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Exchange 5.5 Problems!!

Ok, need some help here. I recently re-ran the Exchange Optimizer after adding memory. Now the server won't start complaining with an error of:

The Microsoft Exchange Directory service depends on the Microsoft Exchange System Attendant service which failed to start because of the following error:
After starting, the service hung in a start-pending state.  

I was thinking it was a problem with the Exchange System Account even though I have not touched it. The odd things are:

1) When I log on the the server with the Exchange System Account (my default admin, rookie mistake I know, I get a lot of access denied errors. When I try to start Exchange Admin, read the event logs, etc, I get access denied. The account was not modified by me in any way. I am the on;y one who admins the server. I have about 5 family members that use the server for email, I don't suspect them with foul play.
2) When I try to change the account in which the various Exchange services start with, I get the message:

Cannot set the startup parameters for the Microsoft Exchange System attendant.
Error 1057 occurred: The account name is invalid or does not exist.

Does that message have to do with the fact that Exchange can only use the System Account that was specified during install? So now, I can only get the Exchange Dircetory and the System Attendant will start but only using the "LocalSystem" account.

3) When I try to run the Exchange Admin with ANY full Admin account, I get the error:

A connection could not be made to the Microsoft Exchange Server computer.
You do not have the permissions required to complete the operation.
Microsoft Exchange Directory

WTF does that mean??

I have a strange feeling that somehow my domin accounts got really screwed up. (another rookie mistake making the mail server a DC)

I can access the event logs with another Admin account but not the Exchange System Account (again, my primary login account).
The earlier event logs say that the account was locked out. I have account lockout policy in place to deter intrusion. The elapsed time would have passed for the lockout.

I have no ERD. (another BIG mistake).

I mention the Optimizer because that coincided with the start of the problems, although, I have the feeling it's only coincidence.

I started the process described in MS's white paper about changing the Service Account, but I can't start "admin /r"
let alone "admin".

It's an Exhcnage Server 5.5 with SP 4. I tried to re-run the SP4 Setup but got the same message as when trying to start the Exchange Admin. "DS_E_INSUFFICIENT_ACCESS_RIGHTS"

Any thoughts?
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1 Solution
daJmanAuthor Commented:
got it working...seems as though it was acl problems. I undid changes I made with Security Expressions (shitty app btw) a couple months ago (no idea why they took so long to haunt me) and everything is as it was.
It may have taken so long to haunt you as security changes only take effect when the user next logs on.  Thats when the new security token is granted.  So it could be that when the service started it relogged in and picked up the changes you had made a couple of months ago.
daJmanAuthor Commented:
Good point but I must have ran Exchange Admin since then and I KNOW I've use Event Viewer. That was the freakiest thing, access dened for event viewer. I'll award the points if anyone can give specific possible reasons and/or causes for the strange happenings. The one thing that I did learn, had to do with one of the errors listed above;

Cannot set the startup parameters for the Microsoft Exchange System attendant.
Error 1057 occurred: The account name is invalid or does not exist.

I figured when you chose the account for the service to start, it automatically put the correct password. Not true, even though there are * 's MS states in Q159925:

"A set of asterisks are placed in the Password and Confirm Password boxes automatically when a user account is chosen. Those asterisks do not necessarily represent the correct password for the chosen account and an entry must be typed there. If no password is specified, this error occurs, however, Windows NT will accept the wrong password.

I didn't know that.

I want to know about the most prevelant error I recieved "DS_E_INSUFFICIENT_ACCESS_RIGHTS".
What ACL's whould have to be in place to get this error? Strict ACL's on the DS folders/registry keys? What keys?
I'm going to PAQ this question as per request

Normally, we post a 3 day warning for other experts.  StevePalmer, if you believe this action is incorrect, please post back here or in the request and we can reconsider this action.

* I will be absent from Monday to Saturday next week

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