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Troubleshooting Exchange Server 2007 issues

From users inexplicably receiving duplicate email messages to synchronizing mail contact data between two servers, our expert has the answers to your questions concerning Exchange Server 2007.

In this edition of the Exchange Server Mailbag, Microsoft MVP Joel Stidley answers questions on troubleshooting Exchange Server 2007 issues, including how to synchronize mail contact data between two Exchange 2007 servers and what to do if your users are receiving duplicate email messages.

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Take a look at previous Exchange mailbags:

Exchange Server mailbox management advice

Exchange Server 2003 administration advice

POP3 settings and Outlook issues

We have an Exchange Server 2007 environment on our domain that is separate from our parent company. We'd like to find a way to synchronize the mail contact data from our parent company's Exchange server to ours. Is there a method to do this without using a connector?

Stidley: Depending on your long term plans for migration and which version of Exchange Server your parent company uses, there are a number of possible solutions for your problem.

If both Exchange organizations are running Exchange Server 2007, you could create a fairly simple script to export mailbox names and addresses into a .csv file for each organization. Next, create another script to import this information as contacts. However, making this a repeatable process as information changes might pose a challenge.

Another choice could be to use the IIFP, which includes an option for a process called GALSync. However, there are a couple of manual steps that need to be done, since GALSync wasn't designed to work with Exchange Server 2007.

If this is a long-term project or has the potential for change, a full fledge meta-directory solution such as Microsoft Forefront Identity Manager might be a better fit.

I have thousands of contacts in CSV format and would like to export them to Exchange Server 2007. What is the best way to accomplish this?

Stidley: There are a couple of ways that people may share contacts with other users in Exchange Server 2007. If you're mostly concerned with sharing the contact information within a department, it might make sense to create a public folder to store the contacts, allowing them to be shared with other users. To create the contacts in the public folder, you can use the Import from another file or program feature to import the .csv file in as contacts.

If these are more static company contacts, they can be created in Active Directory as mail-enabled contacts. The contacts will then show up within the Global Address list (GAL). To create contacts based on information in the CSV file, run this cmdlet in the Exchange Management Shell:

Import-Csv Contacts.csv | ForEach { New-MailContact -Alias $_.contactalias -Name $_.DisplayName -ExternalEmailAddress $_.EmailAddress}

If additional information is available in the .csv file that should be assigned to the contacts, the cmdlet can be modified.

Some of our users using Microsoft Outlook 2007 on Exchange Server 2007 and Windows Server 2008 are receiving duplicate versions of email. Do you have a solution for this problem?

Stidley: There are various reasons that people could be receiving duplicate email. If you've just completed a migration from another version of Exchange Server or from another messaging platform, it would be safe to assume that something during that process led to this problem.

To begin, look at the message header of the duplicate messages to see if the messages took different paths to reach the end user's mailbox or if they have different message IDs. If the messages are identical in every way, try to identify the types or sources of the email messages that are duplicated. Are the duplicates all from the same source? Do they have attachments? If that doesn't lead to the appropriate answer, it would be logical to check the Windows Event Log for any errors or odd warnings on the Hub Transport server.

If you still haven't identified the source of the problem, there are couple usual suspects that would touch email messages like antivirus software, advanced firewall services, third-party mobile email providers and antispam software and services. Look into the configuration of each of those components to determine if there is a pattern.

Joel Stidley, Microsoft MVP
Joel is a Microsoft MVP and founded, a Microsoft Exchange-focused community website, where he blogs and provides forums for discussing Exchange, PowerShell, certification and general Windows information. In the last few years, he has also been writing extensively. Joel has contributed content to MCITP: Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Messaging Design and Deployment Study Guide: Exams 70-237 and 70-238 (Sybex) and served as lead author on Professional PowerShell for Exchange Server 2007 SP1 (Wrox) as well as MCTS: Windows Server 2008 Applications Infrastructure Configuration Study Guide (Sybex).
This was last published in March 2010

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