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Cannot connect to exchange server - Deleteing Mail profile and redoing fixes UNTIL YOU CLOSE OUTLOOK

Posted on 2005-02-25
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Last Modified: 2008-03-17
I've got a wierd one.  (I guess if they weren't wierd I could figure them out)  I have a user that suddenly says she cannot get to our exchange server.  We have Exchange 2000 and her pc is 2000 office 2000 with latest patches.  It comes up with the error cannot connect to Exchange server retry or work offline.  What I ended up doing is deleting her mail profile via control panel and redoing it.  I open outlook no problem and all her mail is there.  She has a pst that it all pulls down to and I ran a scanpst on that which shows no problem.  Everything is fine until I close outlook.  When I open it again, boom Cannot connect to exchange server retry/work off line.  I go and delete the profile again and re-create and it's fine.   Ran adware and found lots of alexia junk on it and killed it all.  Have Mcafee 8.0i, tried disabling scanning etc.   Upped the time out to 99 on the server. Have the exchange server and ip in the hosts file.  Added netbui.  Can ping the server by both name and IP without problem.  It's something related to this darn profile and I can't figure it out.  The topper to all of this is I am 3000 miles away on vacation and I would like it to stay that way but I have to keep dialing in to look at it.  Help with this would be GREATLY appriciated! :D

Thanks in advance.

Andria
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Question by:afluke
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25 Comments
 
LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:mark-wa
ID: 13408414
Here's what I would do:

NOTE:  Make sure the Office cd is in the drive or that you have a flat copy on the hard drive! ! !

rename the following registry keys:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office  (to oldOffice)

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office    (to oldOffice)

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\MICROSOFT\WINDOWS NT\ CURRENTVERSION\WINDOWS MESSAGING SUBSYSTEM\PROFILES     (to oldProfiles)

then open Outlook and it will rebuild those keys and prompt you to rebuild the profile.  Do that and see if it stays working this time.  Good luck!

Mark
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LVL 27

Expert Comment

by:Exchange_Admin
ID: 13409096
Just a thought here.
Could this user be configured for a roaming profile?
If so maybe any changes that are made, like creating a new Outlook profile, are not being saved when the user logs out.

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Author Comment

by:afluke
ID: 13505927
Thanks for the ideas.  

We tried the above registry fix and that did not work.

When you say user logs out are you talking about the pc or Outlook?   Because if I create the new profile and open outlook it's fine.  If I close outlook and not actually log out of the pc but then open outlook right after closing it , I get the Exchange server is not available.  It's like it's corrupting my profile instantly.  I did do the scanpst on her pst file and even tried not adding the pst and having her use the mailbox for Exchange.

I think at this point my only option is going to be to uninstall and re-install to see if that takes care of it.  I'll try anything quicker if anyone has any other ideas though.  

Thanks!

Andria
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LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:mark-wa
ID: 13509625
Let's see if it's the user account that is corrupted or the machine.  Have you had someone else login to the machine and setup their Outlook profile settings and test.  With a different user and a different user's mailbox, that will tell us if the work needs to be done on this machine or on the exchange server.

Mark
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Author Comment

by:afluke
ID: 13511068
Ah..didn't think of that... so this is what I did.

I first went into the exchange server and Active Directory. Went to her user name and did all exchange tasks and deleted her mailbox (she uses a pst so it was empty).  I then recreated it and tried and I still got the same error.  Thought about deleting her username but wanted to try the above suggestion first. Thought if it was exchange then deleting the mailbox would have been quicker but oh well.

So I logged in as myself and setup outlook for me and went into email.  Worked the first time, closed it down and when trying to open it again I get the same thing she was getting with the Retry.  She also let me know she was getting the following popup during her email sessions when it was working after a new email profile was created.

"Unable to Update Free/Busy Data. Outlook can't find the mail service provider. To check your profile settings, double click the mail icon in windows control panel or try to logon to your mail system again"  

I looked up that error on here and found a couple issues.  One had something to do with Terminal Services and the other suggested a service pack for Office.   I had the service pack on it but I think whilst I was gone my helper may have uninstalled so I service packed it to 3 and tried again.  Still didn't work so I deleted her user account on the Exchange server completly then recreated.  Then I started getting a  MAPI error ( I did a screen shot and closed it but it did not save so I don't have the exact error) when trying ot create a profile saying it couldn't save to the profile so I restarted her pc and I  was able to add the profile.  I'm back in the same place I was before where it gives me the retry error if I close outlook after re-doing the profile.  It looks like in most cases though if I hit Retry it does work.   It looks like uninstalling and re-installing is my next option but I'm worried it may do the same thing.
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LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:mark-wa
ID: 13511262
It is possible that Outlook is running in "Compatibility" mode.  Try this:

Search for "Outlook.exe" on her machine.  It should be in "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office"  unless you installed to a different directory.

Anyways, when you find it, right click on Outlook.exe and click Properties.  Select the Compatibility tab and uncheck everything.  Ok out of everything and you may or may not need to reboot the machine.  Then test.

Another thing, you might want to check the permissions on the following registry keys:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\MICROSOFT\WINDOWS NT\ CURRENTVERSION\WINDOWS MESSAGING SUBSYSTEM\PROFILES    

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\MICROSOFT\WINDOWS NT\ CURRENTVERSION\WINDOWS MESSAGING SUBSYSTEM

Mark
0
 

Author Comment

by:afluke
ID: 13517542
I found the outlook.exe but when I go to properties of it, there is not compatibility tab to choose.

I checked the keys and I can get to them but don't see where I can actually set permissions.  I'm assuming if I can get to them under her user name then she has access.  Not sure.

Thanks
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LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:mark-wa
ID: 13518090
Ah, I apologize.  I just noticed this is Win2000.  For some reason I was thinking it was WinXp.  That is why there was no Compatibility tab.  And actually, disregard that whole last post.  That is the HKEY_CURRENT_USER key, and so that would be user specific.  When you logged in as the admin and it still happened, that showed that it's not user specific.  Let me do some more brain storming about this.

Mark
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Author Comment

by:afluke
ID: 13518786
Ok thanks :)

I uninstalled Office2k and before that removed the profile in Mail.  I rebooted then re-installed.  Re-did the profile and still it's doing the same thing.  I tried putting in the server and ip addy in the lmhosts file since I had it in the hosts file already still no good.  What it will do is this:

1: First time putting in a new profile it will start up fine.
2: Once you close outlook and try to go back in, it sits a the outlook screen until it pops up the unable to contact exhcange retry screen.
3: I hit retry and it will bring up mail with an hour glass and about 3 minutes later you have email open.
4: I hit send/receive and it keeps the button depressed and you have to wait about 4 or 5 minutes then it will actually pop up the send/receive box and then after that email is perfectly fine.  I can hit send/receive and it will isntantly check.  Emails go in and out without any problem.  The user just has to NOT close outlook if they don't want to go through the above again.  

At least at this point I can have her hit retry.   While I was up there the user that sits next to her mentions to me "oh I get that retry msg all the time and just hit it and it works"   I asked him if he has the same slow speed issues when first going in and he said for a few seconds it does hang a for a bit but then finally works.  Not sure why he didn't log it as an issue but I guess he can deal with it better than my other user.  So hopefully if I can fix hers I can do his as well.    

Thanks!
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LVL 27

Accepted Solution

by:
Exchange_Admin earned 800 total points
ID: 13519028
Just out of curiosity.
On the users workstation, what DNS server(s) are configured?
Make sure that only internal DNS servers are listed. If there are dns servers for your ISP listed then remove them. Forwarders should be configured on your internal servers instead of placing ISP DNS servers in the workstation configuration.

Just a thought. Hope this helps.
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Author Comment

by:afluke
ID: 13519068
The DNS servers are pointing to our ISP DNS numbers so they can have internet access.  I haven't done anything with DNS through servers so I guess I have to look into that piece.  

Why would it suddenly start happening though and 68 other people would be ok?
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Author Comment

by:afluke
ID: 13519131
Also,

One of my biggests issues I think is that my PDC is an NT 4.0 server and the rest of my servers are all Win2k.  My BDC died so I'm stuck right now.  So people authenticate to the Winnt server then I have users that match setup on the Win2k Exchange server in AD.

I need to get the PDC updated to Win2k and AD then be able to put a BDC in place.  I'm a beginner at AD so between not knowing enough about it yet and having 4 million other things to do at work I have not been able to deal with it.  I think allot of my issues will end up getting resolved when I get the upgrade done.  I do tend to have alot of DNS issues.

Thanks :)
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LVL 27

Expert Comment

by:Exchange_Admin
ID: 13519207
My thought is that your ISP's DNS servers know nothing about your internal domain structure. They cannot resolve a name to your Exchange server for example.
Eventually it resolves because the workstations broadcast the request.

Ideally you need to point all workstations only to your internal DNS servers.
On the internal DNS servers config forwarders to redirect any unresolved requests to your ISP's DNS servers.

Sorry I cannot give you a better answer than this.
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LVL 27

Expert Comment

by:Exchange_Admin
ID: 13519328
You AD configuration sounds like a whole other can of worms. (no offense meant).
You stated:
"So people authenticate to the Winnt server then I have users that match setup on the Win2k Exchange server in AD. "

I don't really understand what you are saying here.
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Author Comment

by:afluke
ID: 13519339
AHA!

Since you mentioned DNS I went into the users TCP/IP and into DNS and found two entries under append dns of a couple of .net sites.  I took them out and tried email and it worked fine!!  Not sure why she had those in there but I think they may be our clients and they might have told her to put them in.  
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LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:mark-wa
ID: 13519340
Dang it, I should have known that, but I think Exchange_Admin has hit the nail on the head!  I've seen that a bunch of times too, but for some reason it didn't click on this one.  Putting the Exchange server name and address in the host files should have at least improved performance a little.  Since you have Win2k servers, configure DNS on one of them and add forwarders to your ISP's DNS servers.  I don't know a lot about DNS neither, but if you dive in, it's actually pretty intuitive.  Our DNS server is on one of our domain controllers, but I don't know if it required to be on a domain controller.  Maybe Exchange_Admin can answer that for us.

Mark
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LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:mark-wa
ID: 13519360
You guys must have been typing at the same time I was!   :)
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Author Comment

by:afluke
ID: 13519501
hehe yeah Mark.

Exch Adm: What I meant by that line is they login to the domain which is the NT 4.0 PDC with a user name and password.  I have a username and password that matches that on my exchange Win2k server in Active Directory so that Exchange won't prompt them for a username and password.  I think that because of that, it's possible that I get alot of problems especially if for some reason the user is able to login but it did not actually authenticate correctly to the PDC.

I think I have it though with removing those .net entries in the DNS settings.  I checked with the other user and he has the same .net's in his as well.  Apparently they had just put them in trying to get access to a new customer (so much for asking "Are you sure nothing has changed on this pc recently?")

They RAS into the site and when you add the DNS to the RAS it automatically puts it on the LAN settings.  They apparently need these settings to be able to access the site.    So if I setup a DNS server and do forwarding on that server which all workstations are pointing to will that help or are these .net's messing with my LAN settings all together?    I'm not asking on how to setup DNS - I will do the research on that and get that all going, I'm just wondering if these .net's are going to pose the problem no matter what I do.

Thanks!!
0
 

Author Comment

by:afluke
ID: 13519509
I'm thinking you answered my question above.  I think I just need to setup the DNS server and add those .net's on the forwarding piece on the servers vs. the Pc's LAN settings.

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LVL 13

Assisted Solution

by:mark-wa
mark-wa earned 200 total points
ID: 13519532
That should work!  But even if you had them on the PC's themselves, as long as you had your own DNS server you were pointing to as the primary DNS server, I don't think those other settings would affect it at all.  Good luck on that though!

Mark
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LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:mark-wa
ID: 13519563
Thanks afluke!
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Author Comment

by:afluke
ID: 13519577
I accepted the DNS answer since that led me to look at the DNS settings and find that DNS entry.  I gave 200 to Exch and 50 to you mark I hope that's ok. I wasn't sure if I should split them evenly or what. You both gave me all kinds of things to look at.  Do you assign points for the actual result or just as the amount of suggestions?   You both were extremely helpful!  

Let me know about the points for future issues.  I want to make sure I'm doing it right!

Thanks again guys!
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LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:mark-wa
ID: 13519609
I think you did it perfectly.  Exchange_Admin definitely deserved the points.  But it is always nice to award points to others that have tried to help, but it's not always necessary.  I guess it just depends on how you felt about their help.  Anyways, glad you got it figured out!

Mark
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LVL 27

Expert Comment

by:Exchange_Admin
ID: 13519791
Glad I was able to help.
I had been watching this thread for some time.
Sometimes you can't see the forest for the trees (I am guilty of this at times).
Also I think it is human nature to try to complicate a problem, hence my earlier suggestion about roaming profiles.

But that is why I love this site. It is great being able to assist others and I always seem to be able to learn something new on a daily basis.

Good luck with everything and thanks for the points.
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Expert Comment

by:ozzie1225
ID: 15123171
Trying to add a new maibox on mircosoft windows nt  and I keep getting an error id no:0xc002051f There are currently no logon servers available to service the logon request.
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