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Since Active Directory is at the heart of Exchange Server's functionality, problems with it can affect Exchange as well. To help diagnose AD replication issues, Microsoft created REPLMON, a tool included in the Windows Server 2003 Support Tools collection. (These tools are not installed by default, but are included in the Windows Server 2003 CD in the \Support\Tools folder.)
You can use REPLMON to:
- Watch and influence the progress of Active Directory replication.
You can examine a historical log of successful and failed replication changes -- for instance, to see if there are failures in replication for a particular object or to/from a particular server. The granularity of the logging can also be changed -- for instance, you can log Group Policy object changes, performance statistics, or the status of any attribute changes whenever a replication takes place.
- Force replication and synchronization between domain controllers.
This can be done only with direct replication partners, for one server at a time, or with each directory partition on all available servers. (Some administrators think that a replication action needs to be forced for a newly-created AD user object's mailbox to appear in Exchange. The mailbox will not appear until mail is sent to that user -- this is by design. Forcing replication will not cause this to happen.)
- Examine the topology of your domain controllers.
The topology display can include retired replication partners as well as active ones. The user can also trigger the Knowledge Consistency Checker (KCC), which recalculates the replication topology and makes sure it's valid. Other viewing options include listing available bridgehead servers, Global Catalog servers and trust relationships between servers in the current enterprise.
- List all replication messages sent, all unreplicated objects, and attribute meta-data for any AD object.
Serdar Yegulalp is editor of the Windows Power Users Newsletter.
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This was first published in August 2005