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Not receiving external e-mail every month, server reboot needed

Posted on 2008-06-25
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Last Modified: 2010-04-21
Hello,

At my company we have an E-mail server of Windows Server 2003 SP2 with Exchange 2003 SP2. Lately almost every month the receiving part of the mail isnt working. In the eventviewer we dont see anything which can relate that anything goes wrong with exchange and the mail. After a reboot of the server the mail comes in again and stays working good. Almost a month later the same problem comes up again and with the reboot we can force that the mail works again.

Since we arent able to find a cause for this problem we are hoping that anybody here can point us to the right direction for solving this.

Thanks already for helping.

Greetings,

Rogier
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Question by:RLengkeek
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Expert Comment

by:uid94130
ID: 21863275
You could check the mail antivirus. If there's a bug there, your messages could get stuck in the antivirus queues and the messages are not delivered to the mailboxes. In this case, a program update of the antivirus solution might be needed.
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Expert Comment

by:Ehab Salem
ID: 21864022
Is that related to any Exchange/IMF updates? I had this problem twice and was due to exchange updates that did not request for a restart, but actually mail was blocked till we restarted.
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Expert Comment

by:uid94130
ID: 21864386
A restart after patching the exchange server is recommended (even if the patched do not require it at install).
Is it possible to schedule a maintenance window for the reboot?
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Author Comment

by:RLengkeek
ID: 21864610
On the mailserver we have Symantec Mail Security v. 5.0.3.360 but doesnt give any signs of problems (not even eventview errors of some sort). So i dont really relate it straigtly to that.

The exchange server hasnt received any updates or patches, the only update we have done is to promote the Windows Server 2003 to SP2 but the problem was already there before that update.

In the queue of Exchange we dont see anything standing there when there's is no e-mail coming in.
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Expert Comment

by:uid94130
ID: 21864650
Have you restarted the server or the antivirus services?
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Author Comment

by:RLengkeek
ID: 21865052
we tried that aswell but that didnt gave any effect
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Expert Comment

by:uid94130
ID: 21865128
Are you able telnet your exchange server on the port 25?
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Author Comment

by:RLengkeek
ID: 21865279
Even a telnet seesion to port 25 works when the external mail isnt coming in. The server just response totally normal and therefor its a really weird problem.
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Expert Comment

by:uid94130
ID: 21865483
Unfortunately I have very limited information on your exchange infrastructure...

Somewhere on the way, the messages are queued when this happens. At that point you have to check the all the queues (e.g. the ones on your mail antivirus, your exchange server, the AntiSPAM solution)
The MX records for your domain(s) point directly to your exchange servers? Can you describe briefly what's the path the messages take usually to reach your exchange server?
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Author Comment

by:RLengkeek
ID: 21865637
i will give u the info tomorrow i'm afraid since i'm leaving now. I hope that we than can figure some stuff out. Thanks for the help so far.
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Expert Comment

by:uid94130
ID: 21865662
No worries. It's the same here. My work time is over.
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Author Comment

by:RLengkeek
ID: 21872622
Okay here goes:

As said we have a Windows Server 2003 SP2 server with MS Exchange 2003 SP2. Between the WAN and Exchange we have two firewalls. One hardware firewall and one software firewall (ISA Server 2004 SP3). On the exchange server we have Symantec Mail Security with the add-on of Brightmail Antispam. The spam will be put in a folder on the server itself so that it doesnt reach the clients (we receive around 3000 spam messages each day). When we sent out e-mail it goes from Exchange through our firewalls and then goes out to our Hosting party. From there its being sent to the receiver. With receiving e-mail it goes the same but then just the other way around of course.

We already checked with our hosting party if there's something wrong there with dropping the mail to our company but they dont have any problems and only see that when our server doesnt respond the mail will be put in a queue in their system untill our server is back running again which triggers to empty the queue.

So its really something on the exchange server (at least that's our feeling) but we dont have real proof for that since there are no events or errors about it.

Can u do something with this info or do u need more?? :-)
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Accepted Solution

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uid94130 earned 1500 total points
ID: 21873147
Hi again!

It's enough for now. :)

So, when this happens, the messages add to the queue at the hosting party.
During this time, your exchange server runs smoothly and accepts connections on TCP 25. Therefore I would say it should be fine!

I would say that the system on the hosting side is having network issues locating your server.
Unfortunately the issue must be approached from their side. Can they also open a TCP 25 connection to your server when the issue happens?
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Author Closing Comment

by:RLengkeek
ID: 31470472
It has been awhile since my last update and sorry for that. Since the last time i left the company to start with a new job and because of that this question isnt needed anymore. Thanks for the time and effort.

Grtz,
Rogier
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