Category Archives: Exchange Server 2003

Microsoft® Exchange Server 2003 builds on the Microsoft Exchange2000 Server code base, providing many new features and improvements in areas such as reliability, manageability, and security.

Archiving and Reducing Exchange Mailboxes and Stores (Part 2)

You have analyzed your current exchange store and deciding to buy a 3rd party solution so your users can maintain the large amount of emails they are accustomed to and retain all emails for legal/business purposes, and here are the options.

  1. Buy the Barracuda Message Archiver ( website link: http://www.barracudanetworks.com/ns/products/archiver-overview.php) which is a really simple installation and maintenance. I have used this before, and it gets the job done. I did have issues with restoring emails after being exported, but after some conversion and importing to pst files it worked. This isn’t my first pick, but is widely popular for message archiving.
  2. Buy GFI Mail Archiver (http://www.gfi.com/mailarchiver/) which is probably the most popular software mail archiving programs out there. Installation is a bit complex, but not extremely difficult. When purchasing buy at least 1 year of maintenance because you will be on the phone with them for the first month or two after implementation. This has various platforms to run on (SQL only, SQL + File System, and 2 others using SQL Express that you SHOULD NOT use). I wish they would simplify the installation with only one option, because it’s the best in almost any situation. SQL + File System gives the best reliability and scalability.

Using any of the above solutions will work wonders for retaining and keeping a lean exchange store. You will use Exchange’s built-in retention policies to keep all mailboxes at reasonable levels and never again will you have users screaming of slow outlook that is bloated beyond belief. I will mention that doing any of these solutions is a considerable time commitment when you factor importing old emails to these systems. In the end, it will give you peace of mind that you will always have copies of ANY email that your company receives, no matter what the user does with it. All these systems use journaling to essentially copy the message to these systems before the user touches it.

Disable RSS Feed in Outlook 2007 using GPO (Group Policy Object)

First install the 2007 Office system Administrative Template files (ADM, ADMX, ADML) and Office Customization Tool version 2.0 if you haven’t already done so.

In Group Policy Editor navigate to User Configuration -> Polices -> Administrative Templates -> Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 -> Tools | Account Settings -> RSS Feeds

-Default RSS Feeds -> Set to Disabled
-Synchronize Outlook RSS Feeds with Common Feed List -> Set to Disabled
-Turn off RSS Feature -> Enabled

After all these are set you can reboot the workstations or force a GPO update by using gpupdate /force

By disabling RSS feeds you are cleaning up space on your Exchange store and speeding up your users outlook. I recommend doing this in any business.

Finding Exchange Server Version (Service Pack)

There is a couple different methods to finding the version of your exchange server.

File System %Program Files%MicrosoftExchange Serverbin folder (different for 2003) and right click store.exe -> Detail Tab -> Version
——-OR——–
Exchange Management Console Go to Server Configuration -> Hub Transport -> Look at Version column (Exchange 2007)
——-OR——–
Exchange Management Shell type get-exchangeserver

Write down the Version number and find it on this list. It will provide you with the proper service pack and date of exchange server.

Microsoft Exchange 2000 Server……………..6.0.4417
October 2000
Microsoft Exchange 2000 Server (a)…………6.0.4417
January 2001
Microsoft Exchange 2000 Server SP1………..6.0.4712
July 2001
Microsoft Exchange 2000 Server SP2………..6.0.5762
December 2001
Microsoft Exchange 2000 Server SP3………..6.0.6249
August 2002
Microsoft Exchange 2000 Server post-SP3….6.0.6487
September 2003
Microsoft Exchange 2000 Server post-SP3….6.0.6556
April 2004
Microsoft Exchange 2000 Server post-SP3….6.0.6603
August 2004
Microsoft Exchange 2000 Server post-SP3….6.0.6620.5
March 2008
Microsoft Exchange 2000 Server post-SP3….6.0.6620.7
August 2008
Microsoft Exchange Server 2003…………….6.5.6944
October 2003
Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 SP1……….6.5.7226
May 2004
Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 SP2……….6.5.7638
October 2005
Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 post-SP2…6.5.7653.33
March 2008
Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 post-SP2…6.5.7654.4
August 2008
Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 ……………8.0.685.24 or 8.0.685.25
December 2006
Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 SP1……….8.1.0240.006
November 2007
Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 SP2……….8.2.0176.002
August 2009
Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 SP3……….8.3.0083.006
June 2010
Microsoft Exchange Server 2010…………….14.00.0639.021
October 2009
Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 SP1……….14.01.0218.015
August 2010

Windows Server Backup (BackupExec, NTbackup, Acronis True Image, etc…)

I will walk through the various backup solutions out there for businesses. Most of the big names in the backup world are very good at backups, however they must be used properly. If using Windows Server 2003, I’d recommend Acronis True Image for any file systems and NTbackup for the exchange backup or other servers. If using Windows Server 2008, I’d recommend Acronis True Image for any servers, and Acronis® Recovery™ for Microsoft Exchange.

In the times I’ve had to reference backups, tape drives are generally neglected and fail when the tapes aren’t properly cycled out. Many business keep using tapes past a year old and end up not having an up-to-date backup or any old backups. Also, I’ve seen tapes wear out over long periods of time in storage. I’d highly recommend a SAN or NAS Solution for Local backups. If its in your budget and you have the bandwidth, cloud is obviously the best solution.

You MUST purchase a Exchange Ready backup solution for Microsoft Exchange 2007 SP1 or earlier

Failure to do so will result in an excess of log files that will fill all free space on your server and crash it.

    Acronis True Image

    1. Block by block image backup
    2. Easily browse old backups to grab a couple files, or restore then entire server to that state
    3. Do not use for Exchange Backup! (It will backup the database, but it will not clear and condense the log files generated by exchange. If left for a long period of time your logs will fill up all free space on your server and crash it.)
    4. Personal Favorite for any File Server

    Symantec BackupExec

    1. Wonderful Tape backup solution (Supports various backup rotations)
    2. Does a proper Exchange backup with add-in purchase
    3. Personally, I’ve always thought the interface is bulky and difficult to use. Also, with all the add-ins you need to purchase this is one of the most expensive solutions on the market.
    4. Not Recommended unless you are using tapes.

    NTBackup

    1. Built into Windows Server 2003
    2. Great for Exchange 2003 or earlier
    3. Restoration process is time consuming and not recommended for File Servers

    Windows Server Backup

    1. Built into Windows Server 2008
    2. Backup system automatically adjusts and is space efficient when saving to external drives, SAN, and NAS solutions
    3. Does NOT support tape devices
    4. Restoration process is time consuming and not recommend for File Servers
    5. Has NO Exchange Support unless you upgrade past SP2 on the OS and SP2 on Exchange Server 2007.

Email Redundancy in Exchange (Cloud, Relay, and Multiple MX Records)

Many small and medium businesses do not have any email redundancy, and in today’s IT environment that is unacceptable. There is 3 widely used methods for never missing or having downtime for email. Depending on the size of your business there are some that make more sense than others.

Business Solutions

  • Cloud Email – You can host your email off-site.
      Recommended Vendors. Rackspace.com or Intermedia.net
      Pros: Disaster prevention, Archiving, Spam filtering, and Automated Backups.
      Cons: Expensive (Around $15 to $25 per mailbox with all features listed above), and you can have latency issues on a bad internet connection.
  • Email Relay – Email is delivered and filter by 3rd party.
      Recommended Vendors. MXLogic.com
      Pros: Spam Filtering, Archiving, and Spooling (Should your SMTP server go offline, it saves incoming messages and delivers them to you once it comes back online.)
      Cons: Cost ($5 to $10 per mailbox). Backups and Hosting are maintained On-Site. You will have an outage period where you can’t access email if your SMTP Server’s Internet goes out.
  • Multiple MX Records – Email is delivered to your server(s) via multiple internet connections.
      Pros: No Downtime and easy to setup
      Cons: Everything In-House (Depending on your in-house IT staff this could be a pro) and Extra Internet Line Cost (Business DSL $50 per month, but it is nice having redundant internet as well).

Here are my recommendations:
Business Size (<5) Cloud Computing Business Size (<20) Email Relaying *Note: This is for a business with an existing SMTP server. If your business is new or about to migrate to new systems, I'd suggest Cloud. Business Size (20+) Multiple MX Records Setting up Multiple MX Records

  • Document your 2 Internet Addresses
  • Setup the MX records for your IP Address with your Registrar.
    1. I use www.1and1.com and here is an example for them.

    [singlepic id=716 w=113 h=55 float=center]

  • Setup your firewall to forward both WANs Port 25 (SMTP Port) to your private IP (SMTP Server IP)
    1. Note: You need a business grade router that has multiple WAN ports and supports Port Forwarding of port 25 on multiple WAN Ports. I’ve personally setup Draytec’s Vigor 3300 and many Sonicwall appliances that also have this capability.

Exchange Management Shell (EMS)

Exchange Management Shell is the core of Microsoft Exchange. The GUI was an after thought, especially in Exchange 2007. Here are some useful commands that I use often.

Export Company to PSTs

Get-Mailbox -OrganizationalUnit SBSUsers | Export-Mailbox -PSTFolderPath C:pathtosave -BadItemLimit 10000 -ExcludeFolders “Junk E-Mail”,”Deleted Items” -StartDate “01/01/2009 00:01:00”

This is useful for moving an entire exchange store into PST format. This can be used for Exchange to External mail system migrations, or just to have a backup to access mailboxes at that point in time.

Clear Calendar by Exporting to PSTs

export-Mailbox -Identity domainuser -BadItemLimit 100 -DeleteContent -IncludeFolders “Calendar” -PSTFolderPath C:Usersctituspsts

I’ve used this on firms that store calendar entries in another program and sync to outlook. Sometimes these syncs can duplicate entries causing a huge mess in outlook. This will clear the entire outlook calender into a PST file and give you a clean slate to work off of.

Export Single Mailbox

Export-Mailbox -Identity domainuser -PSTFolderPath C:pathtosavepsts -BadItemLimit 100 -ExcludeFolders “Junk E-Mail”,”Deleted Items”

Typically, this is the most used command in EMS. This exports one mailbox to PST. Great for when someone leaves your company and you are ready to delete their account. I always back their mailbox up to PST and then purge the user.

Generate Mailbox Size Report to Text File

Get-MailboxStatistics | Sort-Object TotalItemSize -Descending | ft DisplayName,@{label=”TotalItemSize(MB)”;expression={$_.TotalItemSize.Value.ToMB()}},ItemCount >c:mailboxsize.txt

Here is a clean way to examine your mailbox sizes. It exports Display Name, Mailbox Size in MB, and Item Count and sorts them by descending mailbox size to the text file. Very useful when dealing with Exchange 2007.

There are many other great EMS scripts and commands, but these are the ones I use on a regular basis. If you have one that you’d like to contribute, please leave it a comment.

ESEUTIL Proper usage, and when to use it.

ESEUTIL is a utility to repair, check, and defrag Microsoft exchange stores. Before using ESEUTIL you must unmount your exchange store and be prepared to have downtime.

ESEUTIL /d “C:ExchangeStorePathstore.edb” (Defrag)
Note: I’d rarely recommend using this defrag option, but in certain instances when exchange stores are merged or drastically changed it can be beneficial. This is an OFFLINE defrag and should not be used for frequent maintenance. I’ve seen people make big mistakes by pulling a perfectly good exchange store offline to try and squeeze an extra 10 GB out of it. DO NOT DO THIS! Move the store to another drive or alternative storage.

ESEUTIL /g “C:ExchangeStorePathstore.edb” (Integrity Check)
Run this when you are experiencing problems with corruption in an exchange store. A good example is corrupt messages, having issues exporting mailboxes to PSTs, and general corruption issues. I’ve personally used it for determining if an exchange store was unmounted and shutdown properly before being copied. This is important, because if the store returns a DIRTY SHUTDOWN code, you will not be able to mount it until doing a repair.

ESEUTIL /p “C:ExchangeStorePathstore.edb” /s “C:ExchangeStorePathstreamingfile.stm”(Repair)
Repairs the database to a clean shutdown state. If you don’t have a streaming file, you can create one by using the following syntax: ESEUTIL /p /createstm “C:ExchangeStorePathstore.edb”