SBS 2003 - Cannot connect to Exchange on LAN

Posted on 2010-08-21
Last Modified: 2012-05-10
This problem has just started occurring.
I have lost connection to Exchange. Outlook 2007 will not connect either in MAPI or POP3 modes.

This has happened a couple of times recently, and eventually, after a number of restarts the connection has come back for a few hours.

This morning, no connection again.

I have re-run the IECW - no joy.
I have checked the Appplication and System event logs and nothing relevant appears to be there.
I have restarted the server - no joy.
I have checked other access to the server - it pings ok, I can connect via Remote Desktop etc.
I've done an IISRESET.

I'm at a loss to explain this particularly as there are no apparently relevant event log entries.

Question by:ATOCONS
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LVL 74

Expert Comment

by:Glen Knight
ID: 33490804
POP3 and IMAP services are disabled by default with SBS2003.

Does outlook web access work?

What happens when you try to connect with outlook?

Expert Comment

ID: 33490829
First look at the exchange database and make sure is mounted. If sometimes dismounted and mounted by itself it could be the limit of size.

If you got exchange 2003 with service pack 2 then you need to increase the size limit from registry. So look at the exchange database directory which by default should be in c:\program files\exchsrvr\mdbdata\priv1.edb & priv1.stm those files size in total should be less than 16G if it is close to it first make sure you got exchange sp2 and then follow the below link:

Hope helps.
LVL 74

Expert Comment

by:Glen Knight
ID: 33490833
If it were the size limit then a restart would demoing the store if it had SP2 applied.

If it didn't have SP2 applied it wouldn't work at all and wouldn't be random like it is.

This would also be reported in the event log.
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Author Comment

ID: 33490874
Some further info:

1. Apparently my wife can connect with POP3 so it looks like tat IS working this time (a couple of days ago when this happened, she cpouldn't)

2. OWA works if I use the LAN server name, but not if I use the domain name. (Now that's interesting because I'm certain I used to hae a DNS entry that resolved the domain name to the local server name. Maybe that's gone and the domain name goes to the WAN interface of the router...). It turns out the same happens with the default website - using the local server name works, using the domain name only gets a small bit of data and partial web page, then stops.

3. Exchange database is only 2GB

Author Comment

ID: 33490883
I looked up the DNS - there are no DNS errors in the log, and my forward lookup zone contains an entry for my domain name that has pointers to the local (private) IP address
LVL 74

Expert Comment

by:Glen Knight
ID: 33490886
Check the DNS configuration.

The SBS server should be set tonnes it's own IP address in the DNS section of TCP/IP settings.  If you have problems resolving Internet addresses after doing this then in the DNS management console under the properties of the server chose the forwarders tab and enter your ISP DNs servers here.

Then make sure the client machines are also configured to use the IP address of the SBS server for DNS also, this may keen changing the DHCP configuration.

Author Comment

ID: 33490905
The adapter IP has always been (and still is) set to point to itself as DNS.
All clients have tthis as primary, but my ISPs name servers as secondary (which keeps internet access in case of the sever failing)

None of that has changed and this configuration has been working for a couple of years or more

Author Comment

ID: 33490916
BTW, Outlook is in Cached mode and says "Trying to connect to Microsoft Exchange"
If I switch to non-cached mode and restart Outlook, it just says the Exchange server is unavailable and do I want to work offline.
LVL 74

Accepted Solution

Glen Knight earned 500 total points
ID: 33490918
The secondary should not be your ISO and this is more than likely what Is causing the problem.

When the clients are unable to lookup the SBS server it will revert to the secondary, it won't go back to the primary unless the DNS cache is manually flushed or the secondary becomes unavailable.

It's bad practice to have it configured this way and is more than likely causing your problem.  Especially as it's intermittent.

Author Comment

ID: 33490924
Interesting. It's worked for years, but I'll remove the secondaries and repair the connection to flush the DNS, then report back.

Author Comment

ID: 33490933
Actually, I discovered an external nameserver had somehow become primary.
I removed it and BINGO!
All connected.

You are a genius!
many thanks for tha fast and clear responses, and thanks to all the others who contributed.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 33490934
Simple, clear and fast.

Author Comment

ID: 33492469
I guess this has highlighted a different problem. If the domain was resolving to the public IP address, I should have got the public web default page when I tried the domain name in the browser, but I git nothing. So it would seem my router is not following its port forwarding rules, or the server is not returning the page.

So the web is somehow not working here, be it router or server.
More investigation to do...

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