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The Message Transfer Agent

The MTA can require some particular types of maintenance according to this tip from Adesh Rampat.

The Message Transfer Agent
Adesh Rampat

The Message Transfer Agent sends, receives, and delivers mail between servers within the Exchange System. The MTA will also use addressing and routing information to act as an intermediary, accepting messages from other servers and forwarding them to their destination.

At times the network administrator may experience periodic problems with the Exchange Message Transfer Agent. In the event that the MTA fails to start due to suspected corruption or a crash, the MTACHECK utility will have to be used.

MTACHECK verifies the validity and consistency of objects used by the Message Transfer Agent to deliver mail. This includes messages that are stuck in an outbound or inbound message queue. Exchange normally activates the MTACHECK utility automatically if it detects that the last server shutdown did not stop the MTA service cleanly.

In some cases however the network administrator might need to run the MTACHECK command manually in order to check the integrity and consistency of the Exchange MTA queues.

The following are optional switches that can be used with the MTACHECK command:

    /v- Log verbose details

    /f- log to file specified

    /rd- removes directory replication messages

    /rl- removes link monitor messages

Any items that contain errors are placed in the mtadatamtacheck.out folder. It is recommended that this utility be run at least twice until "Database cleaned, no errors detected" appears.

If there is lots of mail in the MTA working directory it could take a while for the MTA to restart and load all the messages back into the queues.


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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Related Book

Exchange™ 2000 Server Administrator's Bible
Author : Robert Guaraldi, Matthew Often, Sam S. Gill and Paul Guaraldi
Publisher : Hungry Minds
Published : May 2001
Summary :
Exchange 2000 promises to be the most effective, easy to use, and "interoperable" application for messaging and collaboration. The Exchange 2000 Server Bible offers administrators all the information to install and administer Exchange with real-world examples and inside details on mastering related products.


This was last published in July 2001

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