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Exchange 2003 not processing emails

Posted on 2010-08-19
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
Here's the skinny ... SBS 2003, Exchange, power outage, corrupt Public and Private stores, rebuilt and repaired Private store (mounts fine), Public store was removed and Exchange created a new one, was having WMI error issues regarding namespaces, renamed the WMI repository and it rebuilt, WMI errors went away.

Now I've still got some issues with Exchange.  Incoming messages will not deliver to recipients.  They are stored in the Mailroot\Vs1\Queue folder.  I've checked SMTP settings, I've cleared the queue folder (moved the message files elsewhere).  Restarted everything and still the messages won't budge.

I'm at my wits end with this.  Any help is appreciated.  I'm not getting any Application log error message now.  Everything looks fine, just it isn't.  I've even turned on SMTP logging and there are no logs being generated.

Ideas?  Thanks in advance.
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Question by:griffisblessing
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Expert Comment

by:Chris Millard
ID: 33480448
Do you have a backup of the stores that you can restore?
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Author Comment

by:griffisblessing
ID: 33480777
I have an Exchange System State backup done by NTBACKUP from a few days back.  Are you thinking that even though ESEUTIL was able to repair the PRIV1 DB that it's still causing trouble?

Would it be possible to dismount the existing Private Store, copy it off elsewhere, and let Exchange create a new one?  Then I could test to see if mailflow is correct.  This is what I've already done with the Public Store since there wasn't really any data in it and ESEUTIL could not repair it.

Thanks.
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by:aoakeley
ID: 33481440
Did you use eseutil /p to repair the store?
Do you have circular logging enabled or disabled?

If you used /p to repair the store there could be significant damage to the infostore. you may be able to put this right using eseutil /d and email might start flowing again

A restore from backup is always recommended, however if you have circular logging enabled you will lose anything received since the backup was taken (unless it is still in the queue or in peoples OST files in outlook)
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Author Comment

by:griffisblessing
ID: 33481817
Yes I did you /p, and /r and /d.  I had to put that edb file through the ringer.  It was always mounting ever since the power outage.  At first clients could not open Outlook, it gave them an error about accessing their messages.  Then as I investigated I started seeing the event log errors and whatnot.  I followed support article tips to get the errors cleared up.  I also had to mess with WMI as I mentioned in the original post.  Overall, a pretty big stinking mess.

The information in the user's mailboxes (there are only a few users) is newer than the system state backup I have.  Would it be advisable to just archive their current info to a PST, then create a new Private Store and import information back?  Would I have to make changes to the user accounts in AD once the new Private Store is up?

Thanks.
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Expert Comment

by:aoakeley
ID: 33481864
Depending on the number of users you have I would seriously consider the option of exporting to PST and re-importing. But before doing that I would just export the days since the last backup, and then restore the backup. That will save having to create new mailboxes etc etc. If all users have email cached in outlook they will not lose anything and you will be saved a lot of exporting and importing.

In short. I think restoring from backup is a better solution than exporting everything and re-importing it all.
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Author Comment

by:griffisblessing
ID: 33481980
Thanks.

So I'm a little freaked out.  I'm looking at the backup file that ran last Saturday.  This was with NTBACKUP.  It was set to backup the Exchange databases and log files, and the system state info.  The BKF file is over 3GB in size.  However, when I open it in NTBACKUP to restore it I don't see anything in the Exchange backup area.  There is only 633MB of data from the system state backup.  Is it normal to not see the Exchange databases and their size in the NTBACKUP restore wizard?  If I proceed will it restore any Exchange data.  Hmm.  Thanks.
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by:aoakeley
ID: 33482008
The most important thing to do right now is not freak out :) if we take this slowly we will get there in the end. Take a big breath :)

You will not see the exchange files in c:\program files\exchsrvr\mdbdata\ nor will you see a size against the mailbox store and public folder store

this article has some great screenshots which should make you feel more comfortable
http://www.backupassist.com/education/backupExchange.html#howto

It does miss one step though. After you have dismounted the stores to prepare for the backup, goto the properties of each store, database tab, and tick the box for "This database can be over written by a restore"

Before you do any restore please make a copy of the MDBDATA folder first.
Also please ley me know if curcular logging is on or off

more time preparing now will lead to less time with issues later.
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by:aoakeley
ID: 33482013
PS post screenshots if you are not sure if you are explaining yourself properly.
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Author Comment

by:griffisblessing
ID: 33482022
I'm still breathing.  ;^)  Thanks.

I'm in process of extracting current mailbox info to PST's.  Once that's through I will go forward with the restore.  From the looks of those screenshots I should be OK.

*I think every license of Exchange should come with a coupon for free whiskey.
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Author Comment

by:griffisblessing
ID: 33482098
I still have not ran the restore.  I did check and Circular Logging IS enabled.  Does this change anything?

Thanks.
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by:aoakeley
ID: 33482136
If circular logging was DISABLED then you would have all the log files since your last backup. Then once the older datbase was restored all the log files would be replayed into the database and you would have ZERO lost data. The log files would only ever be cleared when the database is backed up

With Circular logging ENABLED the log files are ourged once the data has been comitted to the database. This stops the disk filling up with space and crashing the OS. This is the default setting in SBS, but it does reduce your recovery options.

So once you have restored the database you will have to restore the missing emails (from your PST Export) since the date the restore was done and the current date.
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Author Comment

by:griffisblessing
ID: 33482151
Thanks for the info.  I ran in to a very interesting situation while extracting user data to PST files.  2 of the 3 mailboxes exported just fine.  The 3rd mailbox is about 2.5GB in size and I only got about 13MB to export to a PST.  I guess that kind of proves that the DB is all jacked up.  So, I'm going to make an executive decision and decide that that user can live without email sent between last weekend and when the server went down.  I've got to move on and get this server rolling again.

More to come ...
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Accepted Solution

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aoakeley earned 500 total points
ID: 33482188
Yep - db is i trouble

If the user has Cached Mode enabled then you may be able to extract email by unpluggnig network cable from computer and exporting with outlook disconnected......

Go the restore, and take more regular backups :)
1. Dismount databases and stop info store server and make copy of MDBDATA folder first - you never know if we will beed to come back to this. Then restart info store service.

2. follow instructions in article I posted. Dont forget the missing step
After you have dismounted the stores to prepare for the backup, goto the properties of each store, database tab, and tick the box for "This database can be over written by a restore"

3. If it does not mount after restore, don't stress it is probably a mismatch in the log files. We can easily remove the old log files to get it going.

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Author Comment

by:griffisblessing
ID: 33482260
Houston, we have mail flow.  Thank you SO MUCH for your help.  I've been banging my head against the wall on this one for the past 2 days.  I was trying to be the good admin and not lose any data in the process.  Turns out we may have lost a day or two, but that's OK.  The email is back up and things can move on.

FYI - I think I'll disable circular logging.  The database backs up every weekend using NTBACKUP so this should keep the transaction logs at a low enough level.

Thanks again.  Full points to you, aoakeley for your help.
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Author Closing Comment

by:griffisblessing
ID: 33482262
Stellar support. Thanks so much.
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Expert Comment

by:aoakeley
ID: 33482364
Glad to help.
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