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Exchange Server 2003 SP1 services fail to stop

I just installed an Exchange 2003 SP1 Ent. server on a clean installation of Windows Server 2003 R2 SP2 Fully Patched.  The Exchange installation completed without errors, and all services start up without any issues; no errors in the event log. All the necessary switches for OS has been applied, and the domain and forest was prepped and verified.  Added a test user and mail flow is working fine.

So everything seemed fine, until it was time to apply the Exchange Server 2003 SP2 update. During the SP2 installation process I discovered that for some reason same of the exchange services could not be stopped.  Mainly the Microsoft Exchange System Attendant and  Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) will fail to stop.  

When stopping MS Exchange System Attendant service; the depends services such as the Ms Exchange Information Store and MS Exchange MTA Stacks seems to stop fine.  Just the MS Exchange System Attendant services fails to stop.  

The SMTP service simply fails to stop.

I have tried manually stopping each service from the MMC service console and command line, with no luck.

When I attempt to manually stop the MS Exchange System Attendant service from the service MMC, it times out and it gives me the following error:

Could not stop the Microsoft Exchange System Attendant Service on the Local Computer.
Error 1053:  The service did not respond to the start or control request in a timely fashion.

I have never seen anything like this before.  Most of the time when it comes to Exchange servers, you experience problems with services failing to start up, but not stopping.  

Additional information:
I have an existing Exchange 2000 SP3 server in the same domain.
I have 3 domains running active directory 2003 (R2 polices not enabled)
The new server has 2 Quad Core Xeon Processors and enough storage space to give Google a run for its money.

Any suggestions?????
Windows Server 2003ExchangeEmail Servers

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8/22/2022 - Mon

any errors in the application logs?

Are you sure that you installed Exchange 2003 SP1?
You cannot slip stream Exchange service packs and to the best of my knowledge there is no SP1 integrated install around.


When I have had this happen to me the simple way round it is to disable the services and then reboot the server. Change the services back to automatic but do not start them. Install the service pack as normal.


Gents THX for quick response.
I dont have any I'll application logs related to this problem.  The one and only log entry is a warning error that relates to the memory optimization (/3GB switch..ect).  Which I cant remove but its not a big deal right now.  

Your right it was Exchange Server 2003 without SP1, my mistake.  However, I ended up doing exactly what you mentioned to apply the SP2 (Skipping SP1).  With the hopes that applying SP2 would somehow repair the problem or replace anything corrupted files that could be causing the problem. No luck.  Nevertheless that work fine, but I would hate to have to do that every time I need to apply other SPs or any other patches that requires a stoppage of the Exchange services.   So the server is running on Exchange Server 2003 SP2 (fully patch).  I even went as far as reinstalling Exchange, but the services still fail to stop after starting up without any type of errors.
They must be a better way.  Can it be fixed?  If so how?  Also why is it happening?   Right now Im thinking its a permission issues, but Im the account that Im has more than enough rights to stop the services.  

Any other ideas Gents and ladies& :)
Experts Exchange has (a) saved my job multiple times, (b) saved me hours, days, and even weeks of work, and often (c) makes me look like a superhero! This place is MAGIC!
Walt Forbes

If this is a new build then I would be looking to remove Exchange and rebuild the box.
If an Exchange server doesn't behave itself then there is something wrong - it should work correctly out of the box.
The technique I outlined above I only tend to use on existing installations where a rebuild is not possible.


I currently have Exchange 2000 installed in the same environment.   If I uninstall exchange 2003 and rebuild the box, will it cause any problems?  

the only thing that I could think of that might have caused the issue, is Windows Server 2003 SP2.. After installing the exchange server I realized that the windows firewall was enabled.  I nomally disable it before beging the installation.  Do you think this could have been the cause?  Or could be it be the Windows server 2003 R2 OS?

I'm trying to somehow find out what could have caused this problem so it doesnt happen again.. When I reinstall the server.  Which I really dont want to do, because this server is due to go live next Saturday the 9th.


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THX for everything.  I coming to rebuild the server and hopefully everything goes right the second time around.  I'm running out of time with this server. All keep you posted.  THX again.   Enjoy your weekend.
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