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Outgoing emails stick in Outbox

I asked this question a few weeks back. I haven't found a solution yet, so I thought I'd ask again...

I have a client with an SBS2003 server and 3 client laptops that connect via a wireless lan when they are in the office, and by Outlook via the Internet when outside the office.

Two of the users have a problem. Occasionally when they send an email, it sticks in the Outbox and doesn't send. This happens both inside the office and when they are off site. When a message is stuck in the Outbox, they can compose and send another message which will send normally. They can also Forward the stuck message, and the forwarded message will send normally. Eventually the stuck messages will get sent. It seems strange that other messages can  be sent and received normally while there is a message stuck in the Outbox. I have asked them to check for Internet connectivity at the time a message is stuck. They always report that Internet connectivity is normal.

This has been happening ever since I installed the server 6 weeks ago. I am getting pressure put on me to resolve this now.

Ian
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ipendlebury
Asked:
ipendlebury
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1 Solution
 
Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
Y'know, I had lost track of that question -- sorry about that.

I did review your IPCONFIG /ALL from the server and it has a wrong IP address for the WINS server.  (192.168.16.2 instead of 192.168.0.2).  While this may not cause emails to stick it will cause other problems and is indicates to me that you may have changed the IP address of the server at some point -- which CAN effect Exchange if it didn't get changed properly.

Since you say this is a new install though, I'm wondering how the WINS IP address got that way?  

Can you shed some light on that and perhaps that will help us find out what else is going on?

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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ipendleburyAuthor Commented:
Hello Jeff,

Thanks for the reply.

Yes this is a new install, but I originally set the server up on my own network and gave the local area adapter the address 192.168.16.2

I hadn't noticed that the WINS address hadn't changed when I changed the IP address and ran the ICW. I've changed the WINS setting now in the advanced TCP/IP settings. Do I need to reconfigure anything else?

Ian
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
You should run the CHANGE IP ADDRESS wizard to fix this by using your current IP as the "change".  You'll find the wizard in the Internet & Email section of the Management Console.

It won't hurt to just run the wizard even though you've manually changed it... because the wizard cleans out a few registry entries as well.

Since you had originally set it up on another network, I'd also be concerned that the DHCP scope didn't set up correctly.  Be sure that the scope options have the following:

Option Name      Vendor            Value            Class
003 Router                                  Standard   192.168.0.2      None
006 DNS Servers                  Standard      192.168.0.2      None
015 DNS Domain Name            Standard      domainname.local      None
044 WINS/NBNS Servers            Standard      192.168.0.2      None
046 WINS/NBT Node Type            Standard      0x8            None

Then, on a workstation please open C:\Program Files\Microsoft Windows Small Business Server\Clients\sbsdefalut.prf with a text editor -- copy and post SECTIONS 1 - 5 to this thread.

Thanks!

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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ipendleburyAuthor Commented:
Hello Jeff,

Ok i've run the Change Server IP Address wizard (Didn't know it was there previously!) The DHCP Scope Options were correct, so no problem there.

I've done all this via TS tonight. It will be Friday before I can go in there and open a client sbsdefault.prf So I will also get a couple of days worth of feed back to see if anything has improved.

Thanks for your help so far.

Ian

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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
Working remotely shouldn't stop you from being able to access those files, by the way.

You can do so in one of three ways...

1.  TS into your server, and then open the Server Management Console > Client Computers.  Right Click on the computer you want to access and then select "Connect using Terminal Services".  If there is someone using this machine or if it's not Windows XP, then you need to use the following method...

2.  TS into your server.  Open up Windows Explorer and enter the following in the Address Bar "\\<computername>\C$"  Then you can navigate to the proper folder and retrieve the log.

3.  Remote Web Workplace is will get you to a workstation just about the same as option 1, but uses different protocols in case there are problems wtih option 1 working.

FYI, I access all networks I manage remotely and have created a custom Management Console for this.  You can see a screen shot of it here:  http://techsoeasy.com/m.jpg

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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ipendleburyAuthor Commented:
Hello Jeff,

OK here's the log from one of the laptops. Section 5 was empty


; **************************************************************
; Section 1 - Profile Defaults
; **************************************************************

[General]
Custom=1
ProfileName=SBSOutlook
DefaultProfile=Yes
OverwriteProfile=Append
ModifyDefaultProfileIfPresent=TRUE
DefaultStore=Service1

; **************************************************************
; Section 2 - Services in Profile
; **************************************************************

[Service List]
ServiceX=Microsoft Outlook Client
ServiceEGS=Exchange Global Section
Service1=Microsoft Exchange Server
ServiceEGS=Exchange Global Section
Service2=Outlook Address Book
Service3=Fax Mail Transport

;***************************************************************
; Section 3 - List of internet accounts
;***************************************************************

[Internet Account List]

;***************************************************************
; Section 4 - Default values for each service.
;***************************************************************

[ServiceX]
CachedExchangeMode=0x00000002
CachedExchangeSlowDetect=TRUE

[ServiceEGS]
CachedExchangeConfigFlags=0x00000500
MailboxName=%UserName%
HomeServer=vernon

[Service1]
OverwriteExistingService=No
UniqueService=Yes
MailboxName=%UserName%
HomeServer=vernon
AccountName=Microsoft Exchange Server

[Service2]

[Service3]

;[ServiceX]
;FormDirectoryPage=
;-- The URL of Exchange Web Services Form Directory page used to create Web forms.
;WebServicesLocation=
;-- The URL of Exchange Web Services page used to display unknown forms.
;ComposeWithWebServices=
;-- Set to TRUE to use Exchange Web Services to compose forms.
;PromptWhenUsingWebServices=
;-- Set to TRUE to use Exchange Web Services to display unknown forms.
;OpenWithWebServices=
;-- Set to TRUE to prompt user before opening unknown forms when using Exchange Web Services.


;***************************************************************
; Section 5 - Values for each internet account.
;***************************************************************

;***************************************************************
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
Okay, those settings are all good... just wanted to make sure.

So, my best guess at this point is that you have some errant DNS entries on your server.  This would cause that behavior and since you already have told me that you originally set up the server with a different IP Address, I would guess that there may be some junk lingering around in your DNS configuration.

It's quite possible that you've fixed the problem by running the Change IP Address wizard... but there's a good chance that you didn't.

If you want to inspect your DNS configuration from the Administrative Tools > DNS  what you would be looking for is if 192.168.16.2 is still showing up anywhere.  Most importantly in
                                         _msdcs.visualspace.local
                                                                      \
                                                                      gc  --- there should be the entry  "(same as parent folder)     Host(A)    192.168.0.2"

The same entry should appear in the DomainDnsZones and ForestDnsZones.  There should be no entry for 192.168.16.2 anywhere.  If there is, you may have trouble removing it because it is probably listed as an INTERFACE in the server's properties.  To correct this, RIGHT CLICK on "VERNON" in the DNS manager and select PROPERTIES.  On the Interfaces tab, make sure that there is only ONE entry -- 192.168.0.2.

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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ipendleburyAuthor Commented:
Hi Jeff,

I couldn't find 192.168.16.2 anywhere in the Forward Lookup Zones. and there was only the 192.168.0.2 Interface listed in the DNS server properties.

However I'm suspicious about what I am seeing in the Reverse Lookup Zones. There are two entries:

192.168.16.x Subnet
192.168.x.x Subnet

Do I need a 192.168.0.x Subnet?
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ipendleburyAuthor Commented:
This might be worth mentioning. I 'm getting errors like this appearing about once a day in the Event Viewer:

The DNS server encountered a packet addressed to itself on IP address 192.168.0.2. The packet is for the DNS name "8.79.129.194.in-addr.arpa.". The packet will be discarded. This condition usually indicates a configuration error.
 
Check the following areas for possible self-send configuration errors:
  1) Forwarders list. (DNS servers should not forward to themselves).
  2) Master lists of secondary zones.
  3) Notify lists of primary zones.
  4) Delegations of subzones.  Must not contain NS record for this DNS server unless subzone is also on this server.
  5) Root hints.
 
Example of self-delegation:
  -> This DNS server dns1.example.microsoft.com is the primary for the zone example.microsoft.com.
  -> The example.microsoft.com zone contains a delegation of bar.example.microsoft.com to dns1.example.microsoft.com,
  (bar.example.microsoft.com NS dns1.example.microsoft.com)
  -> BUT the bar.example.microsoft.com zone is NOT on this server.
 
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
Yup.

Delete the two that are there and add a new one for 192.168.0.x.

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
That also could be a problem.  Your external IP address (or it's REVERSE entry should NOT be in your server's DNS).  You'll have to check all those items out to be sure that it's not there.

Do you have any DNS zones other than visualspace.local, _msdcs.visualspace.local, and 192.168.0.x (the reverse one that you will be creating)?

Jeff
TechSoEasy

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ipendleburyAuthor Commented:
The Server has an external IP address of 192.168.1.2 It is connected to the internet via a Netgear Router. I can't see this address anywhere in DNS.

I noticed that in the Root Hints properties of the DNS Server, there was just one entry for Vernon.visualspace.local and that the IP address was listed as unknown. I checked on one of my other servers and this was also listed like this. Should I put the IP address in there.

I did something a few weeks ago that might be significant... The users complained that they couldn't see the external website internally. So I added a DNS zone to fix this. I added a Forward Lookup Zone called visualspacegroup.com and added an A record called www. I used the internal IP Address of the server in this record.

Since I sent my last reply, the following event was logged:

The DNS server encountered a packet addressed to itself on IP address 192.168.0.2. The packet is for the DNS name "8.79.129.194.in-addr.arpa.". The packet will be discarded. This condition usually indicates a configuration error.
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
The ROOT Hints are your problem.  That's what's causing those event errors as well.

First, delete all of the root hints and then click "COPY FROM SERVER"  in the box that pops up, enter one of the DNS SERVER IP addresses from your ISP -- this should generate back a list of 12 root hint servers.

Then, close that out and RERUN the Internet Connection Wizard (under Internet & Email in the Server Management Console). Overview:  http://sbsurl.com/ceicw

When that completes you will hopefully be in much better shape.  It is possible that there may be some lingering DNS issues.  But those will be easy to take care of if any errors are logged.

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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ipendleburyAuthor Commented:
Hello Jeff,

I manage SBS servers for 6 companies. I've TS'd into all of them now and found three of them didn't have any Root Hints set up. They were all logging similar errors to those that i've sent you. So i've set them up properly now and re-ran the ICW.

One of the guys who is having problems, can't use Outlook over the Internet at all from his house. I'm going around there tonight to take alook at it. Then i'll be in his office in the morning to see if things have improved in there.

Hopefully things will have improved now.

Ian
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
Yes, hopefully so... the only way those could have gotten set the way you indicated was if they were messed with manually.  So, hopefully now you know a bit more about DNS than you did yesterday!  :-)

FYI, I work with SBS networks exclusively, and currently manage 15 of them.  It's nice to be able to compare what you are doing to another one that you manage or in cases like this, you were able to solve problems on three separate systems in a much more efficient manner.  

You might be interested in the way that I remote into these networks with a customized Remote Desktop Management Console -- screen shot:  http://techsoeasy.com/m.jpg

Basically I've created one console on my machine that has all the servers on it.  Then on each server I've created one that has all the workstations for that network on it.  It becomes nested that way and is like changing TV channels to switch between networks.

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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ipendleburyAuthor Commented:
Hi Jeff,

I've just been around to my customer's house to observe the problems he's having when he connects remotely. Most of the problems have cleared up now. But there's one big problem which remains...

He uses Terminal Services to work on his Spreadsheets. He's ok as long as he keeps working, but if he stops for a couple of minutes and doesn't touch his laptop, the session freezes. After a minute or so, the area inside his TS window goes black and eventually he gets a flashing square in the upper right of his screen. This square has a red border and computer and network depicted inside. After a couple of minutes, his session comes back to life and all is well until he pauses again.

I'm familiar with the normal dialog which appears when a TS connection is broken, this is totally different and would appear to be generated by the server. I haven't seen this square before.

I've disabled his screen saver and all power saving features on his laptop, and i've also disabled the screen saver on his TS sesion. I'm unable to reproduce this behaviour when I log in from my own machine at home.

This is now a different question from the one I originally posted. I'm happy to post it is a new question if you like.

Ian
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
Actually I believe it's still on topic... :-)

The square is a broken connection but there is now a self repairing routine which tries to reestablish it.  

There are a couple of things which jump out at me here though...

What machine is he logging into for Terminal Server?  Because you can't run TS in Application mode on an SBS.  Which also makes me ask -- Do you have Office installed on the SBS???  And if so, do you have Outlook installed on the SBS?  Installing Outlook on your SBS will BREAK EXCHANGE.  So this could very well cause some of the problems you are experiencing.  You also should NOT have Office installed on the sesrver.  Nobody should ever use the server as a workstation... either locally or remotely.  This is how you keep your server running smoothly and carefree!

But not to worry because SBS provides an AWESOME alternative to TS... Remote Web Workplace.  This can be accessed via https://server.domain.com/remote (or the IP Address if you don't have a registered domain name).  From there, a remote user can log into their OWN desktop machine at the office.  It is a terminal session, but not on their own desktop instead of a server.  There are a number of other features available through RWW and more info is here:  http://sbsurl.com/rww.

Okay... now for the connectivity problem... I'm going to guess that your customer's home router is using the same IP LATA as his office.  This is why it is recommended to use 192.168.16.x for the SBS Network, by the way.  If that is the case, then there will be IP conflicts which will drop connectivity for him.  I would also guess that YOUR IP LATA at your house is different than 192.168.0.x or 192.168.1.x which is why you can't replicate the problem.

Probably the easiest thing to do now is to reconfigure his home router.

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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ipendleburyAuthor Commented:
Hi Jeff,

I'll apologise in advance if any of the following makes you cringe!

One thing that confuses me is the statement that you can't run TS in application mode on an SBS box. Whilst this is true, I can still create a GPO to lock down the user sessions and prevent them doing anthing they shouldn't. I put the SBS Server into a different OU and apply the GPO to that server in there. It all works fine. So I don't see what application mode would give me that I don't have already.

I've heard these concerns about SBS + TS + Office before. I've never had the slightest problem. Yes Office is installed on the server, and yes they use Outlook in their TS sessions. They've never had the slightest problem. Myself I've been using Office inside TS sessions since 2000 Server came out.

This customer has an Office in China. During our night time, they have two users logging into the server from there via TS. They mainly use Excel, but they also use Outlook. Apart from the delay caused by the large distance, everything works fine.

I write Access Database applications for my customers. Whilst I often write these off-site, I usually write them by TS'ing into the SBS box. I've never had the slightest problem. Although I must concede that i've installed a second Terminal Server at two of my customer's because they needed more than two simultaneous TS sessions.

The only workstations in the main office are the three laptops I mentioned at the start of this thread. These are taken home each night, so Remote Web Workplace isn't an option. The server is the only machine left behind in the office each evening.

It think you've hit on something by asking about the home network at the house i've been to tonight. His internet connection is via his cable TV system. He has a wireless DSL router which connects to the modem provided by the TV company. The wireless router has an IP address of 192.168.1.1 and usually gives his laptop the address of 192.168.1.2 So it's not on the same segment as when he's in the office. But it's probably worth configuring his home network onto a completely different segment. My own router is on the 192.168.16 segment. This is the same as most of my customers internal networks, but I don't have any connectivity problems.

We'll see what tomorrow brings. Feel free to throw stones at my approach to using Office with TS sessions. I can take it!

Ian

Ian






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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
Ian,

You're going to have to go with me on this one... you've posed a question that is specifically about problems with email (Outlook & Exchange issues)... and I will tell you without a doubt that having Outlook on your SBS2003 machine is the cause.

The fact that you had Outlook on an  SBS2000 is an absolutely different situation.  Things change, and this is one of them that did.  Older versions of Exchange did not have "Cached Exchange Mode".  This is a technology that pushes out a fair amount of the processing to the workstations so that the Exchange server can handle about 5 times as many users as previous versions.  In order to accomplish this, Outlook uses a different MAPI than Exchange.  If they both try to operate on the same machine the will conflict with eachother and eventually one will lose... and the one that loses is always the more complex technology --- Exchange.  I am a bit surprised that things have been running for six weeks and the only thing that's happened is a few stuck outgoing messages... but it'll get worse.

There are some work-arounds to this issue, but really... why risk blowing up your entire server when there are other very good options available.  Such as Outlook Web Access and RPC over HTTP (Outlook over the Internet).

Here's the documentation: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/266418

As for other Office apps, you won't really have a problem other than the fact that a server is not a workstation, and using it as such significantly increases your chances of having it fail at some point.  You can keep getting lucky, but the odds are not on your side.  It's really just a bad practice overall.  If you value the functionality, data, security, convenience, and any other benefit that having a server provides, then you really shouldn't want to risk that.

Is there a reason that the two users in China don't use Outlook over the Internet as well or Outlook Web Access?  They could also use Excel locally (with VPN connection) or edit the Excel Spreadsheet through Sharepoint as a web service.

If you're completely bent on having them use a remote session, I would suggest that you install Virtual Server on your SBS and then install a Windows 2003 Terminal Server on that. You'd need a beefier box for this, but it would keep things safe.

The fact that you put the SBS in a different OU from is also a problem because you've probably broken all of the default GPO's.  You don't mention whether you've applied Service Pack 1 yet, but either you did so before moving the server out of it's default OU or you haven't done it yet... because it won't work if ALL items are not in the default OU's.

Finally you've missed a the problem with the home router...

The laptop will get 192.168.1.2 from it's local DHCP, the router (192.168.1.1).  Then, it will get something like 192.168.0.15 from the VPN and will connect to the SBS through it's ROUTING and REMOTE ACCESS service.  Which just happens to have another 192.168.1.1 and 192.168.1.2 configured for the EXTERNAL NIC of your server.  

Now do you see a conflict in the making?  It's the ROUTERS that are in conflict with eachother.

Jeff
TechSoEasy

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ipendleburyAuthor Commented:
Hello Jeff,

Thanks for the comprehensive reply.

Whilst this server is only six weeks old, I have other customers who have been using Outlook within TS sessions ever since 2003 came out. I always set up their accounts not to use Cached Exchange Mode. Does this make the risks lesser or greater?

It comes as a suprise to learn about the severity of the dangers. I am taking your recomendations onboard. I will work towards getting everyone to use other means to check their email.

This server came preinstalled with SBS SP1. I curious to hear more about what I might have done by moving the Server into another OU.

As regards the office in China... Yes they do use RPC over Http and OWA, but while they're in a TS session it's convenient to use Outlook in there also. I'll ask them to minimise their TS session and just use their local Outlook for email.

I tried setting them up with a VPN to access their speadsheets, but the download times were just too slow. The spreadsheets are quite large, but not much of the size is taken up by the data. Most of the size is because of the complexity of the formulas and layout. TS is OK, but there's a 3 second round trip before their actions are seen to take effect. I'm currently working on a project that might offer them a better solution. Their speadsheets are all basicaly the same layout, but with different data. I'm setting up a template spreadsheet which will reside on their local pc. This has a module which will download data from the SQL server and populate the spreadsheet cells with the data. If it works this will be a perfect solution, they'll have a local spreadsheet to work with, and the data resides here in the UK so that the british users can use it.

It had never occured to me that the problem at my customer's house would be caused by his home network being on the same segment as the external side of the server. Curious though how the problem only occurs when he allows his laptop to be idle for a couple of minutes. I'll go there again tonight and move his router onto a different segment.

Thanks for your help. it's very much appreciated.

Ian
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
That all sounds good!

Overview of why not to mess with mybusiness:
http://msmvps.com/blogs/bradley/archive/2005/03/15/38669.aspx

A suggestion for the China folks...
There is a Spreadshet Web Part for Sharepoint which will basically give them the ability to manipulate the data as if they had a full Excel spreadsheet.  It works quite well and is way easy to create because you can just import a current spreadsheet and it assigns all the data links.
http://www.microsoft.com/frontpage/downloads/addin/searchdetail.asp?a=367

My guess is that the problem with the router occurs when he is idle would be that it's not his transactions that cause the problems.  It's the system services which are running in the background.  When he uses the machine their priority is lowered.

Jeff
TechSoEasy

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ipendleburyAuthor Commented:
Jeff,

The Sharepoint suggestion is an excellent one which I will try out this weekend.
The spreadsheets have to be rationalised into a Template which draws information from a database anyway. So there's nothing lost in what I am doing now.

It might sound strange, but I have never used Sharepoint. I will have to find out how to use it first.

I'll get back to you later and let you know if changing the subnet at this guy's house improves his connectivity.

Ian
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ipendleburyAuthor Commented:
Hi Jeff,

My customer is still having problems at home. His home router is now on a different subnet, and he still gets disconnected periodically. He is going to take a cable home with him tonight and see if the problem persists if he doesn't use wireless.

However, his problems in the office have cleared up completely. So I'll close this thread now and award the points.

Thank you very much for your help.

Ian
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
No problem.  Glad to have helped.

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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