At times, users of Exchange 5.5 may receive more than one copy of the same Internet e-mail messages as if the messages are 'looping'. This will be a great annoyance to the user, but it's one that is easily removed.
The most likely reason for this annoyance is a message pointer did not get removed from the queue.dat file. This file is located on the drive that stores the Exchange databases, for example: d:exchsrvrImcdataqueue.dat
The Queue.dat file contains administrative information about the status of Internet mail queues and messages, both inbound and outbound. It does not contain the actual messages themselves. If this file is deleted or renamed, Microsoft Exchange Server is able to rebuild or recreate the file.
So you can resolve the 'mail looping' problem by first stopping the Internet Mail Service. Then, simply delete the queue.dat file. Because it doesn't store messages, you can delete the Queue.dat file without fear of losing mail. But you should remove this file only when the Internet Mail Service is not running. If Queue.dat is marked Read-Only, you can remove the attribute, assuming you have administrative privileges, and then delete the file. Then restart the Internet Mail Service, which should start up correctly, and then process mail normally. This should resolve the 'mail looping' problem.
Adesh Rampat has 10 years experience with network and IT administration. He is a member of the Association of Internet Professionals,
the Institute for Network Professionals and the International Webmasters Association. He has also lectured extensively on a variety of topics.
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This was first published in October 2001