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POP3 timing out on Exchange 2003 - Intermittent and strange

I have a client who is having a problem with users using POP3 on their Exchange 2003 server.

The server is a backend server, the users are connecting over PPTP VPN, the server has all OS and Exchange SPs and patches onboard.

From time to time, a message will block them from downloading their mail, and they will not be able to send/receive until the message is removed from their mailbox.

The client believes that it is messages from outside their organisation (ie they came in via SMTP) with attachments, I have not been able to confirm this fact for myself as yet.

The clients are all using Outlook 2000, but I have connected and tried to use Outlook 2003 and the result is the same.

Outlook 2003 is more communicative about what happens. Down the bottom right, where it gives you a report of the send and receive progress it will tell me how many messages there are to be downloaded, which one I am on and the size.

If I leave just the bad message in the inbox, I get "Receiving message 1 of 1 (746KB of 747KB)" The size goes from 1kb->746 very quickly (it is a fast link) and then sits at 1kb under the total size, after about 2 minutes it times out with at  0x8004210a error - something along the lines of

"the operation timed out waiting for a response from the receiving (POP) server" (unfortunately I don't have the exact error to hand)

Once we remove the suspect message, they are able to send and receive as normal until the next problem.

Any suggestions on this one?
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arrowtech
Asked:
arrowtech
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2 Solutions
 
OAC TechnologyProfessional NerdsCommented:
If you have antivirus software, try disabling the message filtering and see if that affects it. Norton Antivirus is notorius for this problem, although several others will cause it too.

I had a similar problem that was related to an intermittent DSL connection on the clients end too. Maybe you could try a ping www.yahoo.com -t" on the client's end and see if any packets drop over a period of time.

just a couple ideas for ya from what i've experienced.
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arrowtechAuthor Commented:
I am running Symantec Corporate here, I am pretty sure it is not the cause of the problem. The link doesn't seem to be the problem either, it happens to the end user and to me the same way, I am on a solid SHDSL corporate connection here.

I might screw around with the AV anyway, but almost sure it isn't the hassle.

Thanks

A
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CKWTCommented:
as DataDude says AV programs are very common for causing this type of problems.

How do you remove the BAd email from the server, WebBased access to the inbox, or directly from the users inbox Folder?....

See, if the Attached files is infected with a virus you have to find out whom is it coming from, and if you are deleting thru a webbased access to the email, then download the file, DO NOT OPEN IT; only save it so that the AV would do it's job, And Scan the file..

If you're deleting ir directly from the server, send the file most likely a .msg to the client computer and try to open it or if u have another way of opening the suspect(file) and see if it's a virus...
This will tell you if the AV is the problem.
I probably shouldn't ask, but are you sure there is no Size restriction on emails... most likely not with common excel reports of a couple Megs...
how about antispam measures.. is there any file type restriction on both SERVER>Client, for instance, that blocks files like .exe.zip, xls.zip, or .scr... u know that type of stuff. if you have a realtime protection for SPAM on the client computer could cause trouble too...
If your AV default rules are to delete Infected files at first sight then... you know... we said already...

CKWT

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chiingliangCommented:
most likely its norton's problem. swtch it to another antivirus like avg
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arrowtechAuthor Commented:
" most likely its norton's problem. swtch it to another antivirus like avg"

You have got to be kidding me.

Do you have ANY experience with Symantec in an enterprise? We are not talking about Norton AntiVirus here.

There is nothing to indicate that this is a Virus problem, we are not just talking about an individual user or message here, this is a recurring problem.
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CKWTCommented:
you refer to them as your client? clients?, as if 2 out of 30 account have this email you'll have the problem and the rest 28 is OK?
or is this 1 inbox having this email is enough so that NO ONE ELSE of 29 clients cannnot download there email?

If you're working on a desktop and having the error on a desktop computer it must be troubleshhooted as a desktop computer...unless is option2 then we'll give Server advise for troubleshooting... we trust so far you have server setup properly...

If we knew a little more about your Client>Server situation when you're having the problem... you might think you said clear enough, but reading past posts dont seem so..

Did you look for checking upstairs comments from me?

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arrowtechAuthor Commented:
I suspect that the problem with miscommunication comes from me posting in the wrong area.

I didn't drill down to the EXCHANGE area - I realised this the moment I posted and posted a request in the cleanup area to have it moved.

As for whether it is one or many people - from my question:

--------------------------------

 I have a client who is having a problem with USERS using POP3 on their Exchange 2003 server.

The server is a backend server, the USERS are connecting over PPTP VPN, the server has all OS and Exchange SPs and patches onboard.

From time to time, a message will block them from downloading their mail, and they will not be able to send/receive until the message is removed from their mailbox.

The client believes that it is messages from outside their organisation (ie they came in via SMTP) with attachments, I have not been able to confirm this fact for myself as yet.

The CLIENTS are all using Outlook 2000, but I have connected and tried to use Outlook 2003 and the result is the same.

--------------------------------

My bad for not being more communicative - there are about 30 users using POP3, this has been happening intermittenly across the userbase.

SB
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nickhillsCommented:
just jumping in here...why are 30 users using pop. if they are comming in over a vpn why not use rpc like an internal user? ok, there is a slight overhead, but i think the trade off is worth it.

back to the problem... are your 30 pop users the only users, or do people connect internally via rpc? if so, do they experience any problems when the do a full send & receive? have seen similar problems before, and traced them back to the offline address book.

if a full send and recieve throws up an error in the S/R box, that could be your problem, you need to watch carefully though because the error appears only very briefly.

Also, you can try to monitor that status of the send & receive process. - In the system tray, hold down CTRL and right click the outlook icon next to the clock and bring up connection status - that might help to throw some more light on the problem.

regards,
Nick
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arrowtechAuthor Commented:
It is an approximately 200 user site, with 30 remote users. The remote users are going to be migrated to Outlook 2003 and cached mode, but it is a new install and that is going to take time to do. They were running POP3 to an internal server previously, so it was easiest to plonk the Exchange server on the same IP, not have to reconfig the 30 clients during the rollout and then do it over a couple of months.

Internal users are not having any problems using the normal Outlook connection to the server, it is only the POP3 users. I didn't know that connection status trick, I will check it out the next time there is a problem, however the users are running Outlook 2k, so I will have to replicate it myself to get the same info.

A
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nexissteveCommented:
Hi,

There is a knowledge base article at microsoft that does point to the antivirus solution causing the issue.

http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=813518

Have you checked to see if there is an update available for the symantec product?

What version and build of symantec are you running. A quick check at symantec shows that some of their builds have the same problem as outlined above and patches are available.

Hope this helps.

Cheers

Steve
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arrowtechAuthor Commented:
The Symantec solution is not running on all of the clients who are having the problem, only my computer. The other clients have a AV Solution from a differerent company - can't remember off the top of my head.

The Symantec solution also does not have the POP3 scanner installed.
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nexissteveCommented:
What AV solution are you running on the Exchange server?

You could test this relatively easily by updating the client that is having the trouble and updating the exchange server.

Cheers

S

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CKWTCommented:
Why are you so sure that is not the corporate, Does it not have realtime protection?
wich nowadays all AV has that feature.

It doesn't need to have a pop3 scanner but an extensive realtime protection enabled... If it's a thorough scanner ANY file that is exchanged by the PC will be scanned... have you looked at this?

pretty sure is not good enough. thinking something is not the problem often leads to loosing more time.

Now, If you have tried from a Computer that does not even have a AV installed?, then it could be that the Server is not letting you erase the file from the server.
I guess that your Outlook is not leaving a copy of the emails on the server...right?, wrong?... Try to setup the outlooks NOT to delete the file and leave a copy of files on server.
But like I said before you hav eto figure out what that email contains and tell us how are u getting rid of it?

CKWT
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arrowtechAuthor Commented:
Just in case anyone out there is having the same problem, it was a Trendmicro problem in their spam filtering -

http://esupport.trendmicro.com/support/viewxml.do?ContentID=EN-127071&id=EN-127071

I will be posting in the community area to request a refund.

A

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CKWTCommented:
maybe the post is too long and you havent taken the time to read it...
to save you some time on reading I'll just say we told you so!!... When did you ever mention 3rd Party spam filter programs in use, wich u supposed to have "disable" and check... ich we ANYWAY happen to ask about, to give a heads up again...
I quoted:
>>>how about antispam measures.. is there any file type restriction on both SERVER>Client, for instance, that blocks files like .exe.zip, xls.zip, or .scr... u know that type of stuff. if you have a realtime protection for SPAM on the client computer could cause trouble too...<<<<<

But let's see what the Moderator has to say about it..


Alwayz a pleasure to help who wants to get helped...

CKWT
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OAC TechnologyProfessional NerdsCommented:
I object, we solved his problem, at least give CKWT the points.

sigh
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nickhillsCommented:
The first line of the first comment answers your question

"If you have antivirus software, try disabling the message filtering and see if that affects it. Norton Antivirus is notorius for this problem, although several others will cause it too"

I also object, come on arrowtech - play the game!

The points belong to DataDude & CKWT

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CKWTCommented:
I say review the thread and split equally or to nearest comment.. all helped but some hit the nail on the head.

this confusion is result of not helping to help yourself.

CKWT
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