Outlook 2003 is Timing out while Synchronizing via VPN with Exchange Server 2003

Posted on 2005-04-28
Last Modified: 2012-06-21
I currently have another issue with this same server.  I'm providing a link incase this issue maybe related due to the other.

I'm running a single SBS 2003 Server with MS Exchange 2003, DNS, DHCP, Routing and Remote access for VPN connections.
I inherited this server from thier old IT person, who they got rid of, so i didn't do the initial setup and configuration.

Software I have installed is Symantec Corp Edition 6.0 with Mail Security for Exchange and Brightstore Arcserv backup v11...both all updated to current stuff

I have 8 users using this server.  All of them VPN at one point or another.  2 of these people are on a daily basis and are reporting a problem with the
Outlook 2003 client timing or getting disconnected after they connect up to VPN.  In the office everything works fine.

I goto my laptop and create the VPN connection and connect perfectly fine.

I create my profile in Outlook 2003 and configure the settings to look for the Exchange server.
I'm able to send receive with no problems.

I remote into the server and check mail boxs and see they both have about 200MB mailboxes.  So I create a new profile and login as both these users.  
Export all thier email and then import them into a TesTuser profile that i just created.

In all three occurances (downloading from User1 and User2 and uploading from TestUser) Outlook will start sync...then a few seconds into the sync it will
lose connection and  give a message of trying to contact the exchange server.  It reconnects after a long delay and then repeat over and over again.

I've checked DNS, DHCP, Routing and Remote Access, Exchange to see if there was anything wierd going on. But I can't seem to find anything that stands out.

I did notice one thing while viewing the server I noticed on the task manager under Physical Memory.

If my own memory serves me correct isn't the Available memory and System Cache supposed to equal or Less then TOTAL ?  I didn't think it was possible to
go over the TOTAL?  Or am i missing something here?

If anybody can direct me on ways to solving this issue it will be greatly appreciated
Question by:Urlryn
    LVL 20

    Expert Comment

    One Server with all that on it...? YEOW! no wonder why things are slow. Having an Exchange server on a AD server is usually a no no. Slows things down ALOT! especially when you have all the other SBS goodies going as well on it.

    And yes, normally the Available memory and System Cache are Less then TOTAL.

    Correction... Get another server. My 2 cents.. Probably won't get me any points though. ;)

    Perhaps someone can actually help you out, but to do that your probably going to have to come up with some more info.
    LVL 2

    Author Comment

    Yeah I know ... i said hte same thing when i heard all this stuff was on the single server.
    I'm surprised they didn't put the firewall and webserver on it too actually! =P

    Well whatever info you need i'll be at the server tomorrow most of the day doing tests and checking this forum to see if someone comes up with something! =)

    LVL 9

    Expert Comment

    If you run SBS you are limited in many respects to one server since it will not work togheter with other DC's only member servers. Your server have enough memory to run fine.
    With regards to your problem have a look at this article:
    You can also enable cached mode for your clients to improve
    LVL 20

    Expert Comment

    Joedoe58 - Exchange server will run perfectly fine sperate from SBS since you normally set it up as a member server not and AD. Exchange Server setup on an AD server always suffers greatly in performance and having alot of memory is't the only factor in running that sort of configuration. Although the MS KB that you point to is a vaild starting point.

    Urlryn - Use the Utilities that come with Exchange Server to look into optimizing your Exchange side of things. You'll have to exploer the Cd to find them, but there are a bunch of tools that come with it.
    Tell me what sort of setup you have on your Server if you will though. Is it IDE, SCSI? Single Disk, Multi Disk and or RAID? I see your taskmamnger has 2 CPUS'' which probably means have a Dual Xenon.. but not sure.. Also what spped of CPU? More info will help figure this out.
    LVL 3

    Expert Comment

    just don't use the caching on your exchange account.
    You can set this in outlook throught Tools, Accounts, Edit existing, select your account, and there make sure the caching option is not checked.

    Problem solved!

    hope this helps!


    LVL 20

    Assisted Solution

    JoeDoe58, Urlryn -  sorry I may have mispoke on the Exchange issue and SBS. I was assuming that you were refering to having Exchange Server 2003 as a seperate product running on the SBS machine. Did you mean that you hare running the Exchange Server that comes with SBS? If so JoeDoe58 is somewhat correct but not for his given reason. SBS does work with other DC's but you can only have it as the Root server with no other SBS computers. But you can not run the programs that come with SBS on any other server.

    I know I'm off point here but another note...

    Windows Server 2003 for Small Business Server has the following restrictions:

    • Only one computer in a domain can be running Windows Server 2003 for Small Business Server.
    • Windows Server 2003 for Small Business Server must be the root of the Active Directory® forest.
    • Windows Server 2003 for Small Business Server cannot trust any other domains.
    • A Windows Server 2003 for Small Business Server domain cannot have any child domains.
    • Each additional server must have a Windows Server 2003 for Small Business Server client access license (CAL). You can use CALs for each user or for each device.

    and here is another point that you may want to consider:

    Q. Is it possible to install the server applications included with Windows Small Business Server 2003 on a different computer running Windows Server? For example, I want to run SQL Server on the computer running Windows Small Business Server 2003, but I want to run Exchange Server 2003 on a different computer.

    A. No. The server applications that come with the product must be installed on the same physical machine, if they are installed at all. The only exception is that FrontPage 2003, which is included with the premium edition, may be installed on a single client computer in the Windows Small Business Server 2003 network.
    LVL 2

    Author Comment

    Thanks for the info and updates on SBS 2003.

    It is just wierd that everything works fine till they take the laptops home and VPN in and do the same things they normally do while in the office.

    Outlook is currently set in caching mode for each of the users.

    When they are at home and then VPN in the Caching mode syncs with the Exchange server and thats where all the problem start happening. It will go for a few seconds before it loses connection and keeps trying to connect.  Eventually it does and goes for a while and this happens over and over till the sync is done.

    So maybe i should enable caching mode in the office and then turn it off while outside the office? Is there a way to automatically assign this action to test?
    LVL 2

    Author Comment

    Did some more testing and realized there was a new 3com switch installed just as the problems seem to have started up.

    Doing a few more tests and thinking this maybe the problem!
    LVL 3

    Accepted Solution

    i'm still advising you to not use the caching in outlook on your exchange account.
    Instead use the synchronisation and offline folderaccesss...

    will speed up everything for you...

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