Troubleshooting Tools


Topic Last Modified: 2006-09-15

Microsoft® Exchange Server 2003 includes features and tools that can help you troubleshoot interoperability and migration issues. Microsoft Windows Server™ 2003 also includes many valuable troubleshooting tools.

You can use the following standard tools to troubleshoot interoperability and migration issues. Some of these tools are grouped together in the Performance tool that is available in the Administrative Tools program group (click Start, point to Programs, point to Administrative Tools, select Performance); others are included in Exchange System Manager. Which tools you use to troubleshoot a system and in which order depends on the problem you are troubleshooting.

  • System Monitor   System Monitor is part of the Performance tool included in the Administrative Tools program group. Among other things, you can use System Monitor to monitor the behavior of messaging connectors in real time. You can determine the number of messages in inbound and outbound message queues and other information, such as the total number of messages that have been transferred by the connector since the connector service was started. It is a good idea to check message queues using System Monitor, because numerous messages queuing up in a messaging connector might indicate a performance bottleneck or a malfunctioning connector component.

    To add performance counters for connector queues to System Monitor, start the Performance tool and then, in the toolbar, click the Add button indicated by a plus sign (+). Table 1 lists important performance objects that you can select from the Performance object list in the Add Counters dialog box. If you select a connector component, you can then find appropriate performance counters for message queues under Select counters from list.

    Table 1   Performance monitor options

    Resource Performance object

    Address lists


    Directory Service Access caches

    MSExchangeDSAccess Caches

    Directory Service Access global counters

    MSExchangeDSAccess Global Counters

    Directory Service Access processes

    MSExchangeDSAccess Processes

    Epoxy queues and activity


    Mailbox store

    MSExchangeIS Mailbox

    Public folder store

    MSExchangeIS Public

    Exchange store


    Connector for Lotus Notes


    Message Transfer Agent


    Message Transfer Agent connections

    MSExchangeMTA Connections

    Simple Mail Transfer Protocol

    SMTP Server

    Exchange routing engine

    SMTP Routing

  • Performance Logs and Alerts   This tool is also included in the Performance tool. You can use Performance Logs and Alerts to collect data automatically from local or remote computers. Performance Logs and Alerts is similar to System Monitor in that you can define performance objects, performance counters, and object instances, as well as set sampling intervals for monitoring. You can use this tool to create reports that document system behavior over a specified period of time. These reports can be viewed in the Performance tool, or the data can be exported to a spreadsheet or database for analysis.

  • Exchange System Manager   Use the Exchange System Manager tool to check the health of your bridgehead server and the state of messaging connectors. For example, you can use the Monitoring and Status tool in the Tools container in Exchange System Manager to determine which connectors and bridgehead servers are available and which are not. Select the Status container beneath Monitoring and Status to display this information. Additionally, you can use the Notifications container to configure e-mail or script notifications to alert you automatically when a critical system state is detected.

  • Message Queues   You can use the Queues container object beneath a server object in Exchange System Manager to list all queues and all messages within those queues that are currently awaiting message transfer on the server. You can freeze a particular message or all messages, which prevents them from being transferred through a connector until you unfreeze the messages. You can also delete a message from a message queue (with or without sending a non-delivery report back to the originator), which might be necessary if a corrupted message is blocking other messages.

    Exchange Server 2003 supports two types of message queues:

    • System queues   There are three providers for system queues: SMTP (for the SMTP transport engine), X.400 (for the Exchange message transfer agent (MTA), and MAPI (Connector for Lotus Notes).

    • Link queues   The SMTP transport engine creates link queues when there are multiple messages bound for the same destination. These queues are listed in the Queues container only when they have messages waiting to be routed. The name of the queue matches the remote delivery destination.

  • Message Tracking Center   This Exchange System Manager component is used to track messages across an Exchange organization. You can track all kinds of messages, including system messages and regular e-mail messages that are going to or coming from the Domino messaging system. You can use Message Tracking Center to locate messages that have failed to arrive in users' mailboxes, such as messages that are stuck in a connector's message queue.

    Message Tracking Center is unable to track messages within a Domino messaging system. Message tracking ends (or begins, in the case of inbound messages) at the messaging connector that connects your Exchange organization to Domino. Also, message tracking is not enabled by default. You must enable it on your servers running Exchange Server 2003 individually or jointly in a server policy.
  • Exchange Management Pack for Microsoft Operations Manager   Keeping track of issues that involve many servers across an organization can be difficult when you are using standard tools. If you are responsible for a complex organization with multiple Exchange servers, you may want to implement a centralized tool, such as Microsoft Operations Manager with the Exchange Server 2003 Management Pack, for monitoring and alerting, reporting, and trend analysis. The Exchange Server 2003 Management Pack provides preconfigured scripts, rules, and reports specific to Exchange with which you can monitor an entire Exchange organization or specific servers. The Exchange Management Pack also includes an extensive set of Microsoft Knowledge Base articles to provide you with background information and troubleshooting information.

    With Exchange Management Pack for Microsoft Operations Manager, you can:

    • Check the system status of multiple Exchange servers from a single console

    • Create sophisticated rules to respond to system events

    • Generate custom reports

    • Handle operational tasks and obtain background information for troubleshooting

    For more information about the Exchange Management Pack, see Exchange Server 2003 Management Pack for Microsoft Operations Manager 2000 SP1.

  • Event Viewer   Many of the internal Exchange Server 2003 components record events in the Event Log. An event is any occurrence in the system or in a program that might require administrator attention. Event logs can help you identify and diagnose the source of current system problems or help you predict potential issues. The standard logs (Application, System, and Security) exist in all computer configurations. Others, such as the Directory Service log, are available only in specific configurations, such as on domain controllers.

    Many system components and programs write events into the application event log. If you are only interested in a specific component, you can filter the events by selecting Filter on the View menu in Event Viewer. Under Event source, you can select the information source that you are interested in. The names of most Exchange Server 2003 event sources start with MSExchange. For example, the Exchange message transfer agent (MTA) is named MSExchangeMTA, and the event source for the internal transport engine of Exchange Server 2003 is MSExchangeTransport.

    If you want to increase the amount of information that an Exchange component writes to the event log, start Exchange System Manager and display the properties of the server in which you are interested. Click the Diagnostics Logging tab and then select the component of interest from the Services list. Next, select all or individual categories for this component from the Categories list. Then, under Logging Level, determine the amount of information that is written to the event log: None, Minimum, Medium, or Maximum.
  • Network Monitor   Network Monitor is a useful tool for detecting and troubleshooting problems that can occur during communication between server components over the computer network. You can identify problems related to message transfer over a messaging connector or client-to-server connection, find a computer that makes a disproportionate number of protocol requests and identify unauthorized users on your network.

    With Network Monitor, you can:

    • Identify network traffic patterns and network problems

    • Capture frames (also called data packets) directly from the network

    • Display, filter, save, and print the captured frames

    For more information about Network Monitor, see the following Microsoft Knowledge Base articles: