Microsoft has fixed a Y2K-style bug that broke Exchange e-mail

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Microsoft starts 2022 with a look at Y2K errors. Bleeping Computer reports the company has released a temporary fix for a bug that stopped e-mail delivery for local Exchange servers in 2016 and 2019 on New Year’s Eve. As users have discovered, Exchange has been trying to store version date checks for its antivirus scanning engine in a 32-bit integer variable – a big problem when any date from January 1, 2022 onwards was too large. All new checks led to the crash of the malware engine and left emails stuck in the queue.

Hotfix uses a PowerShell script to pause two services, replace older antivirus files with newer ones that use a new sequence of numbers, and restart operations. Repair requires manual entry and may take a long time to implement for larger companies, but an automated solution is under development.

This should not affect other Exchange users. The weather is also ‘ideal’ as there is probably limited demand for email for the weekend. However, the company’s IT managers probably didn’t want to run server patches for 2022, and it’s unclear why Microsoft didn’t anticipate a date issue with software released just a few years ago. Regardless of the rationale, this serves as a clear lesson on predicting date errors.

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