Unable to send emails to one external domain only


My users are getting NDRs from our exchange server when they try to send to one external domain only. They can send to all other domains, internal/external, just fine.

Exchange 2003 SP2 running on Windows 2003 SP2. Two exchange servers (one front-end with no mailboxes and one backend, cluster, with all the mailboxes called SERVER). Routing groups set up to send all mails through two smart hosts.

NDR receive by users looks like this:

[Your message did not reach some or all of the intended recipients.

Subject:      Test
Sent:      1/5/2010 9:34 AM

The following recipient(s) could not be reached:

'mail@ExternalDomain.com' on 1/5/2010 9:34 AM
The e-mail account does not exist at the organization this message was sent to. Check the e-mail address, or contact the recipient directly to find out the correct address.
<server.InternalDomainDNSName.ch #5.1.1>

Enabled diagnostics logging this event appears when NDR is generated:

Event Type:      Information
Event Source:      MSExchangeTransport
Event Category:      Categorizer
Event ID:      6015
Date:       1/5/2010
Time:       9:34 AM
User:       N/A
Computer:      SERVER
Categorizer is NDRing a recipient with address SMTP:mail@ExternalDomain.com with reason code 0x80070002 (The system cannot find the file specified.

For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp.
0000: 02 00 00 00 ....

Also mail doesn't appear in SMTP Logs.

Any help would be much appreciated.

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florin_sConnect With a Mentor Author Commented:
Problem solved !!!
After ages of research I found what was the problem...Metabase in IIS...

Used Metabase Explorer, expand the LM metabase, expand SMTPSVC, expand virtual SMTP server, expand, Domain  which are the internal routing domains. This is what tells the categorizer to bypass and go striaght to local delivery.
Well here was a key with that External Domain...
Deleted it and it looks ok now...mails are being routed to the smart hosts.

Thanks all for help.
Alan HardistyCo-OwnerCommented:
"The e-mail account does not exist at the organization this message was sent to"
This either means that the user has left the company, you are typing the address in incorrectly, or they are using a host that uses a clustered mail environment and your mail is hitting a server that does not have this user setup on.
Eiher way, this is not a problem you can resolve, unless it is a typo error on your senders behalf.
Does this happen all the time and to all users at the relevant domain or is it just one recipient and/or just ocassionally?
there is a simple test which wil help us know the exact issue... which most probably is external domain issue.
find the mx of that domain first... to do this:
on command prompt.type
set q=mx
this will give you the mx...of remote domain

now do a telnet to that mx on port 25
telnet MX/ip 25
mail from:user@yourdomain.com
rcpt to:user2@externalDomain.com
does this run fine?? or it gives the same error after rcpt?
--> also tell me...do you have a smart host?
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florin_sAuthor Commented:
@alanhardisty: the mail address exists, error appears not only when sending to one mail address but to all mail addresses of one domain. Mail addresses are written correctly.
@x-sam: checked mx records before posting and are ok. Outbound for mails is through a smart host.
Here's a test I also done before posting:

Tried telneting on port 25 to the smart host and than send a mail. Surprising thing is that mail was delivered to a user in my organization.

florin_sAuthor Commented:
I also believe that somehow Exchange thinks the domain is internal, despite the fact that DNS records for this external domain show nothing wrong.

From my information, there were contacts created long time ago for users in this external domain but then the contact were replaced with mailbox enabled users. Contacts were deleted.

Checked and the domain is not listed on an SMTP connector or on a contact or in the recipient policy.
Alan HardistyCo-OwnerCommented:
If your test mail was delivered to an internal user, it sounds like you have s recipient policy setup for that domain on your server and your users have email addresses at that domain!

Please check the recipient policies and remove the offending policy, ensuring you remove the relevant email addresses from all users too.  Removing the policy should also mean you remove the accepted domain on your server.

Once all tidied up, you may need to clear your server dns cache and then you can try to send messages again.
florin_sAuthor Commented:
Checked and no recipient policy for that domain...
Alan HardistyCo-OwnerCommented:

Does the user who received the email have an email address for the domain you sent the test message to?
florin_sAuthor Commented:
The problem is general, all users that send mail to mail addresses of that domain, receive the same NDR.
Alan HardistyCo-OwnerCommented:
Yes, I understand that, but your test arrived to an internal user and I would like to know why.

Perhaps you have the domain setup in dns locally?

Can you please either post the domain details of the one you are having problems sending to or email me them at alan @ it-eye.co.uk


florin_sAuthor Commented:
Checked and no trace of the external domain in local DNS. Also mail sent to it from any other source, except my organization, is working.

Checked with nslookup and everything seems ok.

This is how it works:

Mail from mail@InternalDomain to mail@ExternalDomain -> NDR comes right away, also mail doesn't appear in SMTP Logs.

Mail from mail@Gmail.com to mail@ExternalDomain -> is working. Some users from that ExternalDomain have forward rules on their mailboxes to forward mails to the equivalent users in our organization. So...
 mail@Gmail.com to mail@ExternalDomain -> EquivalentMaill@InternalDomain is successfull.

Alan HardistyCo-OwnerCommented:
Please can you post the entire NDR message - obscure email addresses if you like, but please don't obscure server names.
Are you able to send mail to an externaldomain account that does not have forwarding setup?

please go to the default smtp virtual server and enable the logging to NCSA common log file.
restart the smtp service...
send a mail again and do message tracking for the same...
also send me the NCSA log file...
start-->run--> logfiles--> smtpsvc-->ncXXX.

also check the header of that mail.. and paste it here
florin_sAuthor Commented:
Nothing appears in the NCSA log file when sending a mail to "ExternalDomain.com"

Bellow is the header of the NDR received:

"Microsoft Mail Internet Headers Version 2.0
From: postmaster
To: InternalMailAddress
Date: Fri, 8 Jan 2010 09:41:23 +0100
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: multipart/report; report-type=delivery-status;
X-DSNContext: 335a7efd - 4523 - 00000001 - 80040546
Subject: Delivery Status Notification (Failure)

Content-Type: text/plain; charset=unicode-1-1-utf-7

Content-Type: message/delivery-status

Content-Type: message/rfc822

X-MimeOLE: Produced By Microsoft Exchange V6.5
Content-class: urn:content-classes:message
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: application/ms-tnef;
Content-Transfer-Encoding: binary
Subject: Test
Date: Fri, 8 Jan 2010 09:41:23 +0100
Message-ID: <77C11954888B5E47BF4A18AC0C8D9F3A02F859CF@server.InternalDomainDNSName.ch #5.1.1>
X-MS-TNEF-Correlator: <77C11954888B5E47BF4A18AC0C8D9F3A02F859CF@server.InternalDomainDNSName.ch #5.1.1>
Thread-Topic: Test
Thread-Index: AcqQPlvTr83Oduy5SGi2Rqe1aRx65Q==
From: "Internal"

--9B095B5ADSN=_01CA903DD6BB76DF00000027***?****.****-- "

Alan HardistyCo-OwnerCommented:
As you are sending out mail via smarthosts, can you please setup a new connector to send the mail to the external domain directly to the external domains server and set the address space to be only the external domain.
That way, you will be sending the mail directly to their server and it should not get interfered with by the smarthosts you are presently using.
Please report back if this improves the situation.
florin_sAuthor Commented:
@alanhardisty: This was already tried but with no success. All mails sent to external domains are going without problems, except mails sent to this particular one.
Like I said, mails sent to this external domain are somehow considered by Exchange as sent internally...
Alan HardistyCo-OwnerCommented:
Sorry - must have missed that.
Can you please delete and re-create all recipient policies and do the same with the SMTP Connectors, recording the settings first so you know what to put back.
Somehow the domain must be held somewhere and this will hopefully get rid of the settings.
florin_sAuthor Commented:
Done that also but with no success also...
I have no ideea if before there was a recipient policy with that external domain. If there was and it has been deleted...than maybe some remains left behind...but where to check ?
Alan HardistyCo-OwnerCommented:
Yes - I was thinking that and have been digging, but nothing exciting to report just yet, but watch this space.
Alan HardistyCo-OwnerCommented:
Okay - please fire up ADSIEDIT on your server (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc773354(WS.10).aspx) and then do the following:
ADSI Edit Action Menu> Connect to. From the drop down list 'Select a well known Naming Context:', select 'Configuration'.
Expanded the tree down, Configuration> Services> Microsoft Exchange>, "Your Organisation Name"> Recipient Policies.
Examine all policies and check that the external domain is not listed anywhere.  If it is, please delete the relevant policy.  If it is not listed, please let me know.
Once you have finished using ADSIEDIT, please close it down.
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