E-mail gets stuck in the queue with exchange 2003

Posted on 2010-11-29
Last Modified: 2012-05-10
About 25 percent of email gets stuck in the SMTP queue with exchange 2003.  It has been fine for years and just started.  When you look at the queue there is a message the an SMTP protocol error occurred.  After many hours the message gets sent back to the user saying that it was undeliverable and took too long to deliver.
Question by:captjcret
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LVL 76

Expert Comment

by:Alan Hardisty
ID: 34231686
This is usually down to incorrect configuration at your end or being blacklisted.

Please check your IP address on

Also - your FQDN configured on your server on the SMTP Virtual Server has to resolve in External DNS back to the IP Address you are sending from and you also need to make sure Reverse DNS is configured on your Fixed IP Address with an FQDN that also resolves back to the same IP Address.
LVL 28

Expert Comment

ID: 34231924
What error code is that CaptJCRET
is it 5.5.7 / 5.5.1 ?

Please elucidate.

I'd go with Alan's suggestion first and eliminate those options.

Author Comment

ID: 34232055
From: System Administrator

Sent: Sunday, November 21, 2010 8:34 AM

To: Tina Schoneman

Subject: Undeliverable:Job Openings

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

Subject: Job Openings

Sent: 11/19/2010 8:25 AM

The following recipient(s) could not be reached: on 11/21/2010 8:34 AM

Could not deliver the message in the time limit specified. Please retry or contact your administrator.

<SERVER.domain.local #4.4.7>

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Author Comment

ID: 34232067
They are not blacklisted
LVL 76

Assisted Solution

by:Alan Hardisty
Alan Hardisty earned 500 total points
ID: 34232083
If your FQDN is SERVER.domain.local - then it is not configured correctly.  You need to be able to resolve the FQDN in DNS and .local domain names are internal only domains and CANNOT be resolved.

Please change your FQDN to something like or whatever your domain name ends with.

It can be change on the SMTP Virtual Server (Properties)> Delivery Tab> Advanced Button.

Expert Comment

ID: 34232360
It sounds to me that your ISP may have made a configuration change on their side.  I've seen this happen with Centurylink and Brighthouse quite a bit.

What happens is the RDNS is failing from what were previously accepted domains and the mail will sit in the queue until the retry timeout expires.

A call to your ISP might confirm this.  Sometimes it's as easy as a (R)DNS record change (sometimes you have to create a smart host on your ISP's network).

Hope this helps.


Author Comment

ID: 34233480
I changed to full qualified domain name from what it was to where I used thier domain name instead. When I clicked on check DNS it tells me it is not a valid domain
LVL 76

Assisted Solution

by:Alan Hardisty
Alan Hardisty earned 500 total points
ID: 34233909
Do you have a record in DNS for your domain called - bear in mind that I am only using as an example - if your domain is then it should read

Whatever you use - has to resolve in DNS externally otherwise DNS lookup will fail.

If your domain ends .com - you don't have any A records setup - so will fail until you setup a new A record.  You don't have to use mail - you can use remote / bananas / poodles / Spock - the name is up to you - but you need to make sure you have a corresponding A record.
LVL 28

Expert Comment

ID: 34234285
Numeric Code: 4.4.7

Possible Cause: The message in the queue has expired. The sending server tried to relay or deliver the message, but the action was not completed before the message expiration time occurred. This NDR may also indicate that a message header limit has been reached on a remote server or that some other protocol timeout occurred during communication with the remote server.

Troubleshooting: This code typically indicates an issue on the receiving server. Verify the validity of the recipient address, and verify that the receiving server is configured to receive messages correctly. You may have to reduce the number of recipients in the header of the message for the host that you are receiving this NDR from. If you resend the message, it is placed in the queue again. If the receiving server is on line, the message is delivered.

a) go to
enter the domain name of the *receiving server*
note down the first MX record listed.

lets say it is

start > run > cmd
telnet 25

See if you can get a SMTP 220 header.
If not - call the company and check if they are having any email issues.


Author Comment

ID: 34242729
I am getting the SMTP  220 header.  I am noticing that the sites I am having problems with all have something to do with roadrunner.
LVL 76

Expert Comment

by:Alan Hardisty
ID: 34257039
Any feedback to my last comment?

Accepted Solution

captjcret earned 0 total points
ID: 34258697
When I changed the DNS I was unable to send to anybody.  Changed it back to what it was and suddenly the whole thing is working fine!????? Nothing is sticking in the queue anymore.  I don't get it.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 34289837
Thanks for all your suggestions

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