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Can't restart smtpsvc?

Posted on 2009-07-07
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Last Modified: 2012-05-07
I'm experiencing the problem detailed in http://support.microsoft.com/kb/950757 on my Exchange server.  I read in another thread here on EE, that an alternative to installing the hotfix from Microsoft is to set up a scheduled task to manually stop and start the smtpsvc, with the idea being that NDRs will be generated for any messages still in the queue at that time.

I've set up a batch file, but when I try to run "net stop smtpsvc" I get:

The Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) service is stopping................
The Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) service could not be stopped.

When I check the event log, I see this:

Cluster resource 'SMTP Virtual Server Instance 1 (EXCHANGE01)' in Resource Group 'Exchange Resources' failed.

I'm assuming MSCS doesn't like me manually restarting services.  Is there any way I can get around this?

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Question by:FWeston
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Expert Comment

by:PC_Rob
ID: 24798019
Try using the IISRESET command instead.  It also resets the SMTP service I believe.

Here is a detailed article of usage:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/202013

iisreset /restart usually does it for me when I can't get the service to stop from the services manager.

Regards,

Rob
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by:FWeston
ID: 24798159
That seems like it might work, but I'd really rather not take down IIS if I can help it, since that would kick people out of OWA and would temporarily break ActiveSync.
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Expert Comment

by:Mestha
ID: 24802803
Any reason you don't want to install the hotfix for the greylisting bug?
It takes about two minutes to get and then install.

Simon.
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Author Comment

by:FWeston
ID: 24813146
Yes - we only have one user who's mentioned this problem to us, and the amount of messages it affects is miniscule.  MS recommends only installing the hotfix if the problem is seriously affecting you, so I'd rather avoid introducing any random elements into our Exchange setup if possible since that's probably the most critical service we provide.  The SMTP restart seems like it should solve the problem without requiring us to install any software.
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by:Mestha
ID: 24814067
I install the hotfix on to every server that I deploy, and haven't seen any problems with it. I actually asked Microsoft if they would push out on Automatic updates, but for some reason they declined to.

Restarting SMTP is fine, unless you happen to be receiving a message at the time.

Personally I would have no problems with deploying the patch, and I encourage everyone with Exchange 2003 to do so.

Simon.
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Author Comment

by:FWeston
ID: 24814251
If this were a new installation, I wouldn't have any problem installing a hotfix, but since it's established and is mission critical, I'd rather not do it unless absolutely necessary.  Regarding the SMTP restart, if the message isn't completely received, I assume it would be treated as a failure and would be thrown in the retry queue.
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Accepted Solution

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Mestha earned 2000 total points
ID: 24814535
Not always.
It depends on how the message is NDR'd.

As for your original question, due to the way clustering works, I believe your only option is to failover to the other cluster.

I have deployed the patch on more servers than I can count, including clustered servers, with no ill effects. I haven't had an Exchange 2003 patch cause a problem since the first post SP1 update that changed the behaviour of the Full Mailbox Access permission for admin accounts.

Simon.
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Author Comment

by:FWeston
ID: 24814754
That makes sense, and is what I was thinking regarding the SMTP restart, but wasn't sure how to confirm it.  I'll take your word for it, and we'll go ahead and install the hotfix.
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Author Closing Comment

by:FWeston
ID: 31600791
Installed the patch with no issues
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