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421-Service is not available error

Posted on 2006-12-01
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Last Modified: 2008-01-09
Exchange server 2003 Enterprise Edition SP2 on Windows Server 2003 SP1, all updates installed.
SMTP service stops working with above error when trying to connect to port 25 every day and sometimes twice/day since 21/11/2006. There were 2 Windows sequrity updates on 15/11/2006. We tried to uninstall them but without a result. When SMTP service is restarted the problem continues. The solution for now is to restart entire IIS - until next stop of functionality. All categories in MSExchangeTransport are set to medium logging level but there is no any error/warning event around the time the service stops working.
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Question by:pdraganov
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16 Comments
 
LVL 104

Expert Comment

by:Sembee
ID: 18054840
What else is on the machine? Problems like this are usually caused by a third party application, not Exchange. I am not aware of any problems with the security updates released last month, and if there was an issue I would have expected them to occur immediately, not almost a week later.

Simon.
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Expert Comment

by:Vahik
ID: 18055767
421-Service is not available error ??? is this what the users get when trying to access ur exchange servers ???
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Author Comment

by:pdraganov
ID: 18066850
Exchange server is also a domain controller (I am planning to demote it) and there is also Symantec AntiVirus Server Corporate Edition 8.1

Yes, the exact message is:
421-Microsoft ESMTP MAIL Service, Version: 6.0.3790.1830 ready at  Service not available, closing transmission channel
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Expert Comment

by:Vahik
ID: 18069277
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LVL 104

Expert Comment

by:Sembee
ID: 18070254
A quick note on your comment about Exchange being on a domain controller.
Don't demote it while Exchange is on the machine. Changing the role of the server while Exchange is installed is not supported and will probably break Exchange.

Simon.
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Author Comment

by:pdraganov
ID: 18075055
Vahik, I already checked this - I received the hotfix but it says that my running version is more recent and cannot update it. My smtpsvc.dll is 6.0.3790.1830 - 24/03/2005 and from hotfix is 6.0.3790.196 - 21/07/2004

Sembee, I took a risk and demoted the Exchange this morning. Then made the AD integrated zone as secondary on the Exchange. For now everything works. I will see when will be the next stop of SMTP working. The last one was yesterday afternoon after 27 hours of proper work.
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LVL 26

Expert Comment

by:Vahik
ID: 18083730
this is the second time i have seen a DEMOTION has fixed an exchange problem....which points to active directory problem......either FSMO roles got mixed up(dcpromo in multi DC environment alocates FSMO roles to the remaining
DCs) or it could have been DC machine password  corruption which could have been fixed by NETDOME utility or maybe a demotion..... or it could have been a DNS issue....

well all it matters now is the problem is fixed.....which  is very important ....

since Pdranov fixed his or her own problem i will have no objection for a refund of his\her points....of cource if sembee had no objection.....


you filks take care and good luck...
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Author Comment

by:pdraganov
ID: 18084997
Unfortunately demotion doesn't fix the problem - may be it fixes some other problems (like quicker restart of Exchange server and lower load of the server) but this morning the SMTP problem appeared again. So I am waiting for other suggestions (may be this is another bug/security hole in MS products which somebody exploits against our Exchange)
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LVL 104

Expert Comment

by:Sembee
ID: 18087016
Most "problems" with Exchange are not caused by Exchange or Microsoft at all. They are caused by third parties. The prime causes being antivirus and increasingly, antispam applications. I have seen many machines that have problems, remove the AV (which is the first thing I do/recommend) and suddenly the machine is behaving itself.

Simon.
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Author Comment

by:pdraganov
ID: 18092608
Although Symantec AntiVirus Server is running on this server for 5 years without such problems I will try to disable File system real-time protection. If this doesn't work I will uninstall it and will inform you about the results.
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Author Comment

by:pdraganov
ID: 18093274
I tried to automate the restart procedure with following files but when things reach the end when SMTP service has to start it remains in Starting state and never starts. If I do things manually (first stop all virtual SMTP servers, then stop SMTP service, then from IIS manager Restart IIS and finally start all virtual SMTP servers) SMTP service starts. Here are the files:

script.bat - scheduled to start every 1 minute:
----------------------------------------------------
@echo off

type test0.txt |nc 192.168.0.21 25 > test.txt

for /f "Tokens=1" %%a in ('type test.txt') do (
echo %%a
if not "%%a" EQU "220" (
      date/t>>smtprestart.log
      time/t>>smtprestart.log
      echo %%a>>smtprestart.log
      call srvstop.bat SMTPSVC
      call srvstop.bat MSFTPSVC
      call srvstop.bat W3SVC
      call srvstop.bat HTTPfilter
      call srvstop.bat IMAP4SVC
      call srvstop.bat POP3SVC
      call srvstop.bat RESVC
      call srvstop.bat NNTPSVC
      call srvstop.bat IISADMIN
      call srvstart.bat IISADMIN
rem      call srvstart.bat NNTPSVC
      call srvstart.bat RESVC
      call srvstart.bat POP3SVC
      call srvstart.bat IMAP4SVC
      call srvstart.bat HTTPfilter
      call srvstart.bat W3SVC
      call srvstart.bat MSFTPSVC
      call srvstart.bat SMTPSVC
) else ( echo OK )
goto :eof
)
echo 1 line - OK

test0.txt
---------
QUIT

srvstart.bat
-------------
      echo Service %1 starting>>smtprestart.log
      sc start %1>>smtprestart.log
      CHOICE /N /C Y /T 5 /D Y >NUL
:2
      sc query %1>1.txt
      find /C "RUNNING" 1.txt>nul
      if errorlevel 1 goto 2
      time/t>>smtprestart.log
      CHOICE /N /C Y /T 50 /D Y >NUL

srvstop.bat
-------------
      echo Service %1 stopping>>smtprestart.log
      sc stop %1>>smtprestart.log
      CHOICE /N /C Y /T 5 /D Y >NUL
:1
      sc query %1>1.txt
      find /C "STOPPED" 1.txt>nul
      if errorlevel 1 goto 1
      time/t>>smtprestart.log
      CHOICE /N /C Y /T 50 /D Y >NUL

When I do things manually IIS manager remains unresponsive (I have to kill it) but does what is needed. Nobody feels that there was a problem. Do you know how exactly IIS manager restarts IIS, how to do the same with vbscripts/bat files and also how to stop/start SMTP virtual servers from vbscript/bat file?
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LVL 2

Author Comment

by:pdraganov
ID: 18100834
There was another fail of SMTP service today after disabling Symantec AntiVirus Server service. Now I will completely uninstall it.
I tried another approach to restart SMTP which was successful: stopped all virtual SMTP servers manually, executed the above scripts for restarting IIS and started all virtual SMTP servers manually. So I need only a way to stop/start virtual SMTP servers from vbscript/bat file.
0
 
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Author Comment

by:pdraganov
ID: 18120892
Uninstalling Symantec AntiVirus Server didn't help. Today first virtual SMTP server did't start. In event log there was:
Event Type:      Error
Event Source:      smtpsvc
Event Category:      None
Event ID:      418
Date:            12/12/2006
Time:            09:09:23
User:            N/A
Computer:      BGVA-S03-EXCH01
Description:
Virtual Server 1: SMTP server cannot read metabase key MailPickupDir.

For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp.
Event Type:      Error
Event Source:      smtpsvc
Event Category:      None
Event ID:      418
Date:            12/12/2006
Time:            09:09:23
User:            N/A
Computer:      BGVA-S03-EXCH01
Description:
Virtual Server 1: SMTP server cannot read metabase key MailQueueDir.

For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp.
With IIS metabase editor I found out that there is nearly nothing for the first virtual server - only 5-6 keys. I rewrote nearly all keys from the second virtual server and it started. May be some of these keys were deleted and this was the reason for SMTP failure. We will see later.
So I have few questions:
1. Why I could see virtual SMTP server configuration when it was not in IIS metabase (is this info also in AD?) ?
2. If yes, why it stops to be copied to IIS metabase, and worse, deleted from there?
3. How to make keys in IIS metabase which do not have names (ID 49875, 61536 and 61537)?
4. When I try to edit AdminACL (ID 6027) key and try to add a new user or group I receive:
Application Error
An error occured:
Object reference not set to an instance of an object.
Do you want to continue?
Yes   No
If I click No IIS metabase explorer closes, if I click Yes it stops responding and I have to kill it from Task manager
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LVL 104

Accepted Solution

by:
Sembee earned 500 total points
ID: 18121008
My instinct here is that IIS is corrupt.
I would be looking to plan to reinstall IIS. Unfortunately the only supported way to reinstall IIS on an Exchange server is to remove Exchange first, then remove IIS, reboot the machine and reinstall both. You cannot pull IIS from under Exchange as Exchange makes changes to IIS when it is installed.

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?kbid=320202

There is a possibility it is just the metabase. This article explains how to deal with metabase issues.
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?kbid=843093

Failing that, you are probably looking at a call to Microsoft, as there could be some serious issues with the server. Microsoft can remote control your server to see what is going on - which is something that we cannot do.

Simon.
0
 
LVL 2

Author Comment

by:pdraganov
ID: 18130222
As I can see reinstalling IIS will take too much time. For now I created a new SMTP virtual server with same settings as the first one and stopped the first so that I have now correct keys in the metabase for the new server. Will see if this will help.
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LVL 2

Author Comment

by:pdraganov
ID: 18156917
SMTP didn't stop working for 6 days. I think the problem was solved.
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