The Default SMTP Virtual Server instance was failing to start after recovering from a System State Backup. Because this was a Domain Controller the server had to be started in Directory Services Restore Mode (DSRM) in order to do the ntbackup restore. When booted into DSRM, Chkdsk kicked in and did a scan before launching into Safe Mode. What I didn’t know initially was that Chkdsk had gotten hold of the Exchange ‘Queue’ directory. Here is what we did to bring it back and recover the previously queued mail.
When the Default SMTP Virtual Server was failing to start, the application log reported event id 429 which mentioned that the specified mail queue directory is not valid. We checked the ’vsi 1’ folder and found that the ‘Queue’ folder was missing and in its place was a file with the name ‘Queue’. We deleted the file and created a folder named ‘Queue’. Once this was done, we were able to start the Default SMTP Virtual Server instance.
Now that Exchange was running again with its new ‘Queue’ folder that was great, but what happened to the messages that were previously in the Exchange Queue before the System State Restore had been done? We found that checkdisk had placed them in the ‘Found.000’ folder. We replayed the messages by putting them back into the ‘Pickup’ folder. Mail normally flows into the Pickup folder first and then will automatically move to the Queue folder before moving into individual mailboxes. There ended up being a couple corrupt ones that would just sit in the Queue folder so we deleted those in Windows Explorer.