The msExchSmtpMaxHopCount value has been altered from its default

[This topic is intended to address a specific issue called out by the Exchange Server Analyzer Tool. You should apply it only to systems that have had the Exchange Server Analyzer Tool run against them and are experiencing that specific issue. The Exchange Server Analyzer Tool, available as a free download, remotely collects configuration data from each server in the topology and automatically analyzes the data. The resulting report details important configuration issues, potential problems, and nondefault product settings. By following these recommendations, you can achieve better performance, scalability, reliability, and uptime. For more information about the tool or to download the latest versions, see "Microsoft Exchange Analyzers" at]  

Topic Last Modified: 2005-11-18

The Microsoft® Exchange Server Analyzer Tool queries the Active Directory® directory service to determine whether the configured value for the msExchSmtpMaxHopCount attribute has been changed from its default value.

In Exchange 2000 Server, the msExchSmtpMaxHopCount attribute is configured with a default value of 15. In Exchange Server 2003, this attribute has a default value of 30. If the Exchange Server Analyzer finds that this attribute is no longer set to the default setting, a non-default configuration message is displayed.

A message can be routed through many different SMTP servers (each referred to as a hop) before the message reaches its final destination. To prevent a message from being repeatedly misrouted (a condition known as a message loop) an administrator can control the maximum number of hops that is allowed. The mxExchSmtpMaxHopCount attribute specifies the number of SMTP servers through which a message can pass before returned to the sender as non-deliverable.

A value of 30 for both Exchange 2000 Server and Exchange Server 2003 SMTP virtual servers is recommended.

  1. In Exchange System Manager, expand Servers, then expand an Exchange server, then expand Protocols, then expand SMTP.

  2. Right-click an SMTP virtual server (for example, Default SMTP Virtual Server) and select Properties.

  3. Select the Delivery tab, and then click Advanced.

  4. Enter the desired value in the Maximum hop count field and click OK to save the change.

  5. Click OK to close the Properties dialog box of the SMTP virtual server.

For more information about SMTP virtual server settings, see the following Microsoft Knowledge Base articles:


Community Additions