Saturday, May 31, 2008

Checking the committed transaction logs in Exchange Server:

This article explains how to check the committed transaction logs in exchange server. The disk space management is more important, since the transaction logs get accumulated in faster phase. Sometimes, the committed logs may not be recycled after taking the backups. The committed transaction logs are no need any more in such cases, just only occupies some disk space. Here we are going to check how to find the committed transaction logs using the eseutil.

Checkpoint File:

In Exchange, there will be a checkpoint file for each storage group and one for the directory. The checkpoint file is a file of special note which plays a big role in keeping your exchange server database in order. The checkpoint file (edb.chk) tracks which entries in the transaction log files have already been recorded in the database, and thus which ones will need to be replayed during a restoration situation. The checkpoint file thus speeds up recovery by telling the ESE-Extensible Search Engine exactly which log file entries need to be replayed and which do not-thus preventing extra writing during the restoration process. So what is ESE, here we go, The Extensible Storage Engine (ESE) is a low-level database engine that is used internally by Windows for all sorts of things like Microsoft Exchange message store, Active Directory database, Microsoft Updates, Local Security Policy, etc.

When you try to identify the last committed log file for a storage group, note that the storage group prefix applies to the checkpoint file and to all of the log files. For example, the default first storage group's checkpoint file name is E00.chk, and its log files are E00xxxxxx.log (where xxxxx is the hexadecimal sequence number of the log file).

To check the status/details of the checkpoint file
eseutil /mk “the full path to the checkpoint file”

For example,
eseutil /mk "C:\Program Files\Exchsrvr\MDBDATA\E00.chk"

Sample Output:

Microsoft(R) Exchange Server(TM) Database Utilities
Version 6.0
Copyright (C) Microsoft Corporation 1991-2000. All Rights Reserved.
Initiating FILE DUMP mode...
Checkpoint file: C:\Program Files\Exchsrvr\MDBDATA\E00.chk
LastFullBackupCheckpoint: (0x0,0,0)
Checkpoint: (0x6A,1119,3D)
FullBackup: (0x0,0,0)
FullBackup time: 00/00/1900 00:00:00
IncBackup: (0x0,0,0)
IncBackup time: 00/00/1900 00:00:00
Signature: Create time:09/24/2001 17:10:26 Rand:522553071 Computer:
Env (CircLog,Session,Opentbl,VerPage,Cursors,LogBufs,LogFile,Buffers)
( off, 202, 30300, 1365, 10100, 128, 10240, 97940)
Operation completed successfully in 1.192 seconds.

In the above sample output, please find the checkpoint details (marked in bold red),
Checkpoint: (0x6A,1119,3D) – it means 0x6A = E000006A.log is the last committed log file, the logs sequentially above this value is committed to the database already.

Hope the above information will helps you in checking the committed logs and also in managing the disk space management.

91-98414 99143

Friday, May 30, 2008

Understanding DSProxy, DSReferral, DSAccess and the Categorizer:

This article explains the features and natures of the important topology in Exchange environment called DSPROXY, DSACCESS and Categorizer. We already aware that both AD and Exchange are highly integrated, the relationship b/w AD and exchange is more complex and often misunderstood. Exchange server uses two services – Dsproxy and Dsaccess – to access the GC Global Catalog. We already know what is Global Catalog?, if not please keep in mind that Global Catalog is a database which contains the partial replicas of the directories of other domains and contains subsets of the AD attributes of all the objects in the forest( for e.g., attributes like email address). Dsproxy is an exchange specific service, whereas Dsaccess is a Windows service in turn used by the exchange server.


1. In general, Outlook 2000 clients and above can access the GC directly, but the old outlook client doesn’t.
2. To address the above lack of access, exchange server provides a proxy service called Dsproxy, acts as an intermediary b/w client and the GC.
3. Dsproxy works as a facilitator to allow outlook clients to access information within the AD through the Name Service Provider Interface (NSPI).


1. Since the dsproxy helps outlook client to reach the GC directly. Dsreferral also enhance or work to facilitate dsproxy.
2. Dsreferaal is used especially when exchange server not running on GC server. In such cases, DS Referral has the capability to update the Outlook 2000 client's MAPI profile with an appropriate GC server.


1. In general, the exchange server shares the GC functionality with the other AD services, It is important to reduce the impact of exchange server queries on GC. Dsaccess become solution for this.
2. Dsaccess implement a cache that stores recently accessed information for a configurable length of time. This cache reduces the number of direct query on GC drastically.

Role of the Categorizer:

The SMTP Categorizer is a component of Exchange that is used to submit mail messages to the proper destination. When a mail message is sent, the Categorizer queries the DSAccess component to locate an Active Directory server list, which is then directly queried for information that can be used to deliver the message. Problems with the Categorizer are often the cause of DNS or AD lookup issues. When troubleshooting mail-flow problems, please use message tracking in Exchange Server 2007 to find the course of a message. If the message stops at the Categorizer, it is often wise to start troubleshooting the issue from a directory access perspective.

Hope the above the information is short and informative.



91-98414 99143

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Installing/Deploying Exchange server 2007:

This article briefs about the prerequisite and installation procedure for the exchange server 2007. In the latest version of exchange server, the Microsoft has taken big step in improving the installation process.

Hardware requirements:

1. X64 Hardware Processor.
2. Min 1 GB RAM and Rec 2 GB RAM
3. 1.2 GB disk space for exchange core installation.
4. Must be a NTFS partition.

Server OS Installation:

Install the windows server 2003 server (Std or Ent Edition), latest services packs(SP1 is must), patches and needed hot fixes.

Active Directory:

Implementation of proper AD is more important since AD is highly integrated with the Microsoft exchange. Mistakes made in the AD will affect the exchange badly.

Considerable AD factors:
1. Global catalog server placement - stores partial copies of data for all other
Domains within a forest. Exchange queries a global catalog to resolve email addresses for
2. users within the organization
3. AD Sites and Services
4. Domain and forest functional levels
5. Flexible Single Master Operations role placement
6. Permissions needed to install Exchange – must be a member of schema Admin and Enterprise admin for installing the exchange server.
7. Bandwidth and latency.

Preinstallation check before deploying Exchange server 2007:

1. Test the status of the AD using netdiag, dcdiag and replication monitor. Alternatively, the Exchange Server 2007 Installation Wizard also conducts a minor health check automatically as a prerequisite task when installing Exchange Server 2007.
2. Raising the Domain functional levels accordingly.

Prerequisite for deploying Exchange server 2007:

1. Install .NET 2.0
2. Install MMC 3.0
3. Install EMS – Exchange Management Shell.
4. Configuring IIS 6.0 – Check Enable network COM+ access, IIS, Common files, WWW services, ASP.NET.
5. Preparation switches
/prepare pl – single shot install
/prepare Schema – for preparing the schema
/prepare AD - for preparing the active directory in the domain level - optional
/prepare Alldomains – for different domains
/prepare Domains “domain name” – for other domains and child domains

Installing the Exchange server 2007:

Click the core setup.exe file, the wizard for installing the exchange server will open, please select the respective roles and other inputs.
Post installation Checks:
1. Review installation logs - C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\logging\SetupLogs.
2. Review event logs in the event viewer.
3. Check and Obtain the latest Exchange critical updates
4. Verify server roles are installed by checking in the Exchange management console or by get-Exchange Server command in the shell.
5. Run Microsoft Exchange Best Practice Analyzer (shortly called as ExBPA tool)

Upgrading from the previous version:

It is not possible to upgrade Exch 2000/2003 to Exch 207 directly because the Exch 2007 uses X64 architecture.
Exch 5.5 (migrated to) - Exch 2000/2003 (transferred to) - Exch 2007.

Hope the above mentioned steps in deploying the exchange server 2007. The Migration from the previous version has lots to be described, probably I will write in another blog.

91-98414 99143

Sunday, May 11, 2008

NDR - Non Delivery Report

Hi Friends,

This article explains how to interpret with NDR and to find the cause of non delivery of the email. Suppose, when you are sending a mail to the recipient called, it comes back with some message that the indented mail does not reach that particular recipient, it is called the NDR - Non delivery report. The reason for failure in the mail delivery may be many, though this NDR gives the related information about the cause of the message failure. Having the knowledge on the different NDR will definitely gives hands on support in case of troubleshooting.

Interpreting with the NDR :

In the NDR message first lookout for the three digit

i.e, x.y.z . eg., 5.2.1

The "x" fields give some valuable information on the type of error. When it is "5", we are dealing with the permanent error. When it is "4", the message eventually may or may not pass on. Almost all valid NDR starts with 4 or 5, none other than this numbers. Apart from the first field, it is very difficult to classify the other fields, because each numbers have its own explanation. It also have the brief description about the problem and also have the list of recipient address for whom the mail not delivered.

List of NDR codes and their meanings :

The recipient has exceeded their mailbox limit. It could also be that the delivery directory on the Virtual server has exceeded its limit. (Default 22 MB)
Not enough disk space on the delivery server. Microsoft say this NDR maybe reported as out-of-memory error.
Classic temporary problem, the Administrator has frozen the queue.
Intermittent network connection. The server has not yet responded. Classic temporary problem. If it persists, you will also a 5.4.x status code error.
The server started to deliver the message but then the connection was broken.
Too many hops. Most likely, the message is looping.
Problem with a timeout. Check receiving server connectors.
A DNS problem. Check your smart host setting on the SMTP connector. For example, check correct SMTP format. Also, use square brackets in the IP address [] You can get this same NDR error if you have been deleting routing groups.
Multi-language situation. Your server does not have the correct language code page installed.
SMTP 500 reply code means an unrecognised command. You get this NDR when you make a typing mistake when you manually try to send email via telnet.More likely, a routing group error, no routing connector, or no suitable address space in the connector.(Try adding * in the address space) This status code is a general error message in Exchange 2000. In fact Microsoft introduced a service pack to make sure now get a more specific code.
Problem with email address.
Often seen with contacts. Check the recipient address.
Another problem with the recipient address. Possibly the user was moved to another server in Active Directory. Maybe an Outlook client replied to a message while offline.
SMTP; 550 Host unknown. An error is triggered when the host name can’t be found. For example, when trying to send an email to bob@ kindly sent in by Paul T.)
Another problem with contacts. Address field maybe empty. Check the address information.
Two objects have the same address, which confuses the categorizer.
Destination mailbox address invalid.
Problem with homeMDB or msExchHomeServerName - check how many users are affected. Sometimes running RUS (Recipient Update Service) cures this problem. Mailbox may have moved.
Problem with senders mail attribute, check properties sheet in ADUC.
NDR caused by a problem with the large size of the email.
The message is too large. Else it could be a permissions problem. Check the recipient's mailbox.
Sadly, the recipient has exceeded their mailbox limit.
Recipient cannot receive messages this big. Server or connector limit exceeded.
Most likely, a distribution list or group is trying to send an email. Check where the expansion server is situated.
Problem with MTA, maybe someone has been editing the registry to disable the MTA / Store driver.
Mail system full. Possibly a Standard edition of Exchange reached the 16 GB limit.
System not accepting network messages. Look outside Exchange for a connectivity problem.
Remote server has insufficient disk space to hold email. Check SMTP log.
Message too big. Check limits, System Policy, connector, virtual server.
Multiple Virtual Servers are using the same IP address and port. See Microsoft TechNet article: 321721 Sharing SMTP. Email probably looping.
DNS Problem. Check the Smart host, or check your DNS. It means that there is no DNS server that can resolve this email address. Could be Virtual Server SMTP address.
No answer from host. Not Exchange's fault check connections.
Bad connection.
Routing server failure. No available route.
Cannot find the next hop, check the Routing Group Connector. Perhaps you have Exchange servers in different Routing Groups, but no connector.
Tricky looping problem, a contact has the same email address as an Active Directory user. One user is probably using an Alternate Recipient with the same email address as a contact.
Delivery time-out. Message is taking too long to be delivered.
Microsoft advise, check your recipient policy. SMTP address should be
Underlying SMTP 500 error. Our server tried ehlo, the recipient's server did not understand and returned a 550 or 500 error. Set up SMTP logging.
Possibly the disk holding the operating system is full. Or could be a syntax error if you are executing SMTP from a telnet shell.
More than 5,000 recipients. Check the Global Settings, Message Delivery properties.
Wrong protocol version
More than 250 attachments.
Permissions problem. For some reason the sender is not allowed to email this account.Perhaps an anonymous user is trying to send mail to a distribution list.Check SMTP Virtual Server Access Tab. Try checking this box: Allow computers which successfully authenticate to relay.User may have a manually created email address that does not match a System Policy.
Distribution list cannot expand and so is unable to deliver its messages.
Check external IP address of ISA server. Make sure it matches the SMTP publishing rule.
Extra security features not supported. Check delivery server settings
Cryptographic failure. Try a plain message with encryption.
Certificate problem, encryption level maybe to high.
Message integrity problem.

Hence use this when troubleshooting the mail delivery failure.


91-98414 99143

Outlook Command line Switches

Hi friends,

This article gives you the brief explanation on the outlook command line switches. The outlook comes with different command line switched, which in turn used for troubleshooting in case of some errors. The following are the different command line switches available in the outlook.

General Syntax :

Go to Run -->

# Outlook /Switch

Outlook command line switches :

1. Outlook /c messageclass

Creates a new item of the specified message class, works for any valid MAPI form.
For example:
/c ipm.activity creates a Journal entry
/c ipm.appointment creates an appointment
/c creates a contact
/c ipm.note creates an e-mail message
/c ipm.stickynote creates a note
/c ipm.task creates a task

2. Outlook /CleanClientRules

Starts Outlook and deletes client-based rules. For non-Exchange users.

3. Outlook /CleanFinders

Sets Outlook 2003 Search Folders back to the default state (deletes custom Search Folders)

4. Outlook /CleanFreeBusy

Cleans and regenerates free/busy information.

5. Outlook /CleanProfile

Removes invalid profile keys and recreates default registry keys where applicable.

6. Outlook /Cleanpst

Launches Outlook with a clean Personal Folders file (.pst)

7. Outlook /CleanReminders

Cleans and regenerates reminders.

8. Outlook /CleanRules

Starts Outlook and deletes client- and server-based rules.

9. Outlook /CleanSchedPlus

Deletes all Schedule+ data (free/busy, permissions, and .cal file) from the server.

10. Outlook /CleanServerRules

Starts Outlook and deletes server-based rules. Used only with Exchange server accounts.

11. Outlook /CleanViews

Restores default views.

12. Outlook /FirstRun

Starts Outlook as if it were run for the first time.

13. Outlook /ImportPrf prffilename

Launches Outlook and opens/imports the defined MAPI profile (*.prf). If Outlook is already open, queues the profile to be imported on the next clean launch.

14. Outlook /Profile profilename

Loads the specified profile. If your profile name contains a space, enclose the profile name in quotation marks.

15. Outlook /ResetFolderNames

Resets the language of the default folders to the language of the Outlook client.

16. Outlook /ResetFolders

Restores missing folders for the default delivery location.

17. Outlook /ResetOutlookBar

Rebuilds the Outlook Bar.

18. Outlook /ResetWunderBar

Rebuilds the new Outlook Control Bar in Outlook 2003.

19. Outlook /Rpcdiag

Opens Outlook and displays the remote procedure call (RPC) connection status dialog.

20. Outlook /Sniff

Starts Outlook and forces a detection of new meeting requests in the Inbox, and then adds them to the calendar.

Hope the above information is useful and start try using the above appropriate commands when your outlook gives the problem.


91-98414 99143

Friday, May 9, 2008

Exchange server 2007 – server role:

This article explains the server roles in the exchange server 2007. The exchange server 2007 is bit different when compared to the previous version in terms of the architecture. Instead of just having a Mailbox server and a front-end server to host data and provide a connecting point for client systems (in exchange 2003), these server roles provide improvements in security with servers dedicated to antivirus and antispam functions, message routing and policy compliance functions, and voice mail communications. The below are the server role. This five server roles cannot be installed in the same server, since each server plays different role in terms of the functional play. Except Edge Transport role, all other roles can be installed in the same system. The reason for the above is security, the edge transport role must be installed in the separate machine which should be independent of all the exchange stuff, so that it just act like a gateway server.

1. Edge Transport server role :

• Performs spam and virus filtering at the first point for the entry of the message.
• Stores a copy of certain active directory objects such as valid recipient email address. All incoming messages are matched with the ADAM – Active Directory Application Mode.
• Mainly for security protection.

2. Hub Transport role :

• Replaces the former bridgehead server.
• Used for effective and efficient message routing of multiple messages.
• Also acts as policy compliance management server for both incoming and outgoing message.
• Can also act as an Edge Transport role. (Without having the edge transport role also we can have the email system working by having hub transport role)

3. Client access server role :

• Connective point for the client systems like office outlook client, a Windows Mobile handheld device, OWA and Outlook anywhere.
• Just acts like a front end server.
• Provide more flexibility in providing redundancy and recoverability of mailbox access in the event of the single point of the system failure.

4. Mailbox server role :

• Holds the mailbox information i.e. the Exchange database EDB.
• New CCR – cluster continuous replication technology(which replicate the data transaction b/w mailbox server across WAN).

5. Unified Messaging server role :

• Completely new feature in the exchange server 2007 used for voice mail server of the organization.
• Phone system takes the incoming message , stores in the mailbox server and playback from the phone or by accessing the message from the outlook, OWA or Windows Mobile.

Hope the above would clarify the new server role topology in the exchange server 2007.

Please shoot if you have any queastions.