Blazing the Windows 2003 SP1 Trail Page 2
The Bad News
There are some definite application incompatibilities and some 'gotchas' in Windows 2003 SP1. Surprisingly, many of the application incompatibilities or 'gotchas' that surface in Windows 2003 SP1 are products from Microsoft! Fortunately, Microsoft has already devised patches and fixes for most of them.
Microsoft suggests waiting to install Windows 2003 SP1 on Small Business Server 2003 servers until SBS 2003 SP1 is available. This is because Windows 2003 SP1 affects Remote Access, Fax Services, and other critical items on SBS servers. The good news is that if you do install Windows 2003 SP1 on an SBS 2003 server, you only need to use the Control Panel - Add/Remove Software to uninstall the service pack and regain functionality of these services.
Windows 2003 SP1 is known to cause issues with Exchange 2003 servers and some products that use Exchange 2003 as part of their messaging functionality. One of these products is Cisco's UNITY, which uses Exchange 2003 Server for its Unified Messaging deployments. Once Windows 2003 SP1 is installed on the Exchange 2003 server, Exchange 2003 is completely unavailable to UNITY. Cisco recommends uninstalling Windows 2003 SP1 to remedy the problem. UNITY 4.0(5) is not affected by this issue, however, this version of UNITY has not been released yet. More about this here.
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If Exchange 2003 is installed in a path other than the default, which is %ProgramFiles%\Exchsrvr, and you use SCW to apply an Exchange Server role policy to your Exchange server, users will not be able to connect to their mailboxes and OWA users may get a 'service unavailable' error until you roll back the policy and manually correct the paths in the Windows Firewall Exceptions tab before re-enabling it. Microsoft has a KB article available for this snafu. Internet Security and Acceleration Server 2000 and 2004 should be updated before SP1 is applied. ISA 2000's Server RPC filter will deny RPC access to computers running Windows Server 2003 with Service Pack 1. Microsoft has a patch to fix this compatibility issue.
For ISA 2004, just make sure ISA 2004 SP1 is installed before you install Windows Server 2003 SP1 to prevent the same RPC filter problem. The fix is already included in ISA 2004 Enterprise.
As with Windows XP SP2, testing Windows 2003 SP1 before installing on production servers is recommended. And even before doing that, check out the Windows Server 2003 SP1 Application Compatibility checklist and contact your hardware and software vendors as appropriate for any necessary updates or workarounds.
This article was originally published on Enterprise Networking Planet.