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Troubleshooting Exchange non-delivery

Posted on 2004-04-27
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Last Modified: 2013-11-15
... some of the addresses handled by Exchange 2000 get forwarded to other domains (e.g., somebody@yahoo.com). *One* of the forwards does not work; the messages for that particular user seem to fall into a black hole. No NDRs sent. Checked the mail logs on the destination machine, and no connection attempts are ever made. As a clueless Exchange newbie, how do I troubleshoot Exchange non-delivery?

Thanks!
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Question by:awacs0
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by:ErikKvK
ID: 10931695
Check the following things:

Enable message tracking within Exchange (more usefull if you have multiple exchange servers in your organization)
Check the SMTP logs on your SMTP gateway server (internet mail server). The logs can be found in the WINNT\LOGS folder.
Check the INETPUB\SMTP\BadMail folder. This is where emails that are not properly formatted are dropped. You will find more folders here that are used by the SMTP service.
Use DNSLint for troubleshooting DNS configuration (Included with Windows 2003, otherwise there are freeware tools for this)
Check your Antivirus tool for Exchange.
Check the logs for spam filters and content filters.
Manually immitate an SMTP server using telnet. (Telnet with the server over port 25, and use the EHLO commands)

I could give you some more pointers, but this should help you on the way.

It is always usefull to read up on RFC's and such. they will eventually give you a better understanding on what Exchange is doing in the background. Browse Experts Exchange looking for NDR questions and answers.
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by:awacs0
ID: 10932064
Thanks for your reply. However, I need some clarification:

"Enable message tracking within Exchange (more usefull if you have multiple exchange servers in your organization)" - how?

"Check the SMTP logs on your SMTP gateway server (internet mail server). The logs can be found in the WINNT\LOGS folder."

(This server is its own SMTP gateway).
I don't have such a folder. (I do have a winnt/systems32/logfiles, but this is exclusively for IIS.)

How do I create SMTP logs?

"Check the INETPUB\SMTP\BadMail folder. This is where emails that are not properly formatted are dropped. You will find more folders here that are used by the SMTP service." - checked. These emails are not there  - other (bounced/bounceable) emails are.

"Use DNSLint for troubleshooting DNS configuration (Included with Windows 2003, otherwise there are freeware tools for this)" Interesting idea, but, if there were a DNS problem, wouldn't the emails be nondeliverable? These apparently getting delivered: I see them in .../exchsrver/Mailroot/vs 1/Queue - briefly, then they disappear. So, they're getting delivered, right? Plus, nslookup on the destination succeeds on the console of the exchange server. Does exchange use a different mechanism?

"Manually immitate an SMTP server using telnet. (Telnet with the server over port 25, and use the EHLO commands)" - done this (with helo); it accepts the messages, but where does they go?

Thanks!
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ErikKvK earned 500 total points
ID: 10940619
Message tracking (source: Exchange help):
Enable Message Tracking
You set message tracking only on a server. All messages that are routed through a server are added to the message tracking logs. You can record information about the sender, the message, and the recipient. If you need to log more detailed information, you can also record the subject line of the e-mail message.

To enable message tracking:

Start System Manager: On the Start menu, point to Programs, point to Microsoft Exchange, and then click System Manager.
Cannot Start the Application
You can manually start the application by following these instructions: On the Start menu, point to Programs, point to Microsoft Exchange, and then click System Manager.
In the console tree, double-click Server, right-click a server, and then click Properties.
To log information about the sender, the time the message was sent or received, the message size and priority, and the message recipients, on the General tab, select the Enable message tracking check box.
To record the subject of any message sent to, from, or through the server, select the Enable subject logging and display check box.


Tip   If you track messages by subject, message tracking log files and the shares on which they are located can be read by everyone in the domain. For security reasons, you should manually restrict access to a share so that only administrators can view the subjects of e-mail messages.

Related Topics


Message Tracking Log Maintenance

Enabling SMTP logging (source: Exchange help):
Enable Logging for SMTP, NNTP, and HTTP Protocols

By setting the configuration properties of the virtual server associated with each messaging transport protocol, you can protect your mail system in multiple ways. The Internet protocols (SMTP, HTTP, and NNTP) enable you to use logging to track the commands the virtual server receives from clients. For example, for each message you can view the client IP address, client domain name, date and time of the message, and number of bytes sent.

When logging is used with Windows 2000 event logs, the protocol log enables you to audit the use of the virtual server and identify problems.

The following procedure describes how to enable logging on virtual servers except for the HTTP Exchange Virtual Server. You enable logging on the HTTP Exchange Virtual Server through the IIS snap-in.

To enable protocol logging for SMTP, NNTP, and HTTP virtual servers (except the HTTP Exchange Virtual Server):

Start System Manager: On the Start menu, point to Programs, point to Microsoft Exchange, and then click System Manager.
Cannot Start the Application
You can manually start the application by following these instructions: On the Start menu, point to Programs, point to Microsoft Exchange, and then click System Manager.
Navigate to the SMTP, NNTP, or HTTP virtual server.
Servers

Server name
Protocols
Protocol type
Virtual server
Right-click the virtual server, and then click Properties.
On the General tab, select the Enable logging check box.
In the Active log format drop-down list, select the log file format, and then click Properties. The default log file format is Microsoft IIS Log File Format.
In the Logging Properties dialog box, on the General Properties tab, select the time interval to write to the log file, log file size, directory where the log file exists, and other parameters depending on the type of format you selected.
If you selected W3C Extended Log File Format, in the Logging Properties dialog box, on the Extended Properties tab, specify the W3C extended log file entries.

Badmail folder (source : Exchange help):
Store NDRs



When a message is undeliverable, Exchange returns it to the sender with a NDR. You can also designate that copies of the NDR be sent to a location of your choice. If the NDR cannot be delivered to the sender, a copy of the message is put in the Badmail directory. Messages placed in the Badmail directory cannot be delivered or returned.

To set a storage location for NDRs:

Start System Manager: On the Start menu, point to Programs, point to Microsoft Exchange, and then click System Manager.
Cannot Start the Application
You can manually start the application by following these instructions: On the Start menu, point to Programs, point to Microsoft Exchange, and then click System Manager.
Navigate to the SMTP virtual server.
Servers
Server
Protocols
SMTP
SMTP virtual servers
SMTP virtual server
Right-click the SMTP virtual server, and then click Properties.
To specify the mailbox where you want to store copies of the NDRs, on the Messages tab, in Send copy of Non-Delivery report to, type the e-mail address. This should be a valid SMTP e-mail address that recipients of NDRs can respond to when there is a problem in your messaging system.
In Badmail directory, type the directory you want to use to store undeliverable messages. The default location is root:\Exchsrvr\Mailroot\<vsi #>\Badmail, where <vsi #> is the specific virtual server (the default SMTP virtual server is vsi 1). To select another folder, click Browse. You can designate a different directory, provided it is on the same computer as the SMTP virtual server.


Warning   Do not select the M: drive (the drive running Exchange Information Store) as a location for your Badmail directory. Selecting this drive will conflict with Exchange's administration and transport services, causing messages to stop flowing.

If you have another mail system in your organization that handles the same domain as your SMTP virtual server, in Forward all mail with unresolved recipients to host, type in an alternative host name. When your Exchange server receives e-mail for a user it can't resolve, the e-mail will be forwarded to this host. For example, if an SMTP virtual server and a Unix e-mail server both serve a domain called airlines-10.com, Exchange may receive e-mail intended for Unix users. When Exchange can't find these users, it will know to forward these messages to the designated host in the other system.


Important   When this feature is activated, your Exchange system will not send NDRs regarding unresolved e-mail. Make sure that the other system has the ability to send NDRs in the event that bad mail is sent to your organization. Also, in this situation be sure outside e-mail is directed first to your Exchange organization, to ensure all Exchange e-mail is received and all other e-mail is properly forwarded.

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by:ErikKvK
ID: 10940639
NSlookup will also help you determine if your DNS is setup OK, but the reporting done by DNSlint is more complete.

Also do not underestimate the amount of information that you can find in the Exchange help. This is a firststop for all Exchange questions.
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