I get this question on a regular basis so I wanted to post a quick note about it here. When opening the Exchange Management Console (EMC) you may receive an error stating that initialization failed and “the operation couldn’t be completed because a change occurred in the remote forest”. You may also find that while EMC does not work, you are able to launch the Exchange Management Shell (EMS) without any issues.

This can happen when the server you are connecting to has been updated with a Service Pack or Roll Up Update (RU). For example, the screen shot above is from a Windows 7 workstation running the Exchange 2010 SP1 Management Tools. The server I am trying to connect to is running Exchange 2010 SP1 RU2. To resolve the issue, I need to install RU2 on the workstation to update the tools to the same version as the server.

Now, there is a possibility that this error may not always indicate a version mismatch between the tools on the client and the RU level of the server, so how can you confirm this is actually the issue? As shown in this Exchange Team blog post, you can confirm the versions do not match by running the following command on both the client and the server from the shell:

Get-Command EXSetup | %{$_.FileVersionInfo}

Here’s the result from the above command on a Windows 7 box running the Exchange 2010 SP1 Management Tools:

And here’s the result running the command on a server running Exchange 2010 SP1 RU2:

This command is checking the file version information for the local instance of ExSetup.exe on both the client and the server installed by default in C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\V14\bin\

As you can see, the version number is higher on the server than it is on the Windows 7 machine. Now that I’ve got this information, I can check the Exchange Server and Update Rollups Builds Numbers on TechNet Wiki which has a detailed list of Exchange Server versions and Update Rollups with release dates and KB articles. After confirming the version numbers, I know that I need to update the tools on my client machine and install RU2 to resolve the issue.