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Friday, September 7, 2012

Resolve SBS 2008/2011 Pop connector issues, Emails Rejected Due to Protocol Errors

Have been facing this annoying issue while working with one of the SBS servers. pop connector keeps throwing up errors on the event log and emails will be not downloaded on to any affected accounts


 “One or more (X number of ) e-mail messages in the POP3 mailbox account ‘[email protected]’ on the POP3 server ‘ or IP’ have invalid header fields. Because of this, the messages cannot be delivered to the Exchange Server mailbox ‘[email protected]’ in Windows Small Business Server. The messages are still on the POP3 server. To resolve this issue, connect to the POP3 mailbox account, and then manually retrieve or delete the messages"

Why this is happening

Affected mail boxes have NDR's or any spam / auto generated emails with invalid mail headers

Reason for rejecting the emails -

According to RFC rules, a valid address should always have a "@" in it.
<[email protected]>.

However, sometimes non-compliant mailers use addresses like <MAILER-DEAMON>.
In this case <System Administrator>

When downloading emails via POP connector, Exchange tries to verify the "return path" for the mails by reading the email headers. If the return address is malformed it rejects the email and the Exchange will end the session with a transient error (4xx). The pop3connector recognizes that the error is transient and retry again at the next scheduled download period
Since exchange didn’t accept the message the POP connector doesn’t delete the emails from the SM pop account.


Quick Fix:

Until you do the change to get the mail flow working again. you can simply

  • login to the POP account 
  • Remove or move the NDR's or any other auto generated mails
  • Sync the POP connector

Permanent (long term) Work arounds:

There are two work arounds for this

FIX 1 (resolution)

In most occasions, as a resolution, Modify the ReceiveConnector to append the local domain name for any malformed return addresses. so the email will be considered as an internal email. So tweak your spam filters and Mail AV accordingly

Open a Elevated Exchange Management Shell:

Set-ReceiveConnector -Identity ($Env:computername + “\Windows SBS Fax Sharepoint Receive ” + $Env:computername) -DefaultDomain $Env:UserDNSDomain

In some It environments above fix wont be allowed due to IT security policies so the following will be your only option to tip toe around this problem

Increase the "MaxProtocolErrors” property value of the  Windows SBS Fax Sharepoint Receive connector

Open a Elevated Exchange Management Shell:

Set-ReceiveConnector -Identity ($Env:computername + “\Windows SBS Fax Sharepoint Receive ” + $Env:computername) -MaxProtocolErrors 500

This increase the number of protocol errors the pop connector will ignore to 500, not a permamant fix but POP connectors are not usually used as a permanent solution either.

Hope this information was useful. It sure did save my behind.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Recover Exchange Mail store Using Database portability feature in Exchange 2010

"Mail server crashed" worst nightmare for a System admin. Followed by tight Dead lines, incident reports, load of complains you have to listen to, Its a full fledged disaster.
In this scenario its a medium size business with with just one single Server running AD and Exchange 2010(not ideal i know) which was upgraded from SBS 2003

AD and DNS failed after de-commissioning the old SBS server.

Recovering from full server backup was not an option and we had the Databases on a separate drive.

Important things to keep in mind when recovering DB's on a different AD domain

  • Organization name and the Exchange Administrative Group should be the same in order for the Portability feature to work
  • Database must be in a clean shutdown state
  • After mounting the old DB's always move the mail boxes to new database's
  • Exchange 2010 Slandered only supports up to 5 Databases.

there are few method's to recover DB's on exchange 2010, This is the method we used.

Check List before proceeding further

Once you have
  • Restored the Old Databases from backup to a different location on the server
  • installed the AD (with the same domain name) and the Exchange with the same Administrative Group as the earlier

Preparing the Databases

Checking the statues of the database file

in order for the Database portability feature to work. we need the DB's in clean shutdown state. To check the Database State we are gonna be using the  Exchange Server Database Utility's file dump mode

Note : if you are restoring from a windows Backup the Database should already be in a Clean shut down state as the exchange VSS backup re-plays the log files before backing up the DB

More Detail on eseutil /MH - link

Launch command prompt and type

eseutil /MH "D:\Restore\oldDB.edb" (the text in blue is the location of the restored old database file)

 Check the output you get and check if the DB is in a Dirty shutdown or a clean shutdown state

If the DB file is in Dirty shutdown state

In this case we did not have any recent backups and we were not able to soft recover the DB since this is a new DC. so we had to do a hard recovery using this command.

eseutil /P "D:\Restore\oldDB.edb" (the text in blue is the location of the restored old database file)

Click ok on the prompt to continue

Note : using the Hard recovery will result in loss of information depending on the amount of log files you have for that Database

After the Hard recovery to fully rebuild indexes and defragment the database

eseutil /D "D:\Restore\oldDB.edb" (the text in blue is the location of the restored old database file)


Mounting the Database using the Portability feature.


Create a new Database

Create a new Database for example we will create one named -  recoveryDB1

Go to properties of the new DB > Maintenance Tab > Select  the option "This Database can be overwritten by a restore"

Apply the Changes and dismount the Database

Replace the new Database file with the Repaired Database

Firstly go to the folder where the new DB file(recoveryDB1.edb) is located and Rename or delete it

Delete the log files / Catalog files


Rename the Recovered Database

Go to the Folder where the Database we repaired before is located and Rename it to "recoveryDB1"


Replace the newly created Database

Copy the Repaired DB file and replace the new Database file recoveryDB1.edb

Remember the Log files should be deleted or moved before you mount this DB.

Mount the "recoveryDB1" Database From EMC

now the mailStore should be mounted with out an issue

Errors you might run in to
In case you do get errors when mounting the DB such as

Operation terminated with error -1216 (JET_errAttachedDatabaseMismatch, An outstanding database attachment has been detected at the start or end of recovery, but database is missing or does not match attachment info) after 11.625 seconds.

you are getting this error because The DB is in dirty shutdown state, refer to the Preparing the Database Section above to fix the issue by performing a Hard Recovery

unable to mount error 's

The new Database Log files are still present, Delete them or move them.

Now you can go ahead and Attach the Mailboxes to the corresponding user accounts.

Word of advice 

It will be wise to not to keep this recovered Mail Store in production for long. you will run in to various issues as the Mails start to flow in and out

Create new Mail stores's  and Move the mail boxes to avoid future problems.

Some mailboxes might be corrupted. in that case

Easiest way is to use the

New-MailboxRepairRequest” cmdlet

Refer to this tech-net article for more info - link

  • Export it to a PST
  • Attach the user to a fresh mailbox
  • Sync back the Data you need through outlook

Monday, March 12, 2012

Backup Exec System State backup completes with an exception (Windows 2008 server)

Good Morning InternetZ

I ran in to a very annoying issue with back up exec yesterday afternoon..scheduled backups were completing with an exception





 Detailed job log












The error happens when Volume shadow copy lists a file to back up even thou the file no longer exist on the system. So most probably the culprit will be left over files from a previous uninstall. After some research i found out that these problematic files in my case were related to Printer drivers. how ever there were people who had the issue because of Nvidia Drivers, Endpoint security, VM ware, ETC. 

According to Symantec

This is a known issue and that can be safely ignored. Furthermore the article states that Symantec is working on a fix

There is no definite fix for this but there is a workaround given by Symantec

Follow the steps listed below:

1. Create a empty text file with the same name as the file mentioned in the exception
2. Place the document in the same location as in the exception

I created text files and renamed them as the file mentioned in the exception and put them in to the relevant directories. the following backup was running smoothly with no errors.