Microsoft Exchange had a rocky start to the New Year, as the popular email service was hit by a Y2K22 bug, which prevented users from accessing their inbox. People initially thought it was their connection, but eventually realized it was the service all along, and Microsoft quickly responded with a fix.
The Verge reported that there were complaints about the service, and it pushed people to question its use, especially as it showed no mails in the app. It is a massive corporate mess to see Microsoft Exchange lose its email functions and reflect no messages in the inbox.
As the year 2022 rolled in and the clock struck midnight, Exchange admins worldwide discovered that their servers were no longer delivering email. After investigating, they found that mail was getting stuck in the queue, and the Windows event log showed one of the following errors:
These errors are caused by Microsoft Exchange checking the version of the FIP-FS antivirus scanning engine and attempting to store the date in a signed int32 variable.
In a post in its support forums, Microsoft says: “We’ve created a solution to address the problem of messages stuck in transport queues on Exchange Server 2016 and Exchange Server 2019 because of a latent date issue in a signature file used by the malware scanning engine within Exchange Server. When the issue occurs, you’ll see errors in the Application event log on the Exchange Server, specifically event 5300 and 1106 (FIPFS)”.
The new, automated solution should be suitable for Exchange Server 2016 and 2019. The reception of the users varies: some report that the new measures only take effect after a server restart.
System administrators at Microsoft have dubbed the glitch Y2K22 in reference to the Y2K bug, a computer programming issue that affected some computers at the turn of the millennium 22 years ago.
As the new millennium approached, computer programmers realised that their software might not interpret 00 as 2000, but as 1900 a glitch that many feared would spell disaster for governments, corporations, banks, and industries worldwide.
Many economists predicted a worldwide recession, and doomsday flyers warning of an apocalyptic fallout as a result of computer malfunctions were published en-masse in the late 1990s.
Fortunately, the computer apocalypse never came to pass, with only minimal disruptions recorded, but the issue has come back to plague some Microsoft Exchange servers 22 years later.