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Exchange fails to deliver to all Distribution Group members

Posted on 2010-08-24
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
We seem to be having an annoying issue with our Exchange server, whereby not all members of a particular Distribution group are actually receiving emails sent to the group. It seems to vary on each occasion as to who actually does and doesn’t receive the group emails, but out of 45 members no more than 15 ever seem to get them.

We’ve tried deleting and recreating the Distribution Group in question, which seems to have had no effect whatsoever.

I’ve also done a full defrag of the Exchange database, and while I wasn’t able to do a repair (as Exchange was in a ‘clean shutdown state’), I did run isinteg which found and successfully corrected a handful of errors.

Everything I seem to find in relation to people having these sorts of issues always comes back saying its Exchange database corruption, solve it with eseutil and isinteg. But if I’m getting clean isinteg results shouldn’t that mean my Exchange database is fine? Is it possible that it’s actually an Active Directory issue?
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Question by:No1_Reggie
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by:endital1097
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do you have message tracking enabled on the server? you could use message tracking to located the message and see what is happening.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/246856
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by:DanMar
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Which Exchange version are you using?
Try running Best Practice Analyser in case it uncovers some problems.  If you have 2003 Exchange then you will need to download this.  On 2007+ it is built in to the tools.
Event log errors showing anything?
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by:No1_Reggie
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Endital1097:
We didn’t have the tracking log enabled, but I activated it yesterday afternoon and then sent out an email to the distribution group. I’ve attached the log in .xlsx format, as while I understand all the information in it, in all honesty I don’t actually know what I should be looking for.

The log shows information for two emails as I decided to try a slightly different tact. The first was sent to the actual distribution group, the second however I expanded the distribution group within the To field, which lists out and then sends to each individual member. Interestingly the email still failed to reach all users even when they were specified individually; which to me says it is perhaps not a Distribution group issue so much as an Exchange wide one.

DanMar:
We’re running on Exchange 2003, specifically Version 6.5 Build 7638.2.
There is nothing in the event logs as far as I can see and I’m running the BPA now and will post any results once it finishes.

Thanks everyone for your thoughts so far.
wmlog.xlsx
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by:endital1097
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you have a maximum recipient limit issue
check the smtp virtual server settings in exhcnage system manager for your server
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by:endital1097
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screenshot
rec-limit.PNG
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by:endital1097
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you may also want to check the global settings - message delivery properties
defaults tab

defaults-tab.PNG
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by:No1_Reggie
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endital1097:

Thanks for your help so far. I’ve attached two screenshots of both the settings you mentioned from our Exchange server. From what I can see our current settings should be within acceptable limits?

It’s probably worth mentioning that this issue seems to have appeared out of the blue. This particular Distribution group has been used for years without issues and we haven’t been doing any major reconfiguring lately other than tweaking mailbox size limits for our users.

smtpvirtualserver.JPG
messagedelivery.JPG
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by:DanMar
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Have you checked that you have enough CALs?  This could be a limitation based on your licensing.
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by:endital1097
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you can also look at the properties of the sender's ad account
exchange general tab - delivery options
another recipient limit setting
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by:No1_Reggie
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DanMar:

I know we definitely have more than enough Exchange 2003 CALs, but I was under the impression CAL limits weren’t enforced in Exchange 2003? Is there an easy way for me to check what my Exchange server sees as its CAL limit?

endital1097:

I've just checked a handful of users who are the most prolific senders to distribution groups, and they all have their Recipient limits set to 'use default'.
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by:endital1097
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check for the following
Locate the following key in the registry:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\MSExchangeIS\ParametersSystem
Value Name: Max Recipients on Submit
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by:No1_Reggie
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endital1097:

I dont seem to be able to find that value within that particular tree string.

I've attached a screenshot of what I do get.

registry.PNG
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by:endital1097
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looking at your message tracking log it appears you received an ndr message for some of the users
can you post the ndr, it may help identify the issue
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by:endital1097
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do you have any antivirus/antispam software running against smtp on this server?

i would turn up diagnostic logging for the categorizer since this is where they stop processing.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\MSExchangeTransport\Diagnostics
double-click 2 Categorizer, set the value data to 7, and then click OK.

send another message to the DL and monitor the application log
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by:No1_Reggie
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endital1097:

Thanks for all your help so far.

Considering our continuing issues, we decided to bring forward a planned hardware migration for exchange just to see if hosting the database on a new server helps. Were currently in the final stages of the swing migration, once its complete were going to send an email out to the DL and see where we end up.

As an aside, I checked the original emails, none of them had received NDR results, it was either successes or no replys at all.

We also use Sophos PureMessage for Exchange Anti-Virus & Anti-Spam, which we will also be installing on the new server.
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by:endital1097
endital1097 earned 250 total points
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i would attempt to send the message before installing Sophos, just to ensure that it is not causing an issue

keep me posted
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No1_Reggie earned 0 total points
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Transitioning over to a new Exchange server seems to have resolved the issue.

We've tested the Distribution Group's which all seem to be working flawlessly. Even with everything else installed (Sophos PureMessage ect) we haven't come across any issues.

While it would have been nice to find out what exactly had caused our original issue, I'm willing to settle for just having everything working.

Thanks for all your help trying to troubleshoot the issue.
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by:No1_Reggie
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I'm trying to accept my last post and close the question, awarding entiral1097 250 points for the assistance he provided; but I seem to have come across a bug when assigning points: "Each point split must be at least 20 points"

I'd appreciate it if a Moderator could close the question and award the points for me.
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