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After upgrade to Exchange 2003, some users to certain domains are bouncing back.

Posted on 2004-11-07
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Last Modified: 2008-07-03

I have upgraded an office to a new server with Windows 2003 and Exchange 2003.  Generally, everything is working well.  This was a fresh install with no migration.  Email was exported to a .PST and then imported with Exmerge.  There are 4 or 5 domains that the users can no longer email to.  They had worked fine with the old NT 4 and Exchange 5.5 system.  No DNS or router changes were made.  Any ideas would be most apprecaited.  Thanks!

This is an example of a bounce back.  (We are able to email this user/domain from Yahoo and the like)

The following recipient(s) could not be reached:

      'risorgimento@earthlink.net' on 11/3/04 10:29 AM
            There was a SMTP communication problem with the recipient's email server.  Please contact your system administrator.

            <pegasus.lifespan-roch.local #5.5.0 smtp;550-EarthLink does not recognize your computer (64.80.9.99) as connecting from an EarthLink connection.  If this is in error, please contact technical support.>
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Question by:weststar1
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by:jdhoover123
ID: 12519629
I'd suggest trying (from your server) to telnet to the earthlink mail server - or others that are giving you troubles. You can follow the directions at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/q153119/. See if you get any odd messages back. Try it again from one you know works. What domains are giving you the trouble? I'm wondering if somehow you are on a blacklist with that IP address. Is the IP number of this new the server the same as that of the old?

Hoov
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by:weststar1
ID: 12519717

Yes, I can telnet to earthlink.net on port 25 and issue a helo and I get a good response.  I don't think it's a black list issue as everything worked fine just before the switch over.  There are very general domains that are involved including the rochester.rr.com and the local DSL/T1 ISP (Frontiernet).  The IP address is the same and has not changed.  Help!

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by:jdhoover123
ID: 12519950
The sample message - is this the same message you get from other bounces? The one you note above would seem to indicate that your Exchange server is trying to route through earthlink as YOUR outgoing mail server. Send a test message to ee21197790@1234.tv and let me see what your headers look like.

Hoov
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by:jdhoover123
ID: 12519958
Here is an article about this - from someone with a similar problem. It seems that Exchange defaults back to the A record instead of using a domain's MX record. How good of a DNS server do you have (that your Exchange server is using for resolution)? I'll see what else I can pull up.

http://www.eggheadcafe.com/ng/microsoft.public.exchange.connectivity/post174851.asp

Hoov
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by:jdhoover123
ID: 12519981
Everything I'm coming up with points to the DNS server that you are using having a problem looking up the MX record for earthlink.net. Exchange proceeds to request an A (HOST) record instead, and when that mail heads off to that host, Earthlink bounces it. I would suggest using a diferent DNS server (maybe reliability of that server is an issue here - not getting speedy enough replies back to Exchange). Here are two more articles about this:

http://www.interact-sw.co.uk/iangblog/2004/06/02/exchangeproblems

Read down a bit further on this one for the actual MX/A record issue.

http://www.mcse.ms/archive79-2004-1-236177.html

Hoov
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jdhoover123 earned 1000 total points
ID: 12520014
The first link on my previous post has both a "The Problem" and "The Solution" at the bottom - the solution being to point your DNS somewhere else. Here is a snippet:

The Problem
So, back to the other question: why is Exchange trying to deliver these emails to earthlink.net when that's not one of the addresses listed in the MX records? (And there's the less burning issue of why it does this to other domains too. It happens to get away with it with those, so it's not as troublesome as the Earthlink problem, but it would still be better to make it stop.)

Despite how it may seem, and contrary to what the usual response from Earthlink's support appears to indicate (going by what people on Usenet have said; I've not heard from Earthlink support myself) this is not in fact a problem with Exchange. It's a DNS problem. It seems that the way that SBS 2003 configures itself by default, the Exchange server will use the DNS server on the SBS server to do MX lookups, and that seems not to work all the time.

Exchange tries to deliver email to the wrong host because it's getting bogus results from the DNS lookups it performs to retrieve MX records. So the fault is not with Exchange - it's doing the right thing according to the results of its MX lookups. It's just that it's being given the wrong results by the DNS server for these lookups. Microsoft seem to think that this a firewall issue:

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;828263 

but I don't think it's that simple. This problem only occurs when using the Windows DNS server - by reconfiguring Exchange to talk directly to my ISP's DNS servers, going through the exact same firewall that the Windows DNS server was going through when forwarding requests, this problem was prevented. (And several other people seem to have found that this fixes the problem on their systems too.) Moreover, I saw the same issue occur with one domain which only had 2 MX records, so it seems unlikely that this is just an issue with the size. I seemed to be getting bogus entries in my DNS server's cache. (Flushing the cache would typically get rid of any email problems for a while, but they always came back.)

The Solution
As already mentioned, the solution seems to be to configure your Exchange server to use your ISP's DNS server. You do this by opening the properties for your Virtual SMTP Server, selecting the Delivery tab, clicking on the Advanced... button, and then clicking the Configure... button. Add the IP addresses of your ISP's DNS servers here. This causes Exchange to use those rather than using the local DNS.
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by:weststar1
ID: 12540055
Yup.. That fixed it.  Thanks for the excellent and detailed response.  It is most apprecaited!


                   - Dave
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