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Troubleshoot message-delivery problems

Troubleshoot message-delivery problems
Adesh Rampat

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Troubleshooting message-delivery problems can turn out to be a nightmare. Message-delivery problems can arise from such disparate causes as improperly configured client software or an e-mail address not set up properly on the firewall. Here are major areas that you can investigate when encountering message-delivery problems:

The Client

From the client side ensure that all services are installed and properly configured. Mail-delivery problems can be a result of damaged personal store or personal address book. Try repairing the personal store file by running the Inbox repair tool. Also verify that the user is actually connected to the network and not working offline.

Outdated or incompatible add-ins may also cause mail delivery problems.

To check for active add-ins:

  1. Click Options on the Tools menu.
  2. Click the Other tab then select Advanced Options.
  3. Click Add-In Manager. All active add-ins have check marks beside the add-in name.

To deactivate an add-in:

  1. Click to clear the add-in check box
  2. Click OK until all the dialog boxes closes.

The Exchange Server

When adding an SMTP address for users ensure that the address is spelled properly. Incorrect spelling is one of the more common cases of mail-delivery problems.

With Exchange 5.5, upgrading to Service Pack 4 can help resolve most mail-delivery problems. This is because Service Pack 3 tends to have some mail-delivery issues with the message transfer agent (MTA).

Sometimes mail-delivery problems can turn out to be a performance issue on the Exchange server. Use the performance to perform a baseline measurement of the performance of the Exchange mail queues.

Exchange has the following four counters pre configured:

  • Queued Inbound
  • Queued MTS-IN
  • Queued MTS-OUT
  • Queued Outbound

These counters are helpful to see whether messages are building up in one of the specific queues, and/or to track the number of messages passing through the queues.

The Firewall

Some firewall configuration includes a mail-mapping folder. Verify that the user's Email address is included in the mail mapping and that it is spelled properly.

Depending on the firewall, increasing the number of mail routers in the firewall configuration can help resolve mail-delivery problems, especially with busy hosts having many messages in the router queue.


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

Microsoft Exchange 2000 Server Administrator's Guide
Author : David McAmis
Publisher : Prima Publishing
Published : Dec 2000
Summary :
Whether you are administering an Exchange Server for 10 users or 10,000, this book provides you with the technical information you'll need to successfully manage Exchange 2000 Server. This invaluable resource is perfect for you, the system administrator, who installs and manages the day-to-day operations of Exchange Server.


This was first published in August 2001

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