Ask Dr. Bob - 19 Dec 2001

My Microsoft Exchange 2000 Server system suddenly seemed to develop a problem sending email, locally or through the SMTP gateway. The server is putting outgoing messages in clients' Outboxes but not sending the messages. After I reboot the server, Exchange sends the waiting messages and might continue to send messages successfully for about 30 minutes before the problem reoccurs. I looked in the event log and discovered that each time, the IISAdmin service crashes immediately before the problem occurs. Do you know what's happening?

I have a pretty good idea. For better or worse, Exchange 2000 uses Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) 5.0's SMTP service. This arrangement means that if the SMTP service or the IISAdmin service crashes, Exchange can no longer send email.

The most likely problem in your situation is a failure of the IIS SMTP service to function normally. The IISAdmin service is most likely crashing because of a corrupt IIS metabase. (The metabase is designed for high-speed read/write operations, and it logs all changes to IIS, so the IISAdmin service often crashes when this database becomes corrupted.) Repairing the problem takes about 30 minutes to 1 hour, so set aside that much time before you begin.

First, set all your Exchange services to be disabled at startup. (You could use a manual start option, but I've seen services restart automatically despite that setting.) Next, open the Windows 2000 Setup program from the installation CD-ROM and choose the option to uninstall IIS. After you uninstall IIS, reboot the server, rerun Win2K Setup, and reinstall IIS. The system might not prompt you to reboot, but you should do so anyway.

Next, reinstall any Win2K service pack you'd previously installed on the server. Make sure to apply any post—service pack fixes that relate to IIS.

To be on the safe side, copy your mdbdata directory (be sure to include the log files). If this directory is split across multiple disks, copy all the directories to a new disk or directory. (When you're copying the directory, keep in mind that the displayed estimated copy time is rarely accurate. I copied a 4GB directory in 10 minutes, but the time display estimated that the procedure would take about 2 days.)

After you've copied the directory or directories, reinstall Exchange 2000. Be sure to select the reinstall option when the Exchange installation begins. After the reinstallation process is completed, reboot the server. If you were running Exchange 2000 Service Pack 1 (SP1), reinstall the service pack. If you weren't using SP1, I recommend that you install it now. (I needed to install the service pack twice when I went through this process. For some reason, the first SP1 installation didn't upgrade store.exe, thus causing an error whenever I tried to mount a storage group—SG. Reinstalling SP1 resolved the problem.) At this point, Exchange 2000 should work normally. If you still have problems, you'll need to call Microsoft to see what else might be wrong with your Exchange server.

What can you do to prevent such corruption from reoccurring? Very little, according to Microsoft: Make sure you install the most recent IIS service pack and any post—service pack patches. I question why Microsoft chose to incorporate SMTP into Exchange 2000 by way of IIS; I'd rather see IIS piggyback on an Exchange-based SMTP server. I find that as a standalone SMTP solution, Exchange 2000 isn't as reliable as Exchange Server 5.5: The SMTP service's dependency on other services increases the risk of system errors.

I can't get Email Protection in Symantec's Norton AntiVirus 2001 to work with Microsoft Office XP's Outlook version. How do I accomplish this task?

I called Symantec to determine the best method for configuring Outlook to work with Norton AntiVirus Email Protection. According to the vendor, you can use the following procedure to create a new mail account with enabled Email Protection. (The names of menu items and options are somewhat different in Outlook 2000, but the procedure to enable Email Protection for that version follows the same basic steps.)

First, close all applications other than Outlook. In Outlook, click Tools, Accounts from the menu bar. Go to the Mail tab, which displays a list of accounts. Select the account for which you want to enable Norton AntiVirus, then click Properties to open the account's Properties dialog box.

Go to the General tab and type a name for the account (in the text box within the Mail Account section). In the User Information section, enter your username (as provided by your ISP) in the Name text box. If you want, you can enter the name of your organization in the Organization text box. Enter your Internet email address (as provided by your ISP) in the E-mail address text box. You can also type a reply address in the Reply address field (this entry is optional).

Next, go to the Servers tab. To increase security, you can select the Log on using Secure Password Authentication check box in the Incoming Mail Server section, but check with your ISP first: Secure passwords might not work in some ISP configurations. (In my experience, Norton AntiVirus Email Protection doesn't work when I select this option.) Depending on whether you select this option, type one of the following entries in the Incoming mail (POP3) text box:

  • If you selected the Log on using Secure Password Authentication check box, type
  • If you cleared the Log on using Secure Password Authentication check box, type

    In the Outgoing mail (SMTP) text box, enter your server name (as provided by your ISP). In the Account name text box, enter your username, a slash, then the incoming mail server (as provided by your ISP). For example, I might enter the account name bob/ In the Password text box, enter your password. Click Apply, click OK, then close Outlook.

    Open Norton AntiVirus and click Options on the menu bar. Double-click Email Protection (in the Options list on the left of the Options for Norton AntiVirus dialog box), then click Advanced. Select the Enable Manual configuration check box. Select Email Protection from the Options list. In the Email clients list on the right of the screen, select Microsoft Outlook, then click OK. This step returns you to the main Norton AntiVirus screen. Click Email status and confirm that your manually configured accounts show up in the display and are selected for use. Close Norton AntiVirus and restart the computer.

    If these steps don't work for you (they didn't for one of my accounts), the problem, according to Symantec, is that your ISP's POP3 server isn't running at current POP3 specifications. Also, Norton AntiVirus doesn't work with IMAP accounts—a problem that Symantec definitely needs to resolve. Granted, you can siphon all mail through a virus-protected Exchange server, but that process is overkill for an individual user.

    When I boot and log on to my Windows 2000 machine, the system gives me the following message: Your maximum registry size is too small. To ensure windows runs properly increase your registry size. What do I need to do to stop receiving this message?

    If a system's registry size exceeds the maximum space permitted, the system can rapidly become unstable and cause a problem that can't be fixed short of reinstalling Win2K. The RegistrySizeLimit value, under the HKEY_LOCALMACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control subkey, controls the registry's size limit. This value has a default REG_DWORD value of 0x0; consequently, the RegistrySizeLimit value is unseen and permits the registry to increase in size, as needed, up to the maximum size that you've set.

    To increase the maximum registry size, right-click the My Computer icon on your desktop and select Properties from the context menu. Go to the Advanced tab and click Performance Options. In the Performance Options dialog box, click Change to open the Virtual Memory dialog box, in which you can reset the maximum size for the registry. The maximum size you set depends on the OS and your particular environment. On my Win2K Professional notebook, on which the registry generally takes up about 20MB, I've set a maximum size of 45MB (i.e., twice the registry size plus 5MB) to avoid any installation problems. (Disk space is relatively inexpensive, so this setting is supportable.)

    When I attempt to upgrade a Windows 98 Compaq Presario 5030 to Windows 2000, the system reports that Winnt32 has performed an illegal operation and will be shut down and kills my installation routine. What's happening?

    A couple of factors could be causing your problem. First, review your system's documentation and the Microsoft Hardware Compatibility List (HCL) to determine whether Win2K is an acceptable OS for the Presario 5030. (I visited Compaq's Web site but couldn't determine whether Win2K will run on your computer.) Second, Compaq often uses special drivers for its computers. Contact the vendor to find out whether a Win2K driver is available for the Presario 5030.

    Does Windows NT 4.0 support removable magneto-optic (MO) devices and removable hard disks? My company is attempting to decide which storage is best for our environment, and someone told us that NT 4.0 restricts the use of removable disks.

    NT 4.0 can handle both MO devices and removable hard disks. However, some restrictions exist. The OS treats such removable disks as hard disks, so you must partition the disks and assign them a drive letter. (After you assign a drive letter to a device, you can't change that letter.) NT supports FAT and NTFS on these disks, but the disks can have only a primary partition. You can install the \winnt directory on a removable disk, but the NT boot files (i.e., ntdetect, boot.ini, and NT loader—NTLDR) must be on either a 3.5" disk or a fixed hard disk. Don't place the pagefile on a removable disk: Removable disks slow performance, and NT generally locks such devices to avoid corrupting current files.

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