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Old email appears in smtp queues after Exchange reboot

Posted on 2007-04-09
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Last Modified: 2008-06-05
We rebooted our Exchange server (Exchange 2003 SP2) after installing MS security updates. When the server came back up there were over 50 email messages in SMTP queue.  Each had varying dates, and some dated back to the last time the server was rebooted (almost 2 months ago). All of the message recipients I looked at in the SMTP queues were from other domains (yahoo, gmail, etc.)

The Exchange server uses an SMTP connector, which happens to be our Barracuda anti-spam appliance. I have been administering the Exchange server for several months and haven't seen any messages lingering in the queues for more than 20 minutes, nor have I ever rebooted the server and then had mail flow, especially from two months ago.

I also have checked the Badmail folder and the Exchange Anti-Virus quarantine, I didn't see any of the messages that got sent out after the reboot.

There must be a folder I'm missing on the Exchange server that held these messages. When the Exchange server was rebooted on Friday, a brick level backup was running. I thought that perhaps the back up job being cut off like that may have explained why the messages suddenly appeared and went out. However, a user reported today that a message they sent last month  arrived to it's intended recpipients last Friday night.

Experts, help!
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Question by:lucado01
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Expert Comment

by:Erik Pitti
ID: 18879864
Perhaps the messages ended up in the queue or pickup folder after the reboot.

See here for Exchange SMTP special folders:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/306043
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Sembee earned 400 total points
ID: 18881496
Not unusual for this to happen.
The most common reason is that antivirus software has hung on to the messages and it is only when the services are restarted by a reboot that they are released.

Simon.
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by:lucado01
ID: 18883827
I am fairly certain the messages weren't in those folders.

Regarding the anti-virus, is this something I should be able to spot in the program's quarantine field and release it? Would it be held anywhere else? Would the vendor (Symantec) admit to this?
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by:Erik Pitti
Erik Pitti earned 100 total points
ID: 18885875
Sembee: Thats kinda the direction I was heading.  

Lucado01: I've seen Trend's AV do this as well, esp after a clustered Exchange server failover.  But I'm sure it could also happen after a reboot.  Probably no big deal.  You may want to contact your AV vendor and ask if there's an update available that will curb the behavior.
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Expert Comment

by:Sembee
ID: 18886330
Depends where the software is holding the message and which one is holding it. It is not unusual for a message to just disappear only to reappear when the server is rebooted.

Simon.
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