Office 365 Legal Hold Bug Fix Now Available, Exchange Fix Coming Soon

In a recent article, we reported on a problem that occurs due to an Outlook Web App bug that makes Legal Hold  — which is also know as litigation hold or in-place hold, depending on your version of Microsoft Exchange — breakable, albeit with unique circumstances and some effort.

The latest on the Office 365 and the Exchange Legal Hold bug

As I mentioned in my previous article, this issue affects both Office 365 users and Exchange 2013 users of the Outlook Web App. In spite of the bug, Microsoft chose to release its latest cumulative update for Exchange on-premise (CU6) rather than holding up the release to fix the bug first.

Office 365 Legal Hold Bug Fix
The Office 365 Legal Hold Bug Fix Now Available. (Image: Dreamstime)

Well-known Microsoft Exchange MVP Tony Redmond says he heard about the bug and reproduced it on his own first and then notified the Exchange product group on August 22, which is four days before CU6 was released. However, Microsoft moved forward with the CU6 release. There are reasonable explanations for and against such a move, but I think most would agree that it’s better to hold off on releasing a new version of a solution if there are potential bugs still lurking within. Perhaps, just perhaps, the hold up of CU6 for this one bug would have allowed testing to find some of the other bugs discovered post-CU6 release.

In an email sent to members of the Microsoft Exchange MVP community, Microsoft indicated that the fix for this bug has already been deployed to Exchange Online users, and should be available soon for Office 365 accounts. One important note: On-premise Exchange folks will get the fix with CU7.  Cumulative updates are releasing on a quarterly cadence, give or take, so it shouldn’t take too long to see the fix soon. But this whole ordeal may be worth pondering.

Will Office 365/Exchange Online always be favored to get updates first?

It’s obvious when there are bugs of this sort that Exchange Online will see the fix first, logically. So not only will we see new features through the cloud, but we will see faster response time to serious issues as well. Should that encourage companies to consider making that move to Office 365 sooner? When you read that, does it make you feel that way? “Hmmm… if the cloud is the most up to date with features and fixes than I need to move to the cloud.” Or do you feel just the opposite: “If on-premise isn’t going to be kept up to date in a timely manner, seemingly second to the Exchange Online, then perhaps I’m better off staying back a few versions on-prem rather than trying to stay up-to-date with the latest and greatest on-prem.”

Frankly, the combination of this bug along with additional bugs that have come up with regard to hybrid connectivity with Office 365 makes it so you cannot proxy EAS connections to a mailbox on Exchange 2007 and may make folks leery of moving to Exchange 2016 next year or Exchange 2013 this year. No doubt Microsoft has fingers crossed that no additional snafus come along to make customers feel anything other than safe and forward moving, either in the cloud or on premise.

So what are your thoughts on how Microsoft handled the legal hold bug, and the fact that on-premise Exchange admins have to wait for the fix longer than if they opted for Exchange Online/Office 365? Add a comment at the end of this post, and let me know what you think.