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SMTP service stopping, taking iisadmin and pop3 with it.....


primary site:

Exchange 2003 standard, set to front end, hosting only protocals
Exchange 2003 enterprise, 2 storage groups, multiple stores

2 secondary sites (connected via t1)

Exchange 2003 standard, single stores, connected back to primary site.  

Single domain space, all mail goes through primary site and distributes out to secondary if needed.  

Here is the problem.....on the front end server in the primary site....

The SMTP service keeps stopping, taking the issadmin and pop3 service with it (I belive they are all inetinfo.exe processes).  

I have rebooted, scanned for worms (specifically code red in addition to others), deleted the vsi 1 folder and rebooted,

all I get in the event logs are 7031 and 7034 (unexpected termination) which are so non-descript they really should be pop-ups....

any advise would be great....

BTW....after the service stop I can start IISadmina and POP3 and they will run just fine....it is only when I bring up the SMTP server that all 3 quit.......
2 Solutions
You're not alone, my friend.  We were having the same issues (exaact same event IDs, crashes, and so on) and finally contacted Microsoft for a hotfix.  So far, so good.  We've not have the problem since.

Anyhow, I'm happy to give a link to the hotfix, but I'd BE VERY CAUTIOUS of installing it without digging into this issue further.  You may even want to give Microsoft a call, if you're able.  Unfortunately, the referenced "Q" article for this hotfix is not yet posted on their website.  This appears to be a *very* recent turn of events.

Also, here's a link to a similar question posted just last week...

Hope that helps!

ChrisWillisAuthor Commented:
Chumplet.....the Q artile was posted...found it on a search for "inetinfo crashing".....but no luck......

deleting the vsi 1 folder seemed to help for about 10 minutes and then bang.....

this problem is no longer exclusive to my front end, this damn thing has started on my secondary site servers as well.......

There seem to be two articles around that address these types of issues.
Have you looked at both of them?


The concensus seems to be that it is a combination of applications, but what that combination is no one knows. It would be nice to know why these problems have suddendly started occuring. A third party update perhaps?

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ChrisWillisAuthor Commented:
going to try the download from 885264.....

Just to formalize the patten....all was well until about 10 am est this morning when a user called me and told me email stopped working (users around here are faster than my notification scripts when it comes to email services)......restarted all exchange servers....nothing....surfed around...found the article talking about rebuilding the iis metabase and renaming the vsi 1 folder trick to rule out a malformed SMTP error....no luck....then my secondary site got hit.......

I have not applied in service packs in the last 7 days, have not installed any 3rd party apps, have not even surfed the web with these boxes.....the only change was an update on the virus definition files (from 9/1 to 9/8) but that was last week.....(virus utitlity is Symatec mail security and client security fully patched latest versions)......

I hate to call MS but the 885264 patch does not work I am sending there way and paying whatever they charge me.......
Once again... you're not alone!  We had literally changed NOTHING on our server in several weeks!!  We tend to leave our "critical" corporate servers alone when they're functioning properly, ya know?  The anti-virus definition would've been updated, of course, but we don't even use av software that scans the mail store!  Regardless, we installed the hotfix and haven't had an issue since.
ChrisWillisAuthor Commented:
885264 looks like it worked....I will watch and call it closed if all remains well for the next few hours.....thanks for you help dembee and chumplet.....still wish I new what caused this.....
ChrisWillisAuthor Commented:
oh dear god...its back.....time to call MS......
ChrisWillisAuthor Commented:
shut down all exchange services, installed 827214, rebooted machine.....no change
shut down all exchange services, installed 885264, rebooted machine.....no change

going to try a rebuild of the iis metabase one more time......
ChrisWillisAuthor Commented:
well...these servers are fubar'd....going home to call MS early in the AM.....
ChrisWillisAuthor Commented:
well...I went home...saw steve smith break his leg....put him on IR in the fantasy leagues and headed back to work.....

I split the points because I am sure both you of you providing the links to service packs helped me out.

in the end I ending up rebuilding the IIS metabase from scratch, which will spawn a new question about MTA stack permissions, but they are only annoyances as all mail is getting delivered....

Here is what I have learned (for all those that find this on goggle)

1.  Apply the service packs listed from other members
2.  If service packs don't help try renaming your vsi 1 (and possibly 2 or 3 if running multiple smtp servers) and restarting your exchange services (iisadmin as well)
3.  Restore the IIS metabase (if you have a known good backup just restore it and restart the services, otherwise this is procedure I used)

Restoring the IIS metabase without reliable backup:

1.  disable all exchange services, smtp, www, iisadmin, and SSL
2.  remove IIS (do not remove shared componets if you are clustering)
3.  remove the metabase.bin (if the iis removal already didn't) from %systemroot%/system32/inetsrv folder
4.  reboot
5.  reinstall IIS, smtp, nntp, and ASP.net
6  reinstall any OS service packs
7.  run the exchange setup and select reinstall (make sure you have a backup of your stores)
8.  restart
9.  reinstall exchange service packs
10.  restart if necessary
11.  mount the exchange databases using the exchange system manager

you will probably need your windows server disk, exchange server disk, 2-3 cans of Red bull and a pot of coffee, maybe a bottle of JD to help you sleep afterwards....

Check out the following MS articles for more information:

304166 exchange databases are not mounted and event logs contain error messages
324277 How to: create a metabase backup by using IIS 6.0 in Win2k 2003
302573 How to: backup and restore IIS
290290 Cannot send mail after re-installing the IIS SMTP service

good luck.....
If you are running antivirus software make sure the IIS directory is excluded from the realtime scan.
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