Archive for category Exchange

Exchange 2010 EMC not opening “The WinRM client cannot complete the operation within the time specified”

When I open the Microsoft Exchange EMC on a server, the following error message displayed.

Initialization failed

The following error occurred when getting management role assignment for ‘domainname.local/MyBusiness/Users/SBSusers/Administrator’:

Processing data for a remote command failed with the following error message: The WinRM client cannot complete the operation within the time specified. Check if the machine name is valid and is reachable over the network and firewall exception for Windows Remote Management service is enabled. For more information, see the about_Remote_Troubleshooting Help topic.

Click here to retry

There are no additional errors in the Eventlogs. The server is running Exchange 2010 SP2. No proxy configured. Windows update is up-to-date. Windows firewall is off.

Exchange is still functioning but there is no management of the service.
The first lead I found here, suggested antivirus.

As the site is using Trend Micro Worry Free Advanced, I opened the TMWF console, created a new Server container, dragged the server into it from the old container, refreshed the client on the server and can now access the EMC.

Now that I know what caused it, looking over the Trend Knowledge base reveals

The issue of not being able to open the Exchange Management console can occur when there is no Internet Connection after a server restart.
This can affect any server coming up without an internet connection as the default configuration of the virus software on the server is configured to look at the internet before allowing connection to the EMC
You can change this behaviour by following the steps in the Trend KB article.

The issue occurs because the Proxy hooks the Exchange 2010 management console query URL and it fails to get score from the Internet because there is no connection.

To resolve the issue:

  1. Ensure that the Exchange Server has Internet connection.
  2. Log on to Worry-Free Business Security (WFBS) web console.
  3. Go to Security Settings > Add group.
  4. Under Group type, select Servers.
  5. Specify a name for the group.
  6. Click Save.

Note: The created group will have the default settings if the Import settings from group check box is unticked.

  1. Disable the Web Reputation and URL Filtering feature for the newly created group.
  2. Go to Security Settings, then select the new group.
  3. Click Configure.
  4. Select the Web Reputation tab and unmark Enable Web Reputation for In-Office and Out-of-Office.
  5. Click Save.
  6. Select URL Filtering and unmark Enable URL Filtering.
  7. Click Save.
  8. Move the Security Agent of the Exchange 2010 Server in the previously edited group.
  9. Go to Security Settings and select the server group where Exchange Server 2010 is listed.

Note: This step refers to the Exchange Server Client/Server Security Agent and not the Messaging Security Agent.

    1. Drag and drop the selected Exchange Server to the group you created.


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550 “Sender address is invalid [route]:”

A quick look on the internet shows an increasing amount of people reporting an error 550 “Sender address is invalid [route]:”  with bouncing emails. This is new as of August 2015. No one knows what the error means.

It seems for Aussie clients with this recent issue, the likely fault is with TPP Wholesale whom upgraded security/mail filtering on their network and they are now aware of the issue and are working to resolve for multiple clients.

They have old webmail service lines / interbnal routes existing in Webcentral accounts which is creating conflicts.

Webcentral, MelourneIT, TPP etc are all now the same company.

If you need this resolved, contact TPP.

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Outlook 2010 Favorite weirdness

I have some issues with a client adding “Public Folders” to favorites within Outlook 2010 (Exchange 2010). If you add a Calendar or Contact folder to favorites it appears in the favorite list but it you sort by Calendar or Contact, it is not listed.

You right click the Public folder and select “Add to Favorites” , it prompts for a name and then appears to add it, but it does not actually appear in the list.
The common answer to this issue is that the Profilename.xml file in “C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Outlook” is corrupt and start Outlook with the /ResetNavPane switch.

The problem is, running this also kills all linked shared calendars, shortcuts and favorites. The /ResetNavPane switch seems to delete the xml file and likely does other things to the mailbox or registry.

I have reviewed the possibly faulty XML file with corrupted settings, it looks no different to a working one. I have tried to work out what the file does, line by line but there is no real explanation online of the settings.

I manually removed the xml file of my C:\ drive (without running /resetnavpane) and the problem was fixed and I lost no shared calendars or Favorites.

It appears that the config file is not the cause of the issue. It is another symptom and might not be the corruption. Looking in this file for the answer is fruitless as it seems Outlook does not read from this file, it writes it out to the file system when you exit Outlook.

 I can open Outlook without this config file, add a whole heap of favorites and the config file does not get created until I leave Outlook.

 Very curious.

 I found a possible work around and it is as follows:

Close outlook. Rename the config xml file. Reopen Outlook and test you can add to favorites. Vlose Outlook. Rename the original config file back to it’s old name and open Outlook. The testing I have done seems to indicate that this fixes the issue and retains the shared Calendars and all other settings.

I suspect the XML file is a backup of the Favorite settings or maybe it only controls favorites from the personal mailboxes or PST’s. The Public Folder favorites might actually be folders created at the Exchange end and work differently. Maybe the settings are stored on the server in the database ?

There is very little info so this is all conjecture.


What is PB4S-Configuration-name@domain.xml

Whilst trying to solve an issue, I strayed into the folder “c:\users\username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Outlook”.

I can see the profile.xml, Outlprnt and profile.srs files. I know what they are.

*.srs  –  send/receive settings for the email profile 

*.xml  – This file holds customization settings for the Navigation Pane in Outlook 2003 and later. Most notable settings are, Favorite Folders, Shortcuts from the Shortcuts Navigation and opened shared folder lists in the Calendar, Contacts, Tasks and Notes and Journal Navigation.

Outlprnt – This file contains the print style settings.

See more here

What is the PB4S-Configuration-name@domain.xml file ?

I find very little about this file and it’s settings online. It turns out that this is the Outlook Protection rules file. If you have assigned Outlook Protection rules or your server supports this feature, this file contains the information needed to apply it. In basic terms what is Outlook Protection rules ? I view it like DRM for email. (Digital Rights Management).

Basically rules about who you can forward types of emails to, what access you have to reply etc. Maybe it should be called Email Rights Management 🙂


Exchange and Heartburn

Saturday night (just past) was a nice evening. Nothing to complain about, all going well. Waking early Sunday morning I noticed my iPhone was not connected to the Exchange store at my office (ActiveSync).

I remoted into my workstation at work and noticed that Outlook was empty and trying to attach to the information store. I logged onto the server and found the Exchange Information Store, System Attendant and Pop3 connectors had stopped. I also noticed the pop up telling me that Microsoft had updated the server and had to complete a restart. This was likely after automatic critical updates Sunday 3 am (Wsus).

I started the services and went into Outlook. As we monitor all our clients servers on port 25 and by other means, the deluge of emails and alerts I had be unaware of, was starting.

Almost all of our SBS 2008 servers running Exchange 2007 had stopped receiving email. One in particular had also dropped RWW and VPN access.

With most of them, restarting the stopped services fixed things. With a few others I had to kick over the Exchange Topology service.

We also had 2 SBS 2011 (Exchange 2010) with the Pop3 connectors stopped.

After a massive session of Remote desktop, VPN and RWW, we managed to get all the servers email working again.

Now we need to look at the updates and identify what caused this. If the servers had gone through a second restart, they would have been fine.

EDIT: Reports coming in now include EBS server as one of the servers affected by this.

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Exchange Information Store expansive bloat in Microsoft SBS 2003

First, lets define what I mean by expansive bloat and state some facts about SBS 2003.

I define expansive bloat as an excessively big file that is growing quickly and out of control. In this case the Information Store (IS) was 200Gb and growing at about 5 Gb per hour.

SBS 2003 with the appropriate patches etc can only handle stores up to 75 Gb. After this, the mailbox stores are dismounted and email access is not available. This is a limitation hardwired into SBS 2003.

Imagine my surprise when a clients store dismounted (As expected) because the store was 200 Gb and climbing.

Looking in the MDBdata folder, I could see the transaction logs appearing and being culled (Circular logging was turned on) before my very eyes. The store size looked like a cars Odometer and ticking over.

Looking in the Exchange system manager (ESM) and adding up all the mailboxes sizes, comes to just under 6 Gb.

In an effort to reign in this bloat, I turned off mailbox and item retention. I checked the backups and trawled the exchange logs and eventlogs.

There are no strange event logs except to state that the store was too big and dismounted.

I looked at the SMTP incoming queue (in the mailroot folder) and the server outbound queues (in the ESM). They were empty. I looked at the MAPI connections to see if someone at a workstation was doing something odd, nothing.

My natural instinct was to freeze outgoing email and stop the Simple Mail Transport Protocol (SMTP). I restarted Exchange and dismounted and remounted the store. The only thing that stopped the Store expanding was turning off the SMTP service. This was my first clue. There was something stuck in the queues that I can’t see. This data is likely in the transaction logs.

I finally found a workstation with 2 stuck items in the Outbox that would not send. It kept retrying. I could not delete the email. Outlook reported that the MAPI was in an inconsistent state (And the recipients were getting the email over and over again). I logged in as this user using Outlook Web Access, that online version of the Outbox was empty. I then worked out that Outlook was using an OST and these two emails were  only in the OST version of the mailbox.

Simple fix. Delete the OST file.

Now I have a 200 Gb IS that will not remain mounted. I found the normal defrag informational alerts in the eventlog. The online Defrag was only clearing 1 Mb of whitespace, daily. Obviously something more serious is wrong in the store.

I attempted an offline defrag and repair with ESEutil (As Isinteg would not even talk to the store). It got to 50% and then failed with an error. The temporay file it created was 100Gb. I figured this means if it had gone to 100%, I would still have a 200 Gb store. The error provided no help. No One on Google or in the Technet forums had previously reported this error so I had nothing to work with.

Operation terminated with error -1014 (JET_errOutOfBuffers, Out of database page buffers

I spoke to the client who decided it was best to try to either try to recover mailboxes from the Exchange Recovery Group or, convert OST’s to PST’s and create a new store or (Using Recovery Toolbox for Outlook), recover from backups (Which I then found out were not as current as first expected) or use a tool like OnTrack PowerControls to dump out the email store mailboxes as PST files.

We attempted to use the Recovery Group however Exmerge could talk to the store but not see any mailboxes. This was a shame as the store mounted first time and looked fine.

In the end we created a new store and this did not bloat. We were able to reimport email from the OST files and the client is up and running.

One thing to remember, if you delete the store and create a new one, all premissions in the old store including delegates, needs to be recreated.

It is also worth nothing, Outlook users will get the error

Your mailbox has been temporarily moved on the MS Exchange server. A temporary mailbox exists, but might not have all of your previous data. You can connect to the temporary mailbox or work offline with all of your old data. If you choose to work with your old data you cannot send or receive email messages.

The fix is to delete the email profile from the mail applet in Control Panel and recreate it. Take note of any additional mailboxes and accounts before you do that. Also, if the user has PST files, make sure that they know their passwords (else use a tool like the PST password tool from Nirsoft). 

Go to Control Panel-> Mail-> Profiles-> Show profiles.
Highlight the current Exchange profile you are using and click Remove. 

Click YES when you are asked if you are sure.

To close the window, click OK.

Open Windows Explorer.

Browse to the folder C:\Documents and Settings\user\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook.  Highlight and delete the Outlook.ost file (I prefer to rename it).

Create a new profile and if you use cached exchange mode, it will create a new .ost file. 

Please be aware that The Outlook.ost file is in a folder that is “hidden” by default.  If you do not see the folder, you may need to change the view settings in Explorer, as follows: 

Go to Tools>Folder options, View tab
Check the radio button for Show hidden files, folders, and drives
Uncheck the box for Hide protected operating system files (recommended) 
Click YES when you are asked if you are sure.
To close the window, click Apply and OK.

 So we have arrived at a better place with a much smaller information store.


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