Microsoft Server 2012 R2 will be retired on October 13, 2023, while Microsoft Exchange 2013 will be ending its support on April 11, 2023.  With support coming to a close for both Microsoft products (also known as “going end of life”), Microsoft is strongly encouraging users to update to the latest versions of their operating systems to ensure stability and continual updates into the foreseeable future. Users may also experience compatibility issues with programs that have worked prior to the upcoming end of life date. For those who don’t spend your days poring over IT systems, you may have heard of Microsoft Server and Microsoft Exchange before, but may not know exactly how this impacts your business. So, we’re breaking down some of the most frequently asked questions regarding Server 2012, Exchange 2013, and what exactly their “end of life” means for you. 

What is Microsoft Exchange?

Microsoft Exchange is an email service used by businesses, schools, and government institutions that is run via a Microsoft/Windows Server. While Exchange is mainly known to keep emails in sync with applications such as Microsoft Outlook, it is incredibly powerful as it can support hundreds of users, a global address book, calendars, task management, storage, and security permissions for each individual end-user.

What is Microsoft Server?

Microsoft/Windows Server is a line of operating systems specifically designed for hosting applications on a server with far more intricate networking capabilities. Microsoft Server may look like any ordinary build of Windows, however, there are many features that are built into Microsoft Server that aren’t usable in Windows (and vice versa). Functionality wise, they are completely different.  Microsoft Server includes the ability to host web servers, run databases that only employees can access, supercomputing, enterprise-level management, and much more.

I know I have Microsoft Server. How do I know which version I’m running? 

There is an incredibly quick and easy way to check what firmware you are on. Here’s how to do it!

Press the Windows Key ⊞ on your keyboard to bring up the start menu, and type in “cmd” in the search bar. You should see something like this:

(Note that each version of Windows will have a different looking start menu interface. In our example, we’re using Windows 11, but all versions should have a Command Prompt option.)

Open the Command Prompt application by either pressing “Enter” or clicking “Open”. A black window screen should pop up as shown below:

Lastly, type in “winver”, press enter, and violà! A screen should pop up showing you the current version of Windows Server/Windows.

How does Microsoft’s winding down support for these products affect my business? 

As older versions of these products stop receiving updates, compatibility issues with programs that once worked will start to become more frequent. These older builds of Microsoft Server will also be relatively slower, have access to less features, and will be less secure than their more up to date counterparts. Consequently, with security updates coming to a halt, this poses a significant threat of data breaches as these older versions will be easier to hack into comparative to the newest versions.

Will updating Microsoft Server/Exchange wipe all of my data?

Nope! The tools available to our technicians ensure that all data is intact and migrated properly when updating Microsoft Server/Exchange to its most up to date version(s).

So, how does one go about updating both Microsoft Server and Exchange?

If you’re a Portland Internetworks Fully-Managed IT customer, give us a ring and we’ll take care of everything for you. Because of the intricacies that go into updating Microsoft Server and Exchange, we heavily advise against doing this yourself if you are not an I.T. guru. The probability for mistakes are incredibly high and can lead to data loss or an unresponsive server. In this case, it’s better to leave it to the experts! (Like us!)

For more information on these products, check out these quick guides for Microsoft Server or Microsoft Exchange. In need of any other IT-related help or just have questions? Drop us a line and we’ll be sure to give you a warm PDX-welcome!