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connection to ms exchange server is unavailable

hello everybody,
first question here on ee - good to be here!  i took over a freshly installed windows 2003 server with exchange 2003. i had things (exchange server cached mode local network outlook 2003)  working in testing but suddenly clients on the lan get this error when trying to connect to the local exchange server via hostname: "the connection to the microsoft exchange server is unavailable. outlook must be online or connected to complete this action".

i had this working the other day in testing but it seems to have suddenly stopped working. i also noticed that the pop3 service got set to disabled the other day and i had to change it from disabled and start it again so they could check it via pop. i tried to flip them to exchange today with no luck so i don't know if the fact that pop3 got disabled has anything to do with the exchange mode no longer working.

this is all local network so no firewalls. is there a telnet test for this?

i've been doing exchange adminning on windows server 2000/exchagne 2000 for around a year with a decent knowledge of windows server 2003. but i am a backyard mechanic type guy.

thanks!
h
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chatsubo
Asked:
chatsubo
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1 Solution
 
stafiCommented:

"i had this working the other day in testing but it seems to have suddenly stopped working"

do you see anything in the event log ?
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Dave_ANDCommented:
the pop3 connector that was disabled is defaulted to disabled in 2003 SBS, you have to manually enable it, so this isnt your cause.

Have you checked your Databases are Mounted?

Open Exchange System Manager.

Expand Servers, and then expand the server that contains the mailbox store you want to check.

Expand the storage group that contains the mailbox store you want to check.

Right-click the mailbox store, and then click mount.

Close Exchange System Manager.

If this isnt the case, please post a reply
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barrymulhollandCommented:
Go to Start > Run > Services.msc and check against all the services that start with Microsoft Exchange..... and make sure that all the services that are set to automatic also say started beside them.

At least the Exchange Management service and the Information Store should be started.

Once you've checked this open the Exchange System Manager and ensure that both the stores are mounted.

Barry
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chatsuboAuthor Commented:
the event log on the server doesn't show any errors. exchange management service and information store services are both started.

users can still send/receive mail via pop3 and some mailboxes which i populated with exmerge seen to contain the messages in system manager. outlook web access works fine.

i didn't see options to mount stores in system manager, but i can see the individual users mailboxes in the mailbox store.

now when i try to connect my outlook exchange (from home over vpn) it says: "unable to open your default e-mail folders".

if i go to the account properties in outlook for my exchange connection, i can connect to the server and it will resolve my name based on my username (using the 'check name' button).

also this machine is a small business server with sharepoint running on it.

thanks for the replies
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chatsuboAuthor Commented:
it seems that when i connect to the server via vpn i can check the name correctly, but then when i try to fire up the full outlook client, it says can't open default folders.

when on the local network a client comptuer can't even check name correctly.

i forgot to mention that i changed the subnet of the computer to something not commonly used so i could avoid ip conflicts for vpn users. maybe this has something to do with the problem? i have changed to the new ip everywhere i could find it, but maybe i missed a setting that is buried deep?

i confirmed the stores are mounted correctly. mail comes in fine to the system, and users can check their mail with outlook in pop3 mode no problem.

all exchange services are started except for site replication and microsoft exchange event (seems to exist for legacy ex 5.5 reasons).

i have had the same result with two different computers over vpn so i don't think it is a bad office install or broken tcp. i'm also using an entry in the hosts file to resolve the server's ip which seems perfectly pingable and is the correct address. i don't think this is the problem.

i've upped the value on this to 350 points.

cheers

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JjcampNRCommented:
If you open Outlook, and hold down the control key, and then right click on the Outlook system tray icon you should get a menu option that says "Connection Status" or something similar - select that.  What do you see listed in there for servers, status, etc.  List out each full line for me.  Also, when that message comes up in Outlook is there any error code there as well?  The error codes typically start with 0x
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chatsuboAuthor Commented:
when i hold down the ctrl key, i get asked if i want to start in safe mode and then what profile i want to use. i go into the new profile and it says "the connection to the microsoft exchange server is unavailable. outlook must be online or connected to complete this action".

there were no error codes. i've only once connected successfullly with exchange, and it was before their old tech did some work to it. so the error i get is the same as usuall.  

i have this user on the old profile as default so i can use that until exchange is up and then flip to the new  profile seamlessly.

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chatsuboAuthor Commented:
i know the connection status bar you mention, but i can't get that far because it gets stuck connecting to te exchange server.
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chatsuboAuthor Commented:
up to 500 now, cheers
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redseatechnologiesCommented:
Sounds like you are trying to use RPC/HTTP

If so, you are not supposed to be clicking on "check name" at all.

I am unsure, is this an SBS setup?

If not, please CLEARY specify what it is you are trying to do - or clarify that it is infact you trying to use RPC/HTTP

Perhaps I am incorrect - you say you are on the LAN, so why on earth are you connecting via VPN?
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chatsuboAuthor Commented:
no, not trying to connect to rpc/http. when they are at the office, they are on the same lan as the exchange server. when they are on the road, they connect to the vpn, and then open outlook. the users have laptops and sometimes work from the office and sometimes work from hotels. the check name thing is happening when i test from my home network, and once it resolves the name i finish making the account and launch outlook but it gives the error opening default folders.

when they are vpn, they can check name ok, when they are on the lan (ie at the office) it times out trying to resolve their name.

yes, this is sbs.

so i basically can't connect outlook to exchange in exchange cached mode no matter what. they are using pop3 now with it, which works fine. owa works, but they are not using it because pop3 downloads all their mail to psts. once exchange works i will upload their psts to the server. there are only 3 or 4 users.

cheers
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chatsuboAuthor Commented:
just to clarify, i don't know anything about connecting outlook with http(s) other than it exists. i'm just making a normal exchange server connection with outlook.  i have another small client which i set up with server 2k/exchange 2k and i connect outlook the same way with no problems. i'd consider myself good with outlook and ok with exchange 2000. this is my first venture with exchange 2003.
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redseatechnologiesCommented:
OK, it is starting to make more sense now.

It sounds like you have a name resolution problem (hopefully)

On the server, and on a workstation, click start > run > cmd

type    ipconfig /all    and hit enter

Paste the output of both server and workstation here (right click in the command prompt, hit mark, select all the text and right click to copy)

-red
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chatsuboAuthor Commented:
ok i made kind of a breakthrough. i did ipconfig /all and noticed i had some old openvpn stuff still installed. so i disabled the openvpn adapters and outlook in exchange cached mode started working for me over the vpn from home. so this is a breakthrough. i am using the basic w2k3 pptp vpn.

however when i remote to one of the machines at work (which is on the same switch and local subnet as the exchange server) it gets the error that the exchange server is unavailable. i then get a dialogue box to enter the exchange server and check name. when i try to check name it says the name could not be resolved because the connection to ms exchange server is unavailable.

just a fyi these machines have modified hosts files so that cbpserver.cbp.local points to the internal ip of the exchange server.


here is the server:


C:\Documents and Settings\Administrator>ipconfig /all

Windows IP Configuration

   Host Name . . . . . . . . . . . . : cbpserver
   Primary Dns Suffix  . . . . . . . : CBP.local
   Node Type . . . . . . . . . . . . : Unknown
   IP Routing Enabled. . . . . . . . : Yes
   WINS Proxy Enabled. . . . . . . . : Yes
   DNS Suffix Search List. . . . . . : CBP.local


Ethernet adapter Local Area Connection:

   Connection-specific DNS Suffix  . :
   Description . . . . . . . . . . . : Realtek RTL8168/8111 PCI-E Gigabit Ethern
et NIC
   Physical Address. . . . . . . . . : 00-18-F3-74-8B-75
   DHCP Enabled. . . . . . . . . . . : No
   IP Address. . . . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.91.20
   Subnet Mask . . . . . . . . . . . : 255.255.255.0
   Default Gateway . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.91.1
   DNS Servers . . . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.91.20
                                       192.168.91.1
   Primary WINS Server . . . . . . . : 192.168.0.20

C:\Documents and Settings\Administrator>

and on the client:

Microsoft Windows XP [Version 5.1.2600]
(C) Copyright 1985-2001 Microsoft Corp.

C:\Documents and Settings\Colleen>ipconfig /all

Windows IP Configuration

        Host Name . . . . . . . . . . . . : CBBP1
        Primary Dns Suffix  . . . . . . . :
        Node Type . . . . . . . . . . . . : Broadcast
        IP Routing Enabled. . . . . . . . : No
        WINS Proxy Enabled. . . . . . . . : No

Ethernet adapter Local Area Connection:

        Connection-specific DNS Suffix  . :
        Description . . . . . . . . . . . : Realtek RTL8139/810x Family Fast Eth
ernet NIC
        Physical Address. . . . . . . . . : 00-0B-6A-98-E0-A8
        Dhcp Enabled. . . . . . . . . . . : Yes
        Autoconfiguration Enabled . . . . : Yes
        IP Address. . . . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.91.100
        Subnet Mask . . . . . . . . . . . : 255.255.255.0
        Default Gateway . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.91.1
        DHCP Server . . . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.91.1
        DNS Servers . . . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.91.1
        Lease Obtained. . . . . . . . . . : Sunday, October 14, 2007 9:21:35 AM
        Lease Expires . . . . . . . . . . : Sunday, October 21, 2007 9:21:35 AM

C:\Documents and Settings\Colleen>


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chatsuboAuthor Commented:
client machine doesn't have sp1 on her office 2003. going to try that in the meantime.
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chatsuboAuthor Commented:
it was not a sp1 thing. the lan client was on a windows domain with the server, but i detached it. i don't have another lan client to test with it. i will try to go down to the office today with my laptop and see if my outlook works from there when hardwired.
cheers
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chatsuboAuthor Commented:
i just took my laptop to the office, and i can't connect inside the lan (same error exchange server unavailable). then i took it back home and connected via vpn and it worked fine.

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redseatechnologiesCommented:
You need to point the client workstation at the Exchange server for DNS.

You also need to STOP the server looking at the router for DNS.

Fix those, and I will review the rest now
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redseatechnologiesCommented:
>>just a fyi these machines have modified hosts files so that cbpserver.cbp.local points to the internal ip of the exchange server.

Why?!?!?  Get rid of those and do it properly with DNS (as I state above)

This WINS address is wrong -> 192.168.0.20

Fix that too.

The workstation is not picking up a DNS suffix address, making me think that either you have damaged the DHCP scope options somehow, or there is something else going on.

Looking at the output, and what you are describing, it is pretty clearly a DNS problem.  Fix all the above, and let me know.
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chatsuboAuthor Commented:
i've made the client machine use the server as dhcp, and the server is using itself. dns seems to work fine.

still having the same problem though.

ipconfig /all for server:

Microsoft Windows [Version 5.2.3790]
(C) Copyright 1985-2003 Microsoft Corp.

C:\Documents and Settings\Administrator>ipconfig /all

Windows IP Configuration

   Host Name . . . . . . . . . . . . : cbpserver
   Primary Dns Suffix  . . . . . . . : CBP.local
   Node Type . . . . . . . . . . . . : Unknown
   IP Routing Enabled. . . . . . . . : Yes
   WINS Proxy Enabled. . . . . . . . : Yes
   DNS Suffix Search List. . . . . . : CBP.local


Ethernet adapter Local Area Connection:

   Connection-specific DNS Suffix  . :
   Description . . . . . . . . . . . : Realtek RTL8168/8111 PCI-E Gigabit Ethern
et NIC
   Physical Address. . . . . . . . . : 00-18-F3-74-8B-75
   DHCP Enabled. . . . . . . . . . . : No
   IP Address. . . . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.91.20
   Subnet Mask . . . . . . . . . . . : 255.255.255.0
   Default Gateway . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.91.1
   DNS Servers . . . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.91.20
   Primary WINS Server . . . . . . . : 192.168.91.20

C:\Documents and Settings\Administrator>


ipconfig /all for client:


C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc>ipconfig /all

Windows IP Configuration

        Host Name . . . . . . . . . . . . : CBBP1
        Primary Dns Suffix  . . . . . . . :
        Node Type . . . . . . . . . . . . : Broadcast
        IP Routing Enabled. . . . . . . . : No
        WINS Proxy Enabled. . . . . . . . : No

Ethernet adapter Local Area Connection:

        Connection-specific DNS Suffix  . :
        Description . . . . . . . . . . . : Realtek RTL8139/810x Family Fast Eth
ernet NIC
        Physical Address. . . . . . . . . : 00-0B-6A-98-E0-A8
        Dhcp Enabled. . . . . . . . . . . : Yes
        Autoconfiguration Enabled . . . . : Yes
        IP Address. . . . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.91.100
        Subnet Mask . . . . . . . . . . . : 255.255.255.0
        Default Gateway . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.91.1
        DHCP Server . . . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.91.1
        DNS Servers . . . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.91.20
        Lease Obtained. . . . . . . . . . : Sunday, October 14, 2007 6:46:00 PM
        Lease Expires . . . . . . . . . . : Sunday, October 21, 2007 6:46:00 PM

C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc>
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redseatechnologiesCommented:
The workstation is using the router as a DHCP server - which isn;t going to help anyone - but it shouldn't make a HUGE difference.

Have you removed the hosts files?

if you ping cbserver from a workstation, what do you get?
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chatsuboAuthor Commented:
i removed it from the hosts file, and i can ping cbpserver fine. but i get the same error when i try and connect outlook over the lan.

just tested remotely over vpn and it works fine.
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redseatechnologiesCommented:
are you pinging by name, or ip address?
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chatsuboAuthor Commented:
by name
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chatsuboAuthor Commented:
and when i use nslookup using the server's ip i can successfully resolve it. and i have an entry in the dns console which correctly identifies it.

i set dns up similar to a w2k server running exchange 2k for reference.
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chatsuboAuthor Commented:
cbpserver.cbp.local is mapped to 192.168.91.20 on my laptop here and when i connect to vpn, i get onto outlook fine. i think that might mean that dns is set up ok on server.

on the lan client, i have the dns hard coded to the server, and i confirm this by running nslookup on the lan client, it defaults to the server for dns. so i think that end is set up correctly.

maybe there is another reference to the old ip somewhere on the server (before i changed ip's) or some other arcane thing preventing this from working?
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redseatechnologiesCommented:
Right, so this testing you are doing now is on the laptop that works over the VPN?  Using the same outlook profile?
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redseatechnologiesCommented:
>>cbpserver.cbp.local is mapped to 192.168.91.20 on my laptop here

What about just cbpserver?
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chatsuboAuthor Commented:
yes i can, and have removed the hosts file setting. the vpn connection now uses 192.168.91.20 for dns so i can resolve fine. same with lan client.

here are the particulars of my laptop's vpn connection:


PPP adapter cbp:

        Connection-specific DNS Suffix  . :
        Description . . . . . . . . . . . : WAN (PPP/SLIP) Interface
        Physical Address. . . . . . . . . : 00-53-45-00-00-00
        Dhcp Enabled. . . . . . . . . . . : No
        IP Address. . . . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.91.51
        Subnet Mask . . . . . . . . . . . : 255.255.255.255
        Default Gateway . . . . . . . . . :
        DNS Servers . . . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.91.20
        Primary WINS Server . . . . . . . : 192.168.91.20
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chatsuboAuthor Commented:
i am using remote desktop to access the computer on the lan so i can test
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redseatechnologiesCommented:
OK, good - so when you are testing it on the LAN, are you using your laptop or something else?

I am trying to figure out if this is computer related, or network related.
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chatsuboAuthor Commented:
when i vpn into the network, i remote into a machine with the ip 192.168.91.100 which is plugged into the same router as the server. so i just fire up outlook on her computer which is essentially the same as me being there.

i didn't set them up or install their sbs. their tech walked out on them and i'm friends with the manager. i'm going down their office right now to check their network setup and wiring.
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redseatechnologiesCommented:
OK, so it is entirely possible that the workstation itself is having a problem - I would recreate the outlook profile
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chatsuboAuthor Commented:
i am successfully connected to the exchange server when i plugged my laptop into the lan. the problem must be with her computer although i don't see a firewall on it anywhere.

i think you solved the problem because it was dns/wins settings on the server that got me up and running. this problem with her computer seems to be a separate thing. once i get her up and running and determine it is indeed a problem with her computer, i will close the question.

thanks a million
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redseatechnologiesCommented:
You are most welcome.  I would recommend you create a new outlook profile and go from there.

-red
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chatsuboAuthor Commented:
ok, this is solved. the incorrect dns and wins was causing unpredictable behaviour and fixing that did indeed solve the problem.

the employee's machine on the lan i was using for testing had two copies of winxp installed, and two installs of ms office. she was still using the old install and i guess that the two office installs were conflicting with eachother as they were installed in the same program files directory.

i have flipped her over to her new install of windows and am copying over her files and settings. exchange is working great on all fronts.

let's hope this exmerge stuff ahead of me goes a little smoother :P

thanks again everybody
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redseatechnologiesCommented:
>>let's hope this exmerge stuff ahead of me goes a little smoother :P

Don't go pinning your hopes on that :)

A little advice -> http://www.petri.co.il/grant_full_mailbox_rights_on_exchange_2000_2003.htm

-red
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