Thursday, August 26, 2004

New Domain Rename (Rendom.exe) tools released

Windows group released an updated set of Domain Rename tools last week -- download here: You'll still need to understand and follow the steps for the XDR-FIXUP utility.

Note the required Exchange version information from the website:
Important: The domain rename operation and the use of the domain rename tools is not supported in an Active Directory forest that has any version of Microsoft Exchange Server prior to Exchange Server 2003 SP1 deployed in it. 


Tuesday, August 24, 2004

What's the real difference between Standard and Enterprise Editions of Exchange Server 2003 ?

MS has posted a new KB 822440 that describes the difference between Standard edition and Enterprise edition of Exchange Server 2003. This is a nice short list and helps us remember that Front End servers do not need to be Enterprise Edition...

Common FeaturesBoth editions of Exchange 2003 feature:
  • Network compression
  • Exchange 2003 Management Pack
  • Integrated support for mobile devices
  • Volume Shadow Copy service
  • Ability to be configured as a front-end server for Microsoft Outlook Web Access, Microsoft Outlook Mobile Access, Microsoft ActiveSync, Post Office Protocol 3 (POP3), Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP), and Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP)
  • Recovery Storage Group
Exchange Server 2003 Standard Edition

Exchange 2003 Standard Edition is designed to meet the messaging and collaboration requirements of small and medium corporations and for specific messaging server roles or branch offices.

  • 4 storage groups
  • 1 private database
  • 5 databases per storage group
  • 16 gigabyte (GB) database limit
  • Exchange clustering is not supported
  • X.400 connector is not included
Exchange Server 2003 Enterprise Edition

Exchange 2003 Enterprise Edition is designed for large enterprise corporations. With Exchange 2003 Enterprise Edition, you can create multiple storage groups and multiple databases. Exchange 2003 Enterprise Edition provides an unlimited message store that removes the constraints on how much data a single server can manage.
  • 4 storage groups
  • 5 databases per storage group
  • 16 terabyte database limit, limited only by hardware
  • Exchange clustering is supported
  • X.400 connector is included

Troubleshooting message journaling in Exchange Server 2003 and in Exchange 2000 Server

Microsoft has released a good KB article on what message journaling is, how it works, and how to use it.


Message journaling terminology

Bifurcation In the bifurcation process, the categorizer generates a copy of an original message to the journal recipient or to the object that is specified in Exchange System Manager to receive copies of the archived message.

XEXCH50 The XEXCH50 extension is an Extension to SMTP (ESMTP) extension that is used for relay of certain properties, such as envelope properties, message properties, and recipient properties. The PR_CONTENT_IDENTIFIER identifier in an XEXCH50 binary large object (BLOB) is set to the ExJournalData string. The ExJournalData string enables journal messages to be recognized as they move from server to server on the delivery path to the journal recipient. If the XEXCH50 binary large object is not propagated between Exchange Server computers, duplicate messages may result.

Journal Recipient The journal recipient is the mailbox or the recipient that all journaled messages are destined for. The journal recipient is the distinguished name (DN) in the msExchMessageJournalRecipient attribute of the journaled stores.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

New Hotfix for Store Crashes - Exchange 2003 Post SP1

According to an article released today, after you install Exchange 2003 SP1 you may experience a crash in your Information Store because of malformed email messages.  Should this prevent you from installing SP1?  No.  But you will want to install this fix (after testing this in your test environment) to prevent crashes.  The official Microsoft response is in the article: "Only apply it to systems that are experiencing this specific problem."  But, in an effort to be "Honest and Respectful", no one wants to experience a crash (especially the Information Store), right?  Let me say one more time that you should thoroughly test this hotfix before installing this in your production environment.

This hotfix is not available for download without calling Product Support Services (PSS) for the hotfix and does require a restart of the Information Store.

872963 Information Store crashes periodically after you install Exchange Server 2003 SP1

XBox OWA 2003 Theme

Here is an interesting article on how to create new 2003 OWA themes.  This one is an XBOX theme, but the concept could be used to create a company specific theme. As always, discretion is recommended as the next Service Pack will probably overwrite the changes.

The XBox OWA theme has been made public according to Nino Bilic of Microsoft PSS in the Exchange Team Blog.

You can download the theme for Exchange 2003 Outlook Web Access from here.

Thanks, Nino!

Issues with using Outlook Web Access on a Windows XP SP2-based computer

Here is a good KB on the experience I had using 2003 OWA with SP2. 

Plan B if you are upgrading XP in large numbers is to create this regvalue:

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\New Windows\Allow]

The homeMDB attribute is reset after you move mailboxes from Exchange Server 5.5 to Exchange 2000 or to Exchange 2003

I have seen this behavior during large migrations and already set the ADC Connection Agreement to never, but this KB;en-us;299473 has a good explaination.

MS KB Article describing ways to optimize Outlook 2003 Cache Mode

This is an interesting article from Microsoft that discusses good/bad practices when using cache mode and ways to optimize cahe mode.;en-us;870926


Wednesday, August 18, 2004

RSS Feeds for Exchange Administration

RSS syndication can be applied almost anywhere especially where there are incremental changes to data content.
This is not lost on Glen Scales who, as posted on his Exchange Dev Blog, has been working on a script to generate the necessary XML based on updates to the message tracking log. If message tracking is enabled, Exchange will append to a daily log, message information incrementally. There are several applications that can analyze the message tracking logs and produce reports on the content. But Glen's Exchange Message Tracking Logs RSS Feed Script is a good start toward publishing message tracking log information for people, probably management, to subscribe to down to the user level. Perhaps we will soon see management or administrators getting that information as the tracking log is updated throughout the day.
Glen has been busy applying RSS feeds concepts to Exchange administration, including the basics of an RSS Calendar Feed Event Sink and Public Folder RSS Feed Event Sink. Search his blog for more RSS ideas.
Thanks, Glen!

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

OWA 2003 FBA and the Default Domain


Exchange MVP Henrik Walther has released a new article called Outlook Web Access 2003 Forms-based Authentication and the default domain dilemma.

Okay so you have enabled Forms-based Authentication (FBA) and your users can now logon to Outlook Web Access (OWA) 2003 either by typing domain\username or But ever since you enabled FBA your users have found it annoying they can’t type username anymore.  This is an interesting solution to the problem by modifying the ISS settings a bit and by altering the logon.asp page. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

What do “Latency” and “RPC Calls Succeeded” mean in the ESM?


Q:  What do the “Latency” and “RPC Calls Succeeded” mean in the Exchange 2003 ESM?  To see this choose a mailbox store -> Logons -> View -> Add/Remove Columns.


A:  These calls are derived from the Client-side data reported by Outlook 2003 if enabled (see Gerod Serafin's previous post for more information on this).  Exchange aggregates this information per LOGON and the Outlook client will aggregate this per connection.  So, if you disconnected from the network, Outlook would include all information from multiple networks, but Exchange would only contain the average of this LOGON.  The ESM measures this latency on Milliseconds and includes the network latency as well as any server processing latency.  With a good LAN and a healthy server this should average less than 100 msecs.  This can be much larger when a client is connecting over large network distances.


“RPC Calls Succeeded” is just the raw count of of RPC calls that LOGON has recorded.

Current Recommendations for Memory Optimization in Exchange 2003


Q:  What are the current recommendations for memory optimizations in Exchange 2003?

A:  The article 815372 “How to Optimize Memory Usage in Exchange Server 2003” mentions the current recommendations.  There you will find information about the /3GB switch as well as the /USERVA switch.   What you may not have been aware about is the recommended change in the registry having to do with the HeapDeCommitFreeBlockThreshold.  The recommended value to use for HeapDeCommitFreeBlockThreshold is 0x00040000 (in hexadecimal format). For additional information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base: 315407 “XADM: The 'HeapDecommitFreeBlockThreshold' Registry Key“.

You may have noticed that the Registry key name is mentioned as either HeapDeCommitFreeBlockThreshold or HeapDecommitFreeBlockThreshold (case difference) in some articles.  While some Registry key values are case sensitive, Registry key names are not, so either should work for you.


UPDATE:  Changed a broken link to 315407.

/3GB switch confusion


Raymond has posted several posts about the /3GB switch and about how it affects the Kernel. This is a frequent topic of discussion for highly scaled Exchange 2003 servers due to the recommendation that most servers with >=1gb RAM have this switch applied (see KB.823440 or KB.810371 or KB.328882 or KB.266096 or... well, that's enough for now; there are a bunch of KBs on the Exchange memory management topic.)

Since Exchange is such a memory intensive app we talk about this a bunch.  I think it's critical to understand the virtualized nature of the way memory is used on modern operating systems, and Raymond hits it on the head here.

Short version: You can run the /3GB switch on a machine with 128mb. You can run a machine with 4gb and not run the /3GB switch. There's absolutely no connection. The /3GB switch controls the allocation of the virtualized memory space provided to each process (which is generally 2gb per process, regardless of how much physical memory is present). All you're doing when you specify /3GB is changing this 2gb virtual space to be 3gb. Will you ever use the full 3gb on a machine with 128mb? Let's hope not! Your pagefile would be going crazy if you did!

Monday, August 02, 2004

Exchange 2003 "Technical Reference" document released


Here's the description from the webpage:

This technical reference guide presents a system architect's view of Exchange Server 2003. It includes a general overview of Exchange Server 2003 messaging system design, together with more specific details, such as services dependencies, Active Directory® directory service integration, Exchange System Manager architecture, routing architecture, SMTP transport architecture, X.400 architecture, Exchange store architecture, and cluster architecture. This information will help you design, maintain, and troubleshoot an Exchange organization and also develop custom solutions for administrators.

This detailed reference guide is not for beginning administrators and does not show you how to implement or maintain Exchange Server 2003. Instead, this guide is for Microsoft Certified System Engineers (MSCEs) and Exchange Server experts who want to take their knowledge about Exchange Server 2003 to the next level.

400+ pages of Exchange technical goodness packaged into a nicely formatted DOC. You want to read this document and you're sure to learn some stuff, no matter what your Exchange expertise!

Download Link: