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Distribution list wierdness on SBS2003, exchange, POP3 connector

Posted on 2012-09-17
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Last Modified: 2013-01-27
I've been tracking this problem for a client, and I need guidance on where to look to narrow it down. The problem reported is that emails sent to one company email address are not delivered to everyone on the distribution list. Is it quite random. Sometimes it will, and others not without apparent pattern.

They are running Small Business Server 2003. They use POP3 Connector to download email from two-dozen accounts across different domains and accounts.

For the purpose of this question the trouble address is mail@company.com. This account is set up in the POP3 Connector to download from a web-host where the mailbox is hosted.

In Server Management > Distribution Groups, there is nothing listed.

In Server Management > Security Groups, there is a listing that is a Global Security Group that has mail@company.com as its email address. There are six other users (company employees) who are Members of this group.

Is this set up right? What could be causing the failed delivery and where do I go to look for a log or track how this is failing.

An idea I had was to change the account password at the web host to rule out some other PC being set to download email before the POP3 Connector gets it.
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Question by:Elixir2
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Author Comment

by:Elixir2
ID: 38408104
Also open to side suggestions for upgrading this aging system into something new. Heard the news that SBS is discontinued?
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Expert Comment

by:Nicolus
ID: 38408128
Commenting on the SBS discountinued matter, I've purchased 6 copies of sbs 2011 as I think the SBS platform is an amazing product.  And I think upgrading to this platform for a company that is already benefiting from SBS 2003 will only benefit more from the upgrade.

Truthfully, you'll have 20 solution provider offering 20 different solutions to the design of a company's network layout... But I think the SBS is truly godsent for companies of 75 or less.


Regarding your Distro list problem have you tried deleting the list and recreating it using the wizard?
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by:Elixir2
ID: 38408255
How to access that wizard, plz?
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by:Nicolus
Nicolus earned 800 total points
ID: 38408350
The golden rule of SBS...  Use the applicable wizard for whatever you're doing.  Wizards will perform a variety of tasks behind the scenes after a short interview...

Your all encompasing dashboard is the Server Management tool which you already are familiar with.  It is also the first thing that pops up when the server is rebooted.

So, if you can afford it, I'd first do a reboot of the server to start on a fresh foot.  Then using Server Management look on the left window pane for Distribution Groups.  In your case the group was improperly created in the Security Group...  So delete it from that area, then go to the Distribution Group and use the link to recreate the group.  Using the link envokes the wizard for that process.

Please also be sure to apply all the updates, including those for Exchange 2003 listed below

SP2
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=9664

Process Flow Doc
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=3699

Best Practice Analyzer
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=22485

Please also read this so you are aware of it
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/912375

I'll monitor this thread.
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Accepted Solution

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Larry Struckmeyer MVP earned 800 total points
ID: 38408915
The MS supplied pop3 connector is simply not meant to be used long term.  It was intended as a bridge/stopgap while the MX recoreds and the router/firewall port forwards were put in place to use SMTP mail.  I agree with upgrade to SBS 2011, and suggest you either use SMTP mail, or if that is not possible, investigate a third party POP3 connector that is more robust.

Having said that, the MS supplied POP3 connector supplied with SBS 2011 is better than the one you have now.  Still not intended for long term use, but we see fewer issues with it than the SBS 2003 version.  Of course, as the cost has come down and availability is greater  of broadband, this may just mean fewer are using POP3.
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Expert Comment

by:Nicolus
ID: 38410623
I agree with the above and also want to say, as exchange can host multiple domains, you (depending on your situation) can bring all those email domains home by self-hosting.

Let us know what happens after the reboot and the delete & recreate
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Author Comment

by:Elixir2
ID: 38411251
Thank you Nicolus and fl_flyfishing. I will get back to you after I do the deed.
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Author Comment

by:Elixir2
ID: 38822971
The problem here was the client had staff go ahead and set up POP3 accounts on various Outlooks. The Outlooks were clashing with the POP3 connector, which never leaves email on the server. Hence some people got emails and others didn't.

I educated them on the proper use of POP3 vs. Exchange and why not the connector. As it turns out they are more comfortable using POP3 leaving email on the server for 10 days, rather than using Exchange the right way.

For this small business, I couldn't sell them on Exchange. So it kind of sits in the background doing nothing more than sharing a calendar...
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Expert Comment

by:Nicolus
ID: 38825351
If I may add a value-proposition to your sales pitch.

Two of the greatest "WOW" factors with Exchange are one, the ability to receive faxes (via a fax modem and a wonderful product like GFI-Faxmaker) they can receive faxes on the server, it gets published to a Fax folder in Outlook's public folders where it can be viewed on their phones, etc; and two, the trust relationship that is established between their phone and exchange such that if they ever lose their phone they can log into their Webmail and wipe the phone clean.

This is powerful.  If your value prop is just proposing email software A vs email software B you're gonna losing.
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