Exchange 2003 issues identified in Windows Phone 7.5

Windows Phone 7.5 users are reporting some quirks with how it interacts with Exchange 2003 servers.  Firstly, when replying to an email using an Exchange 2003 account on a Windows Phone, the original message does not get included in the reply.  What the recipient sees instead is just the header information from the original message (pictured above). 

Another issue identified by Exchange 2003 users involves forwarded emails.  When forwarding a message to someone, the original content gets sent to the recipient as an attachment (pictured below). 

It's unclear why exactly this is happening, but it's certainly causing people frustration.  It's likely due legacy technology Exchange 2003 , which has since seen two newer iterations, Exchange 2007 and the latest, 2010.  Still, given that Exchange 2003 is clearly outdated and that it behooves companies to upgrade, the fact of the matter is that a brand new Microsoft product should interact flawlessly with another Microsoft product.  To add some fuel to the already justifiable fire, let's consider that Microsoft's competitors, namely Android and iPhone, do not have the same bugs.  Microsoft, you have some explaining to do.

NOTE: One commenter on the user voice page says that they are using Exchange 2003 SP2 and they are not experiencing the issue.  The tests I ran where I did have problems were on the same version of Exchange, so perhaps there is some update out there that fixes this. 

The Exchange ActiveSync Client Comparison Table (opens in new tab) on Microsoft TechNet does not list anything prior to Exchange 2003 SP2, so if you have WP7 working with anything older, then a hearty congratulations to you.

ANOTHER NOTE: This issue is being reported in some places as an Outlook issue, which is not the case.  The problem here has something to do with how the phone OS itself and the Exchange server communicate, which does not involve an email client like Outlook.  Though to be fair, when setting up an Exchange account in WP7, the option you choose is called "Outlook."

Source: Microsoft (opens in new tab) (Thanks for the tip, Mike!)

Seth Brodeur
  • I'm having a different issue. My emails just disappeared from my phone randomly. I opened the email hub and it was blank. my email was just there yesterday! lol
  • Pretty sure this has to do with threaded messaging, which only became available in Exchange 2007. So would make sense it wouldn't well with Exchange 2003.
  • The issues occurs whether threading is turned on or off. As old as Exchange 2003 is there is a LOT of servers out there running it still. Since iOS and Android work fine with with Exchange 2003 it's a bit of a black eye for Microsoft to not have this working perfectly.
  • I just tested this and I am experiencing these exact issues. I'm ok with the email attachment, but not the loss of data for replying emails. Where should we go to report this?
  • I'd report it to your Exchange admins that are maintaining a legacy system.
  • Reporting it to an Exchange admin is not going to get the problem resolved. There is nothing an Exchange admin running Exchange 2003 can do to fix it. There is a link in the article to report the problem to Microsoft where it should be done.
  • Even though I'm using Windows Live Mail I'm frustrated with forwarding my Email to others, it is sending an attachment of my orginal mail when instead of whole body.I'm using Samsung Focus with Mango.
  • Yeah, and in business, forwarding an e-mail as an attachment is SERIOUSLY frowned upon, as there is the risk that the person to whom you forward the message will open the attachment, hit reply (thinking they are replying to you), but they mistakenly reply to the original sender of the forwarded message. Embarrassing things, and liablity, can arise, especially when dealing with confidential information, e.g. law practice.
  • How is anyone getting WP7 to work with Exchange? Are you doing this with a corporate system? I can't for the life of me see any way to pull my work emails/calendar down from the server.
  • Pete, you can set up an Exchange account using ActiveSync by going to Settings > Email + Accounts > Add An Account > Outlook. Your company Exchange server must have ActiveSync configured to allow this kind of setup, but if people at work have their mail on iPhones and Androids, then you should be able to as well.
  • ActiveSync wireless push was introduced with Exchange 2003 SP2, which is why you won't see support for earlier versions. Also, Android is notorious for having buggy ActiveSync implementations. I always install TouchDown for my Android clients because of this. IPhone is mostly OK.
  • Correction: Google is notorious for having buggy ActiveSync implementations. Their server-side implementation of EAS for Google Calendar is broken so that all appointments you create automatically assign you as an invite attendee, even if you didn't specify so on the phone. This doesn't happen if you create an appointment through the web.Secondly, their implementation of stars as flags for Gmail works perfectly in their IMAP server, but they don't sync if you use EAS. Google is awful at supporting their "Google Sync" service for all devices, including iOS and Android. I reported these issues about 2 years ago and they still exist.
  • What year is it? 2011 ... yup. What version of exchange are you using? 2003 sp2 ... uh, I think I see your problem. Blame whoever you want but dude, update your frickin ancient software. Do you still run Windows XP on your desktops? Same advice. Move forward.
  • As much as I agree with your sentiment, try getting every small business, whose email is working just fine for them, to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a new Exchange server. Not so easy. :)
  • Tens of thousands of dollars? A small business can get by with one server which will cost at most $5,000.
  • Tens of thousands may be a stretch depending on how small of a business, but the right hardware, software licensing and labor will run you more than $5000. If a business is that small, why have Exchange at all? Just go with hosted email or SaaS at that point.
  • except that most corporations are still using Windows XP as well (sadly)...
  • I noticed this, too.It is bad enough that WP doesn't allow you to forward messages in-line, instead of as an attachment. The work-around was to REPLY (not FORWARD) to the message, then delete the address of the original sender, and add the forwardee. This had the effect of reproducing the forwarded e-mail below your own, i.e. in-line. Now, that workaround is gone as on the header gets forwarded.Hotmail using Exchange Activesync does not behave this way, so the glitch is between WP and Exchange 2003.Fortunately, my firm is upgrading to the current version of Exhchange soon, but MS is really taking a dump on long-time business customers.
  • It's my understanding that Exchange 2003 doesn't support threaded messaging. Isn't that the issue here?Incidentaly:Be careful how you word things in articles... Otherwise you might get people complaining that their Mango doesn't connect to Windows 3.1. Just sayin...In regards to: "Still, given that Exchange 2003 is clearly outdated and that it behooves companies to upgrade, the fact of the matter is that a brand new Microsoft product should interact flawlessly with another Microsoft product."
  • People need to upgrade their exchange servers plain and simple. Exchange 2003? Ffs thats 8 years old. You are going to run into glitches where it doesn't support modern implementations of communication. This stuff isn't future proof. Eventually you do need to move forward. You don't plan on running Win 95 and XP forever either do you? Maybe you do.
  • Anyone know if there's a touchdown style app in the works for wp7?I work for a health care system, and our exchange 2011 servers require device encryption, which iOS and Android provide... But not my wp7. Forget working flawlessly with OLD MS products, it should certainly work with CURRENT products!Oh, and our 10,000 desktops are all running XP... For a little longer... We're preparing a move to 7 next year...
  • I am having issues with Exchange 2003 as well. Yes, I know that it is 8 years old, but it works. We have users that have Droids and iPhones with almost zero complaints. Everyone once in a while I am unable to get email. I then have to go into settings and uncheck email, calendar, and tasks. Outlook will disapear from the home screen. Then under setting I have to enable those options again. After this I will get email again. I will also have issues downloading attached files, excel, word. As mentioned above, droids and iPhones do not have this issue. I also had to import the certificate since we are not using a paid cert. It is annoying.
  • I understand that this is an Exchange issue, not an Office issue, but could this be an extension of the fact that Windows Phone 7.5 no longer supports Office 97-2003 files (.doc, .xls, etc.)? Perhaps this is actually an intentional design feature, not a flaw.
  • It will open legacy Office documents. You just can't save them, because supposedly the phone will break formatting in many documents saved in the legacy formats.
  • I run a current updated Exchange 2003 server (Cheap buyers), it's got every current update.I am not experiencing this issue.If your managing an exchange server that is not on the current update, you should have a very vaild reason, or you should be fired. There is too many holes that could be hacked and your taking a major risk.
  • It will open legacy Office documents. You just can't save them, because supposedly the phone will break formatting in many documents saved in the legacy formats.
  • DavidinCT, if you see this, thank you. I will update ours to see if this fixes the thread disappearing act issue.
  • All, one other bug with running wp7.5 and Exchange 2003 I see is this. When replying using the wp7 device, the reply symbol doesn't get added to the email in your Outlook. so it doesn't look like you replied but you really did using the phone.
    I'll be performing updates over the next few days to our 2003 environment to see if that helps.
    Others, do you think we don't know 2003 is old and outdated? Admins like us are sometimes put in this position because we know how to save a struggling company money by being efficient with less. By not upgrading every time a new "something" is released. I do like the hosting idea though and might consider that eventually.
  • Fully patched and updated our 2003 Exchange server last night. No difference in the issue of truncating email. There is a software update for the phone. I guess we just have to wait for it to come around... :(