Unable to open default folders. Microsoft Exchange Server computer is unavailable.

We are running Exchange 5.5, and we are not able to connect. Most PC's are
running Outlook 2000 and connection was fine until one day ago. Now, whenever
we try opening Outlook it says "Unable to open default folders. Microsoft
Exchange Server computer is unavailable..." I have tried restarting the
server. Right when the server comes back, I can connect using Outlook
(sluggishly). Then after a few minutes the connection fails. I can ping the
server, and I have tried altering DNS settings. The exchange services on the
server are also "started".

There are no application event log errors and the server is running at 100%, it seems.

Thank you very very much!
TejjAsked:
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Exchange_AdminCommented:
Well try this:
On one of the problem clients, edit the HOSTS file and add the Exchange server name and IP Address in there. Save the file. Make sure it is saved as HOSTS without an extention.
Now launch Outlook.

If it connects properly then you are having name resolution problems.
Check your DNS and/or WINS.
TejjAuthor Commented:
I changed the primary DNS from the external ISP DNS settings to the internal server IP, but to no avail. It still did not connect to the server. Does this not mean that adding the server to the HOSTS file would not solve the problem. Sorry, I should have been clearer. NONE of the PC's can connect. Outlook 2003 is on one machine and the rest are Outlook 2000. I also have no problems opening the shared drives.

Thank you!!

Tejj
jwildingCommented:
Is Exchange actually running?  Is there anything in the Event Viewer?  You haven't run out of disk space on the Exchange or hit your 16GB mail store limit have you?

J
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jwildingCommented:
Sorry, should have read the question better first :-(
Exchange_AdminCommented:
Workstations inside your network should ALWAYS point ONLY to your internal DNS server. There should be no mention whatsoever of your ISP's DNS servers.
You should set up forwarders on your DNS server pointing to the ISP's DNS server.

Did you reboot the client after changing the DNS settings?
champ555Commented:
One sure way to check if your exchange is running is by testing OWA.

Do you have OWA installed on your exchange 5.5 machine?

If so, try testing that.

You can also try to telnet on port 25 on your exchange server to see if you have connectivity to that.

do this:

on command prompt:

telnet <servername> 25

see if you get the exchange banner.

If that doesn't work, try:

telnet <exchange server ip address> 25

If the ip works, work on your dns.

Another thing you can do is:

Restart your Ms Exchange Information Store service.

Check your event logs for any errors or warnings.

einsteinjr79Commented:
reconfigure outook. I suppose the problem is fro the client side. Also as mentioned telnet to port 25 internal as well as external and check for webmail functionality.
TejjAuthor Commented:
Okay, so after further investigation I have found the source, not the solution. It seems in the event log (application) on the NT server there are many exchange errors.

The first is 166 event ID at ESE97. This stipulates the "database engine has reached capacity".

The second is 1112 event ID at MSExchangeIS. This stipulate the "database has reached maximum allowed size."

Now, because the Exchange Information Store cannot start, when I delete a user through user manager, and it asks to delete the mailbox, I do and then it says it cannot delete the mailbox because the information store is not running. Any solutions?

Thank you,

TJ


jwildingCommented:
It has been a long time since I did 5.5, but isn't there a tool in the System Manager for cleaning up the mail store.  Also may be an idea to stop inbound mail before you try and clean up as otherwise you may find you have problems as the mailstore hits its limit.  Could also try an offline defrag.

J
TejjAuthor Commented:
How do I do either?
champ555Commented:
There you go :)

You found the source of your problem!  

I have good news & bad news - you want good news first I guess ?

Good news - You can fix this issue.

Bad News - its gonna take some time!

Even deleting users from Exchange Administrator will not solve your issue, as this will not reduce the physical size of your exchange database.

All standard version of exchange before Exchange 2003 sp2 was limited to 16GB.

Now you have reached that 16GB.

What you need to do, is perform a process called as offline defrag on your exchange database.

Now i'm assuming you have never done this.   So that is a good thing, because then its most likely that you will have sufficient white space, which will shrink the size when you do offline defrag.

I'll give you the steps to perform offline defrag.  But remember, this will only reduce by a bit, or to whatever amount of whitespace your exchange server has.  So take backups, and do your clean up and then perform offline backup again.  Use the ulitity called Exmerge if you have to extract data and preserve it.

Here is the article on how to perform offline defrag:  if you want it quick and dirty, here is the syntax:

eseutil /d priv.edb

- do this from the exchsrvr\mdbdata directory where your priv.edb file actually resides.


Here is a MS article explaining eseutil :
182903      XADM: ESEUTIL Command Line Parameters
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;182903



Here is the article which explains your exact behaviour:

185457      XADM: Information Store Shuts Down; Database at Maximum Size
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;185457



All the best :)
ITCEXCHANGECommented:
One other thing that was not mentioned and is not mentioned in the article:

Make sure you remove all log files associated with the database after the defragged is preformed.

Once you have ran defrag the time and date stamp are changed. The log files no longer match the database. If you do not remove the log files after defrag there is a really good chance that when you start the information store service the database will become inconsistent.

The log files are located in the mdbdata directory. If the exchange Optimizer has been run at any time, you may have the log files on another drive. The directory structure should be the same: \exchsrvr\mdbdata.

Also you must remove the edb.chk file which probably will be on the install drive of exchange : \exchsrvr\mdbdata.

NOTE:::::: MAKE SURE YOU MAKE A "COPY" BACKUP OF THE DATABASE BEFORE RUNNING DEFRAG.

TejjAuthor Commented:
The good news bad news scenario was perfect, except that I only have 5 GB of free space to work with, so the defrag stopped in the middle of it's performance. Is there anyway to increase the limit temporarily?

What is a command to send the temp file to a network share?

Where was the initial temp file stored?

ITCEXCHANGECommented:
The intial temp file is stored in the directory where the database is located. Yes you can specfiy a temp area by this  /T switch EXAMPLE

eseutil /d d:\exchsrvr\mbdata\priv.edb /Ti:\temp\tempfrag.edb

You must give the temp database a filename:

I would not suggest to defrag the database over a network.

You can however copy the database to any computer and run the defrag. Just copy the ese.dll and eseutil.exe file in the same directory you copy the database to and run it from that directory. Those two files can be found in the system32 directory or the exchsrvr\bin directory.
TejjAuthor Commented:
I will do that. Thank you for the help ITCEXCHANGE AND champ555. So I am assuming, once I defrag it, I can just copy it back, correct? After I delete the log files from the C:\exchsrvr\mdadata and then the chk file from d:\exchsrvr\mdadata and then copy the priv.edb file back, should I just start opening mailboxes from client machines and start deleting messages?

I also have the problem of orphaned mailboxes. Because I started deleting users, and their mailboxes could not be deleted because the Information Store was not running, their mailboxes are floating.

You guys have been a great help, I just wish it were quicker. Copying the files then defragging will pretty much take all day/night.

Thank you
ITCEXCHANGECommented:
Once you have copied the database back, and remove the log files and the .chk, file you must go into services and start the Microsoft Exchange information store service.


ITCEXCHANGE
http://www.itcexchange.com


TejjAuthor Commented:
Then I will be sure in the internet mail service is "stopped", so no new message come through before I go in and begin deleting messages. Any tips on eliminating the orphaned mailboxes? And how do I check the size of existing mailboxes. I will set limits in the future.

Best and your help has been great. I hope it works!

TJ
ITCEXCHANGECommented:
Run the DS/IS Consistency Adjuster in the 5.5 admin tool. Adust for inconsistency between the Directory store and private information store. This will remove the orphaned mailboxes
champ555Commented:
lol I left the information that you need 110% of free diskspace on the drive you do defrag from, or else you can point it with the parameters with eseutil.

I assumed you would read the article which mentiones the 110% requirement :P

It should work, if not, write us back and we'll help you make it work :)
TejjAuthor Commented:
Hey Champ, sorry for the oversight. Thanks again.
TejjAuthor Commented:
Eseutil keeps disappearing even after I have targeted another PC as the temp store!!! it just keeps shutting down regardless of where I do it.
ITCEXCHANGECommented:
You should receive a Jet_err and something after that. Also what is the command line you are giving?
TejjAuthor Commented:
I have given it the command line from the server as
eseutil.exe /d d:\exchsrvr\mdbdata\priv.edb /tz:\tempdfrg.edb

Where z is the network drive.

It was not working after copying and running on another PC so I am just directing the temp file to a network drive.

I will look for the Jet_err and post.
ITCEXCHANGECommented:
I do not think you can put a temp file to a network drive.
TejjAuthor Commented:
It's working thus far. I will give you the error when it comes.
TejjAuthor Commented:
It is going past about 10%
ITCEXCHANGECommented:
You actually can, but if you have allot of network traffic the defrag may fail.



"If disk space is a problem, there are several options. Number one is, of course, add another drive that is large enough to hold the temp file to the Exchange server. This is by far the best option, even if it's just a simple I drive. Number two, point the temp file to a network drive. Even on a fast network, though, this will have a severe performance impact, in addition to creating the possibly of failure due to a minor network issue or hiccup. Number three, you can actually copy the whole database over to another server and run the defrag there, and then copy it back manually In some cases you may find that this is faster than using a temp file on a network drive."

That is taken from a microsoft webcast back in 2002
TejjAuthor Commented:
jet_error says disk is full!
ITCEXCHANGECommented:
Did you verify that the TEmp file was created on the network drive?? ALso how much space do you have on the C:| drive or wherever your Page File is located.

I would just copy the file to another computer and run defrag from there.

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TejjAuthor Commented:
The temp file was created on the network drive. But even though there were over 100 GB available, is stopped after two GB's. I am copying it to another PC with the 50GB. And trying again. It is very frustrating.
TejjAuthor Commented:
After putting it on to another PC and running ESEUTIL, I get the error -1018 (Jet_errReadVerifyFailure, Read Verification Error

This is crazy!
ITCEXCHANGECommented:
I hope everything worked out for you.

ITC
champ555Commented:
Well -1018 means almost always hardware error.

You might need to run hard repair and then an offline defrag.

I missed out on all the fun, but I see you copied the database on another computer?

Did you make sure the other pc is having the same version of windows (including the service pack?)

All the best :)

TejjAuthor Commented:
Okay, with the IMMENSE help of ITCExchange and champ555 I got to the bottom of it. Here is the situation and steps.

1) The priv.edb exchange file had reached its 16GB max. The information store could not start because of this.
2) We could not do a defrag on the server using eseutil.exe, because in order to do a defrag you need the equal amount of free space (in this case 16GB)
3) So, we moved the priv.edb to another PC. We began the defrag (eseutil /d), but got a read failure error. We performed a repair (eseutil /p), and then succesfully ran the defrag.
4) The file was transferred back to the server (but before the log files from and edb.chk file were deleted). Be sure to check if you have two partitions with the exchsrv\mdbdata folder. The primary partition will contain the edb.chk file, and the partition with the active priv.edb (16 GB) file will have the log files.
4.5) Repair and defrag the pub.edb file as well.
5) Next run DI/IS consistency adjuster via exchange administrator> it is found in the properties (rt.click) of the server.
6) Finally you have to run Isinteg -patch, and then an Isinteg repair (I do not recall the command)

when all else fails go to www.itcexchange.com and give them a call!

TejjAuthor Commented:
That is a very general summary. You do also have to stop and start the MS Exchange services at various times.
ITCEXCHANGECommented:
Thanks for the points.
champ555Commented:
Tejj You could have called me too, I guess I should put my url huh ? :D

Hope its all working now.

Tip : Upgrade to E2k3 standard, it has the minimum size of 75GB.  Not to mention other benefits.

Ciao.
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