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Be careful when editing the Exchange IMF custom configuration XML file

Exchange Intelligent Message Filter uses an XML file called MSExchange.UceContentFilter.xml for custom configuration. If that XML file isn't saved in the proper Unicode format, Exchange IMF will not work correctly.

The Exchange Intelligent Message Filter (version 2) uses an XML file called MSExchange.UceContentFilter.xml for...

custom configuration, particularly for the custom weighting feature. If that XML file isn't saved in the proper Unicode format, Exchange IMF will not work correctly.


Many Exchange Server administrators edit their XML files in Notepad. That's fine, but you must be careful, because Notepad provides three different ways to save a file as Unicode:

  • Unicode: Use this one -- it's UTF-16, which encodes each character as two bytes at all times.
  • Unicode big endian: This variant of Unicode reverses the byte order of each character and is not generally used in Windows; it's more for compatibility with Unix systems that store using the "big-endian" encoding.
  • UTF-8: This is a common variety of Unicode that uses 8-bit encoding for most text, but switches into and out of a 16-bit encoding mode for characters that require it.

If you look at the XML leader on your Exchange IMF's MSExchange.UceContentFilter.xml file, you'll see the following line:

<xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-16">

If you mistakenly saved the XML file as plain ANSI text or as a variant of Unicode other than UTF-16, the Exchange Intelligent Message Filter will stop working and will typically log error 7514, with this explanatory text:

Related antispam and Exchange IMF resources:

Crash Course: Exchange Intelligent Message Filter

Tip: Exchange Intelligent Message Filter's custom weighting feature

Tip: Understanding Exchange IMF's 3 MB message limit

Learning Guide: How to fight spam on Exchange Server

An error occurred while loading Microsoft Exchange Intelligent Message Filter. The error code is 0x80004005.

One quick way to verify if the XML file is "munged" is to try loading it in Internet Explorer. If you get an error that says "Cannot view XML input using style sheet," then it was probably saved in the wrong format.

If you still get error 7514, try deleting the XML file entirely. If the error still occurs, something else may be wrong -- for instance, the IMF .DLLs may not be registered correctly.

About the author: Serdar Yegulalp is editor of Windows Insight, a newsletter devoted to hints, tips, tricks, news and goodies for all flavors of Windows users.


I am still getting the same error:

Invalid at the top level of the document. Error processing
resource 'file:///C:/rror.xml'. Line 1, Position 40

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>

Do you have any suggestions?
—Prameela D.


I confess I'm a bit stumped on this one. The only thing I can think of is that the encoding of the document is wrong.
—Serdar Yegulalp, tip author

Do you have comments on this tip? Let us know.

This was last published in June 2007

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