Thursday, April 28, 2011

Issue with IE9 and the Exchange 2010 Management Console

I ran into this issue today at a customer.  With Internet Explorer 9 installed on the Exchange 2010 server, you cannot close the Exchange Management Console.  When you try to close it, you get the following message: 
You must close all dialog boxes before you can close Exchange Management Console
As of yet, this is unresolved.  See http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/exchangesvradmin/thread/ea4e1ffe-472e-4508-9a14-0735ac6322ca for other reports of the same problem.

The workarounds are to end task mmc.exe every time or uninstall IE9.


10/17/2011 Update:
Finally!  A fix is now available for this issue.

See "A fix for the interoperability issues between Exchange 2007 and 2010 EMC and IE9 is now available" on the Exchange Team blog.

Here is the direct link to the Microsoft download page for the hotfixes.  There are two versions, one for Internet Explorer 9 for Windows Vista SP2 or Server 2008 SP2 and another for Internet Explorer 9 for Windows 7 or Server 2008 R2.


9/20/2011 Update:
Thank you all so much for the continued community efforts on other workarounds, aside from the known Task Manager route.
In terms of an update, a fix has been developed and is undergoing testing and various other processes we have to do prior to releasing updates. The work is being carried out by the IE team and as soon as we can provide information on a release date we are confident with, we'll post again.
Regards
Mark Feetham Senior Program Manager Internet Explorer Product Quality


8/17/2011 Update:

Tony Redmond is chiming in to see if he can carry any weight in resolving this issue and get a fix from Microsoft more quickly.  You can read his article, Why can’t Microsoft get IE9 to work with the Exchange Management Console? 

As I wrote below, my contacts at Microsoft said they are planning to release the fix with a Q4 service update for IE9.  But for most people this is an inordinate amount of time, being that the issue was reported back in April 2011 and has such a painful effect.

I see two problems here. One is the obviously irritating problem itself, and the other is Microsoft's (the company's) lack of response and information about this issue. I almost think the second problem is more important in this case. When so many users are complaining about an issue and there's little or no authoritative response, it's viewed as a failure and customers don't feel the love.

It's even more aggrivating when the IE9 train keeps coming down the track - IE9 is now listed as an important update in WSUS and will be installed automatically on WSUS clients, MS is pushing IE9 whenever and wherever it can, more companies are deploying it in managed environments. etc. The fact that most users affected are admins running the Exchange management tools from their Win7 desktops is mainly lost here.

Yes, we know we can end task the MMC. Yes, we know that it can be solved by uninstalling IE9 (if possible - it's not in managed environments) and ignore the WSUS update. These do nothing to eliminate the irritation. and having Microsoft seemingly ignore customer complaints does not help.

On a side note, it's noteable that Exchange 2010 is useable and stable enough that (relatively) small irritations like this get a lot of press.


Scott Schnoll of the Exchange Team wrote:

OK, so let's talk about some more details.

Susan mentioned this issue has been around since March.  Based on forum threads and emails I have, it looks like late March is when this issue first surfaced.  And then in April, the issue started getting reported more frequently (although at this point not an alarming frequency) because IE9 was released to Microsoft Update.  As it was reported primarily by Exchange admins on both Exchange 2007 and Exchange 2010 and initially only with the EMC, this was initially thought to be an Exchange bug.  But, given the combination of software bits in use (Exchange, MMC, IE and Windows), this could just as easily have been an IE, Windows or MMC bug.  We (Exchange) didn't know at this point, but nonetheless our product quality team and others took ownership of this issue and began an investigation in late April.

After investigating the matter in Exchange and IE, it was determined in early May (May 4, to be specific) that this was actually an MMC bug. However, after discussing the issue with the MMC team, the IE team took ownership of the bug.  It turns out that there was a similar bug they (IE) fixed in Windows, but that fix did not resolve this issue because MMC hosts the mshtml component directly instead of using a web browser control.  So why did the issue appear with IE9, but not, for example, in IE8?  In a nutshell, in IE9, the "Internet Explorer_Hidden" window has a property flag on it that did not exist in IE8 and earlier. MMC checks for this flag in its process and if any remain open, it will prevent the dialog from being closed and report the error message we've all come to hate.

In any event, after working with the MMC team throughout May, the IE team retained ownership of this issue.  Like all companies, Microsoft has a finite amount of resources (time, money, people, tools, etc.).  So, we prioritize the work we do based on a number of criteria.  Like all bugs, this one has a specific priority and severity, and like some bugs, it's current status is active, which means the bug is being actively worked on by one or more people.  It takes time to work out all of the issues with code bug that can span across multiple products.

So, I would say, first, don't bash the IE team.  The actual bug is within the MMC code, and not in IE or Exchange.  The IE team has graciously stepped up to take ownership of this issue and to provide a fix in IE so that MMC (and any other apps similarly situated) are fixed.  I have personally communicated with the PMs and devs that own this issue and I can assure you that they are well aware of your frustration and that their current plans are to aim for this to be included in the December update.  Note, however, that they did not guarantee that, and that I am not guaranteeing that to you.

They did, however, promise to update me late next month as their plans for the December release solidify, so I should know and be able to report back here in a month or so with an answer as to whether or not it will be in the December update.

Some other points worth raising:
 •While many of us monitor these forums regularly, these forums are not a substitution for reporting bugs by contacting CSS.  If you contact CSS, yes they will ask you for a credit card, but if you are reporting a bug, no charges will be made against your credit card.  In other words, calling CSS to report bugs is basically free (except for your time, of course).  But it is the proper and official way to notify Microsoft of bugs like this.
 •We still want you to report these issues in the forums because lots of us monitor these forums and can take action based on them.  But when it comes down to things like prioritizing bug work and stacking bugs, official customer reports via CSS or another proper escalation path are required.
•We have been somewhat vocal about this.  I spoke about this publicly at TechEd North America in May, and internally in July (at an internal conference) so that the field, PFEs, etc., could spread the word, too.
 •But that said, there really hasn't been much to say about it.  We've detailed the workarounds, but we don't have a fix yet.
 •As much as I would like to keep the forums up-to-date on this and every other issue, it simply is not practical to post regular status updates about every single bug.  Not only would that not scale, it would be unmanageable, as well.  That said, I will post back here when I get more information from the IE team in September.
 •IMHO, this is a very minor issue that, while frustrating, is not pervasive, does not cause any damage or data loss, has viable workarounds and is really inconsequential from a day-to-day perspective (hey, just leave MMC open <g>).

These are my own viewpoints and they do not necessarily reflect the viewpoints of Microsoft.  Nonetheless, I hope they help.


6/22/2011 Update:

I've been working with Microsoft via some of my contacts and I finally have a little information to share.

Officially, the statement is:
  1. The IE9 engineering team is aware of the issue and actively triaging it.
  2. They are considering a fix to be delivered later this year.
Unofficially, the issue has been linked to the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) and Internet Explorer 9.   While the issue is primarily in the MMC, the IE9 team can release a fix sooner than the MMC team.   They are cautiously optimistic that a fix will be released in a Q4 2011 service update.

That's all I've got, folks.   Stay tuned.
9:45 AM