License to Administer

I grew up watching James Bond movies, and for a long time my favorite character was Q, the man who supplied Bond with all those cool gadgets. In every movie, Bond would make a trip to Q's storeroom, get some slick spy gear for his mission, and receive a stern warning not to break anything. Microsoft has a similar assortment of tools for Exchange. Like the contents of Q's armory, some of these tools are better known than others, and they range from the innocuous to the downright dangerous. Microsoft maintains a tools page at http://www.microsoft.com/exchange/downloads/2003.asp, and several other tools are available from the Microsoft Product Support Services (PSS) FTP site. Some of these tools are only available if you request them as part of an open case, so I won't discuss those tools here, but the following are some of my favorites.

The Advanced Queuing Administration Command Line Interface tool (aqadmcli.exe), which was originally built for internal use by the Microsoft Exchange test team and later released for use by PSS, gives you an easy way to do all sorts of interesting things to Exchange Server 2003 or Exchange 2000 Server SMTP queues. For example, you can easily purge the entire contents of a queue, freeze one or more queues, or force a selected queue to connect. Of course, you can perform most of these chores from within Exchange System Manager (ESM), but being able to do them from the command line is useful, especially because you can use aqadmcli.exe to connect to any server for which you have Exchange administrative privileges. For example, the command

aqadmcli delmsg flags=all

purges all messages from all SMTP queues—just the thing if you're being flooded with nondelivery reports (NDRs) after a joe-job. You can get aqadmcli.exe from ftp://ftp.microsoft.com/pss/Tools/Exchange%20Support%20Tools/Aqadmcli/.

You'll need the Domain Rename Fixup utility (XDR-Fixup) when you use the Windows Server 2003 Active Directory (AD) Domain Rename tools (available at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/downloads/domainrename.mspx) to change the name of an existing AD domain that contains Exchange servers. This type of name change can be a useful trick in certain circumstances but isn't something to be undertaken lightly. In fact, Microsoft supports the use of these tools only for Exchange 2003 Service Pack 1 (SP1) and later. You can find XDR-Fixup at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=24b47d4a-c4b9-4031-b491-29839148a28c.

The Up-to-Date Notifications Troubleshooting tool (autdtroubleshooter.exe) gives you a terrific way to pinpoint problems with your wireless client configuration: You put in the name of the user about whom you want information, and the tool gives you a list of the devices and delivery methods that are configured for that user. Using this tool is certainly the fastest way to determine why a particular user isn't getting message notifications on their Exchange ActiveSync–enabled device. The tool is available from http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=7718a338-a9f5-43d6-9e20-141189283c82.

These tools are just a sampling of the goodies inside Microsoft's toolbox. As with the gadgets that Q hands out, the selection of available tools changes over time, and there are undoubtedly bigger and better things waiting in the wings for future assignments...er, product releases.

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