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MS Exchange 2003 Stops working

Posted on 2009-07-09
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Last Modified: 2012-05-07
Every 2 or 3 days my MS Exchange stops working.  The error logs shop POP3 errors, no application errors.

Services shows Exchange Information Stores working fine, all exchange services appear to be running fine.

Re-Starting Exchange Information Stores service fixes the problem.

No new software has been installed on the server, it has been running fine for over a year.

6650 Dell Dual Processor Server, 4GB RAM, 500GB Raided drive system (320 GB FREE) Drives new last year, 15 users, 12 email accounts, Symantec Endpoint, Symantec Backup software runs every evening to a tape drive. Server stores some CADD files and 1 1.4GB Quickbooks data file.  Of course, it also host the email.  Internet connection is AT&T DSL, We are next to the phone office, our DSL is extremely fast.
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Question by:roberthil5
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by:Mestha
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You need to do diagnostics while the system is down. Services stopped for example.
Is this standard edition? If so, are you hitting the limit?

Although I have to say, my usual response would be to blame the Symantec software. It causes more problems than anything else. Until it is removed and the server rebooted it will always be the primary place I look for when there are problems.

Simon.
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by:roberthil5
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I forgot to mention, Service Pack 2.

The info on SBS 2003 cut & paste:
Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003
Release Documentation

Is there a diagnostics option in exchange?  Can I see it in a drop down menu?  I assume I must stop Exchange Information Stores in services before I run this diagnostics program?
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by:Mestha
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There is no diagnostics built in to Exchange. You have to look at whether services are running etc. Exchange rarely goes down without a fight.
There is a high chance that it is the Symantec software that is stopping the access, nothing to do with Exchange. I constantly kick Symantec, but it is not without good reason. I have seen it take down more than its fair share of servers, to the point of removing it is always my first step with any problems. More often than not, after removing it the problem goes away. Most problems I see with Exchange are caused by third party products.

There is an Exchange Troubleshooting tool, which can be downloaded from Microsoft at http://exbpa.com/ but that is more for performance issues rather than why the server is failing.

Simon.
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by:roberthil5
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The problem I am having is:

   > The applications log does not show a problem.

   > The services show as started.

To make Exchange run again, I re-start Information Store, and poof! It works again.

I googled "Exchange Information Store Stopped" and found that many people have experienced the same problem (services running, no errors in logs, no email), however all of the boards seem to never get to a solution.  It's try this, try that a few times and then the process ends, It seems you can tell when a fix is found, you see the solution posted on a couple of sites and people say, yea that was it.  But with this problem, I am not finding a resolution.

Should I call Symantec?
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by:Mestha
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The reason there is no single fix is because it is an unusual problem.
Calling Symantec is a waste of time, because a vendor is never going to admit there is a problem with their product.
The only way to prove it is not Symantec at fault is to remove their product and reboot the machine. If the server is hanging that often you should not have long to wait to know if it is clear.
In some cases removing the product, rebooting it at least twice, then reinstalling it will not cause the problem to reoccur because it is a fresh installation.

Simon.
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by:vicoso
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Have you checked if the database has reached the size limitations?
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by:roberthil5
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No, I have not.

Where would I find the database file, and what size would be too fat?
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vicoso earned 250 total points
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The database files are the priv1.edb, stm and pub1.edb, stm. They are by default in the X:\Program Files\Exchsrvr\MDBDATA where X is your exchange installation drive.

Since you have SBS with Service pack 2 the database size will be limited to 18 GB. If your database is exceeding this then you will have to set a registry entry to increase the database size limit to upto 75 GB.

You can refer to:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/912375

If the database size is already increased to anything under 75 GB (say 40 GB) and the database has reached that limitation then we will have to increase the size in the registry again.

If your database already exceeded 75 GB then the registry cannot be modified any futher. In this case you can move database to another server which has Exchange 2003 Enterprise.

You can refer to:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/912375
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by:Mestha
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If it was the database size issue then it would happen every day without fail, and something would be logged. The database size check is logged each day by default at 5am.

Simon.
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by:roberthil5
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I have approx 12 email users, 4 of which are email hogs.  The reason I asked where the ebd file was is because I browsed the  exchsvr directory for large space being consumed, all the folders showed only a few MB of space used, I also browsed each floder for an ebd file, found none.  I know that I have some huge email boxes out there.  Also, now knowing the default is 5AM, it makes sense that the email is down in the morning.  Maybe the reason it is not sometimes is beacuse the backup has not completed by ten and somehow backup exe is causing the 5AM test not to happen...  Just a thought.

I just completed a search on my server hard drives for a *.ebd file and came up dry?

Someplace on my server there has to be some massive exchange files!!!!  Why are they hiding?  Where are they hiding?

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by:Mestha
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If you look in ESM, at the properties of the database then it will show you the path of the database files.

If you search for ebd you shouldn't find anything, as it is edb.

Simon.
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by:roberthil5
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ROFLMAO!  I remember a post a while back, the person asked how you type a backwards b.

Oops!

OK, edb, I found it, 12.6GB (under D:\Exchsvr\mdbdata)
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by:roberthil5
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Before I go through the pain of uninstalling Endpoint & re-installing, could I stop it for a few days.  I am concerned about on protection on my one and only server.  If it is down for 10 minutes, the owners go nuts, they have a cow when the email is down for 20 minutes in the morning.

Also, what about Eseutil.  I have seen that come up in my google searches as a remedy for Exchange problems.  

I know a couple of the users receive a great deal of XXX emails, so running without Endpoint is a big concern.
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by:Mestha
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ESEUTIL is a database scanning tool. It should only be used when you think there is a problem with the database. There is nothing to indicate the problem is with the database here.
Furthermore to run the tool will require an extended period of downtime.

Simon.
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by:vicoso
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You dont need to run eseutil as there is no database problem right now.
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Author Closing Comment

by:roberthil5
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Even though the database was showing less than 18GB in size, SBS 2003 exchange was reporting it was larger.  I also found that in the error log entries, information, not warnings or errors entries confirmed the problem.  Once I checked the information entries, one showed the database was over 19GB.  I changed the registry setting for the database size, no more problems.
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