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Microsoft Y2K22 email bug
© Roman Tiraspolsky |

If your work email inbox is empty, this bug could be to blame – but there’s a fix

The holiday season is over, which means getting back to work and replying to emails. Did you know you can also reply to emails without giving up your address? Here’s how.

But you might find that your inbox contains fewer emails than anticipated. No, it’s not that everybody is still taking it easy. Instead, a bug is limiting the influx of new messages.

If you’ve been wondering what is going on, read on to see why your emails have been slowing down over the last few days.

Here’s the backstory

Corporate email systems are available from various companies, with Microsoft’s Exchange and Google for Business being the most popular. They are easy for IT administrators to set up, maintain, and perform well for employees who work from home.

Emails flowing through Google for Business should arrive in your inbox as expected, but it’s a different scenario for Microsoft Exchange. Reminiscent of the Y2K bug that many feared would collapse all systems globally when we entered the year 2000, Microsoft Exchange has also encountered a New Year bug.

As the clock rolled over to 2022, it seems that a programming flaw in Exchange servers stopped processing emails. That means some Exchange users haven’t received new emails since the beginning of the year.

So, how did this exactly happen? Well, it all has to do with how computers interpret strings of information and numbers. Microsoft products, including the malware-scanning engine used for Exchange, have different version numbers based on their release.

The higher the number, the more recent the software update. The conventional way for Microsoft is to have the year, month and day followed by a four-digit version number. Current 31-bit programming only allows for a version number lower than 2,147,483,648 (with ‘21’ representing the year).

But that is where the problem lies, as moving to 2022 caused the version to exceed the numerical limit. Essentially, the number was too high for the system to comprehend and stopped working.

Seriously, Microsoft?

🚨 What it means for you

As an everyday email user, there is nothing that you can do about it. However, Microsoft has created a solution for your company’s IT team to get email flowing again.

The fix, either automatic or manual, involves IT administrators stopping the Microsoft Filtering Management and Microsoft Exchange Transport services. The entire antivirus system then needs to be removed, updated and reinstalled.

✅ In the meantime, take advantage of the peaceful inbox. It’ll be flooded with messages before you know it. Tap or click here for the one trick Kim uses to start her inbox with a clean slate every year.

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