Problem Starting the Exchange 2003 System Attendant

Posted by beakersoft | Posted in Exchange | Posted on 18-06-2007

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Had a very odd problem this morning with one of our mail servers, and the guy who normally fixes them is on holiday so it landed in my lap.

The server was rebooted yesterday due to ‘problems’ (no one could tell me what they were) , and when it came back up none of the exchange services would start, the first error in the system log was:

Error 7000
The Microsoft Exchange System Attendant service failed to start due to the following error: The service did not respond to the start or control request in a timely fashion.

So another very useful Microsoft error to help me. I tried the obvious things like rebooting the global catalogue server, checked the size of the mail store etc but nothing was jumping out at me. The server hadn’t had any patch’s installed over the last week so I could rule that out.

I found a couple of web sites that said it might be a permissions problem in the registry, but that made no difference. I tried turning on more advanced logging options though the Exchange system manager but that didn’t give me much extra info.

I then tried to start the system attendant not through the services, but by running the exe the serviced used, called mad.exe in the exchange\bin folder. Running this finally give me a clue as to what was wrong. I got an error saying it could not run due to address.dll being missing.

I found this file in a couple of places on the server, and tried re-registering it at first but to no avail. Then I copied it into the bin folder where the mad.exe was, and got no error! I then went back into services, and started all the exchange ones and they all came up fine, and users could get at there email again.

I have no idea why this happened, I dont see any reason for the file to be missing, and the fix was less than obvious

Exchange and Patches equals much confusion

Posted by beakersoft | Posted in Exchange | Posted on 21-03-2007

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We had installed some patches last month on our Exchange 2003 server that had some undesired effects, and also mislead me when trying to fix another problem.

The issue with the patches was all to do with shared mailbox access. We have a number of sales teams that all share one email account. The idea being that if a couple of members are on holiday on a call etc, then rest of the team can still pick up the emails.

The new patches (i’m not sure exactly witch one) tightened up some of the security settings, and meant that any users who used the shared mailbox and did not have there own individual mail account were unable to send mail. They kept getting errors like ‘Resource not found’, and ‘You don’t have permission to send on behalf of this user’

The way round it was to create mailbox’s for these people, but hide them in the global address list so they see no difference. Looks like Microsoft implemented this to crack down on people using Exchange without a valid CAL.(note to self, setup a mirror of all our system in order to test all patches!!)

At the same time this happened, we also started to get errors from a couple of our users when sending email out using SMTP in an application we wrote. There didn’t seam to be any pattern as to what was happening as some people saw no problems. The error was:
‘550 5.7.1 Cannot Relay for name@domain.com.

After much head scratching I finally realized that we had moved a couple of our terminal servers to our new subnet, and a quick check in Exchange system manager revealed that those subnets indeed weren’t allowed to relay through the mail server. How easily we think something is a bigger problem than it actually is!

On another note I have had a play around with Flickr, the photo sharing site. I have to say i’m very impressed with what it can do. You can check out my one and only photo (so far) here http://www.flickr.com/photos/beakersoft. The most impressive aspect of it is the Geotagging, that lets you give a co-ordinate to where the pics were taken, then view them in Google earth or other mapping systems.

All I need now is a digital camera with a GPS device and i’m set!