the server? currenlty the server is on SP1 and it was last updated Dec 2013.

    Any other pitfalls to be aware of given the tardiness of my upgrade path?

  7. Ajay Chanana

    You should upgrade your Exchange 2010 server roles in the following order:

    Client Access
    Hub Transport
    Unified Messaging
    Edge Transport

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