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Exchange 2003 OWA Stuck on Loading (Front end exchange)

I've got a back end exchange server that we have been running for a few weeks now with about 40 mailboxes on it and it works great.  OWA worked right out of the box and everything is fine.  i just recently brought up a new server that is also an exchange 2003 server (both are running SP1 now) and that one looked fine to though i couldn't test OWA because it had no mailboxes (trying to use OWA in it redirected to the other exchange server) but i didn't have any issues as far as i know.

I turned the box into a front end (by just checking that checkbox in ESM and rebooting) and when i try to use the OWA on the box now, it loads half of the graphics (some toolbars, some colors) and has a "Loading..." peice of text in the main section, and it just hangs there.  i've looked at a few microsoft articles on this and i've blown away the virtual folders in IIS and rebuilt them, i've reinstalled exchange (uninstalled, reinstalled, said yes to overwriting half a dozen files, then service packed it up to SP1, then turned it to front end exchange) and i've tried a whole bunch of other things that didn't do anything.

I'd really like to get this up because its holding up setting up RPC/HTTP and a whole bunch of other things that i want to do on this front end.  any ideas?
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onsite_tech
Asked:
onsite_tech
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5 Solutions
 
SembeeCommented:
Can I presume that you have seen this article:

http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=280823

When you removed Exchange, did you remove IIS as well? I suspect the problem might be within IIS as it has survived Exchange reinstall.

Simon.
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eatmeimadanishCommented:
You are having a permission problem.  in my experience this is usually solved by incorporating SSL.  

http://www.msexchange.org/tutorials/SSL_Enabling_OWA_2003.html

This should help.
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onsite_techAuthor Commented:
Well, long story short, i reloaded the whole front end server (OS and all) and the issue is still occuring.  i threw SSL and the Form Based Authentication on there and it still doesn't work.  I took it out of the front end role and put a mailbox on it, that works.  i'm guessing there is something breaking when i put it into front end mode or when it tries to talk to my backend server.  the backend server does not have SSL loaded on it and its not using that new Form Based Authentication, its literally just an out of the box install.

Does anyone have any ideas at all?
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SembeeCommented:
That sounds like something isn't communicating properly between the frontend and the backend.
Anything in between the two servers?

Simon.
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onsite_techAuthor Commented:
nope, they are both on a private NAT'ed network.  they are in a VLAN'ed network but on the same VLAN.  the network is an exchange2003/domain2003 network with 2 DC's and 2 Exchange servers.  i have no idea what could be broken between the two servers.  both are running SP1 (and that little hotfix that you have to install for SP1) and both are exchange 2003 enterprise.  i'm clueless on this one...
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eatmeimadanishCommented:
Lets think this through.  IIS runs your OWA.  OWA comminicates to the backend servers for the actual exchange data.  We get the data, it's just that the graphics do not display properly.  This is a permissions problem, but not just in the OWA, this could be blocked by something that filters the data from IIS.  Either at the root user level having no access to some particular aspect of IIS, or more likely IIS itself is setup improperly.  Right click on the virtual web directory and verify that all of the permissions are open.  You can also view (you may have already) the knowledge base article.  Your problem is definitly an issue of something stripping or blocking your access.

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;280823
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SembeeCommented:
If it is a clean build of the frontend server then you have to start looking at the backend server being at fault... or something like a duff network port or similar.

Simon.
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eatmeimadanishCommented:
The more I think about this, it sounds like an IIS URLscan issue.  I would try uninstalling it.  The link below is more then likely your problem.

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;325965
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