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Undeliverable - All outgoing email getting delayed messages then undeliverable SBS2003 exchange

Small home SBS2003 network running MS Exchange 2003
Server has two network cards. One connected to Billion ADSL router connected to the Internet. THe other connected to a internal Belkin Router where my wife and I are connected to.

For 7 days straight now my wife (on a XP notebook) and I (on a Vista Desktop) are no longer able to successfully send outbound emails. All inbound emails are being received ok. Everything has been working perfectly for over 3 years and suddenly this problem has appeared. No changes have been made except for regular patches (on the server and Clients) through Microsoft update service.

Symptoms are as follows:
When either of us send emails out to ANY address (multiple different domains) they all come back with a Delivery Status Notification (Delay) error email from exchange. The next day we get another delay message and then finally a Undeliverable message with the reason of "Could not deliver the message in the time limit specified".

I did a search buit most people have this problem from time to time with a few different emails. My problem is different because it is happening with ALL outbound emails including ones we have regularly used previously. Only my wife and I have accounts on the SBS2003/Exchange box and the problem is affecting us both exactely the same.

I called our ISP thinking it may be something wrong with their SMTP server. As soon as I mentioned that I had an exchange server they would not help me (Typical). Anyway he did ask if I could access and send from my webmail account with them. I have indeed tested this and it works fine. He claimed that there was nothing wrong with their SMTP server then and it must be exchange related.

I'm IT savvy (enough to have put the network together in the first place etc) however I have minimal  SBS2003 and exchange experience. Any solutions should assume technical knowledge but require directions! I have already checked to make sure the outbound SMTP configuration in exchange hasn't changed and is still pointing to the ISP which it is.

Now there was a power outage around the date that this started happening however I can't be 100% certain that it was actually the day the problem started. It may have be coincidental (So don't jump to any assumptions) , but I thought I'd mention it just in case this could be caused by isolated corruption.

All other services, connection through the internet etc is working perfectly. All incoming mails are received and the outlook clients are working fine with all mailboxes being read fine etc. Just no more sending out...?
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slater27
Asked:
slater27
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2 Solutions
 
NeilParbrookCommented:
Sounds to me like a problem with your outbound routing.

Have you rerun CIEW? That would be worth a try.  Also how are you sending outbound mail via DNS or a smarthost?
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slater27Author Commented:
Thanks for the quick reply.

1. CIEW - Do you mean the Configure Email and Internet Connection Wizard? If so, I gave it try and went through the email settings again and reapplied them all. This completed ok. I then sent a test email to an outside domain (My other work email which I can view from the company webmail). Checked company webmail and message not delivered. Checked the Server Queue in Exchange System Manager and it shows my test message sitting there with a state of 'Queued'. This is what happened to all my other emails. They would simply sit in the queue until the delayed messages were sent and then finally the undeliverable message before being cleared from the queue (but obvioulsy not actually sent).

2. I chose the "Forward all e-mail to e-mail server at your ISP" option in the wizard (ie: Not DNS), so is this what you mean by smarthost?
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NeilParbrookCommented:
It sounds to me like you have a problem with the smarthost and exchange cannot pass the email to it.  Can you varify that the information for your isp that you entered in the CIEW is correct and whether the authentification is valid?

It may be worth re-running CIEW and setting up DNS routing as this should work, till you can make sure all the ISP details are correct.

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slater27Author Commented:
The ISP information is indeed correct.  Currently set to  'mail.iinet.net.au'

I'm unsure how I can check if the authentication is valid? The internet connection authentication through the ADSL router is fine as internet is working. Beyond that the SMTP server of the ISP doesn't require separate authentication? If the internet connection is up (same provider) then the SMTP server should be accessible.
I'm unsure how DNS routing would work? You mayh ave to explian how this can work given my setup. I have a dynamic IP hence why I pop my incoming email and send out via the ISP SMTP server.

Sorry if I'm missing something here...
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NeilParbrookCommented:
is you email address supplied by your isp?

Some ISP's get funny about sending mails for other domains.
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slater27Author Commented:
No, my email address is with my hosting provider which is not my ISP.  So I pop my emails from my webhost which I receive fine.  Sending out through my ISP is the problem but never used to be.  Usually ISP's have problems if you try to relay emails out to another server and will block this. For example if I try to set my SMTP connection in exchange to my webhost provider's SMTP server it will not work. I know when I set it up years ago I would get messages to the effect that relaying to other mail servers is not allowed.

I guess the other thing you need to consider here is that no settings have changed (At least that I have changed) and this setup has been working for 3 years until now. The ISP is a major ISP and did not indicate that there should be any problem other than something wrong at my end with exchange. So I'm highly doubtful of any issue relating to not accepting emails with a different domain reference to the ISP that it is being sent through. For a major ISP this policy would bring their business to a screaming halt as many people are setup this way these days.

Any other ideas?
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NeilParbrookCommented:
I am in the UK and British Telecom one of the biggest ISP's will not let you relay email through there smtp server unless the email domain was registered with them and then allowed by them to pass through.  When they brought this in they didn't tell anyone they just did it.

I would call your ISP and check as I would hedge my bets that its them if your system has been fine for 3 years

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slater27Author Commented:
I called the ISP. They said nothing has changed and that using another domain name in the sending addres is OK and should work. They confirmed that trying to send to a different SMTP server at another host will not. Which is what I thought. So that's definitly not the problem.
 
I also checked on the whilpool forums which is one of Australia's largest forums that discuss ISP's, problems etc. There is a whole forum specifically for my ISP and no one is reporting the same issue that I am having.

IS there any way of testing connectivity manually to the ISP's SMTP server and/or any other logs I can check that will tell me more information why exchange cannot connect?
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NeilParbrookCommented:
Set up a pop account in Outlook using your ISP mail server as the outgoing mail server.

Is there anything in the error logs on the server?
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slater27Author Commented:
OK, well i've just spent the laast 30 mins trawling through the logs and I think I've found something fishy..

On the night before I started having this problem two warning events started occurring in the system log realting to the SMTPSVC. The first is a warning:

"SMTP could not connect to the DNS server '61.9.240.14'. The protocol used was 'UDP'. It may be down or inaccessible."

Interestingly that IP address is for my old ISP (bigpond)  not my current one. It would appear that the server is trying to connect to my old ISP SMTP server and is failing. But how and why if the new ISP DNS name has been entered?....

The next log message is an error straight after:
"SMTP could not connect to any DNS server. Either none are configured, or all are down."

THis pretty much keeps continuing every hour I guess in line with attempts to send out SMTP messages.

So it would appear that this is probably the source of the problem. However where is it getting this old SMTP IP address from?  These messages start at 11pm on the night before I started noticing the problem up until today. Earlier on that same day (around 8am) there are several disk errors reported which then cleared.

I don't have raid setup. Just simple straight sata disks. Is it possible that due to some corruption that the Server has somehow restored an earlier record contianing the old ISP IP address?

What's you thoughts?
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vishal_impactCommented:
HI
Just have a look with your domain as we had same issue and its get solved as we came to know that domain registration was expired
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slater27Author Commented:
Sorry Vishal_Impact - It has nothing to do with an expired domain.

I have found the root cause of the problem myself although I still have two other problems, one of which still needs to be resolved.

1. I entered in the IP address for mail.iinet.net.au into the Smallbusiness SMTP Connector. This immediately worked and all email in the queue cleared.  The problem therefore is that the server was unable to resolve the domain name to the IP address. Some sort of internal DNS issue? Because it was not resolving it was not updating the underlying IP address record.  Even though the email is working with this workaround I need to fix the problem with it not resolving the mail server. I checked the DNS Server log and there isn't any issues. Both DNS Client and DNS Server Services are running.

2. The second issue (which isn't so important to resolve I guess) is why my old ISP IP address was stored in the server as the SMTP address anyway. This part is very strange as it's been at least 12 months since I switched from the old ISP to the new ISP and of course it had been working with the new mail.iinet.com.au address right up until last week.

So if I can get some quality answers for these two questions I'll assign some points. At the moment NeilParbrook prompted me to check my logs and has been quick to assist but beyond that I've actually solved the problem (of sending email) myself. These other two issues are still a mystery.
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vishal_impactCommented:
ok
have a look on mx record as well as i think for dns issue you need to configure the ipaddress in the dns zone primarily  i think
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NeilParbrookCommented:
Sounds like if you can only pick up via IP then there may be an DNS problem.

Are you DNS servers when you run CIEW set to you current ISP's?

Can you post an ipconfig /all report for the server.

You Said...

"SMTP could not connect to the DNS server '61.9.240.14'. The protocol used was 'UDP'. It may be down or inaccessible."
Interestingly that IP address is for my old ISP (bigpond)  not my current one. It would appear that the server is trying to connect to my old ISP SMTP server and is failing. But how and why if the new ISP DNS name has been entered?....

If that IP is you old ISP's DNS then that may well be the problem.

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