Microsoft Exchange Server Best Practices Analyzer Quick Start Guide


Topic Last Modified: 2007-12-26

Published: September 21, 2004

Download the Microsoft Exchange Best Practices Analyzer v2.8 from the Microsoft Download Center for automated Exchange Server system health checking and problem diagnosis. This 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 critical configuration issues, potential problems, and nondefault product settings. By following these recommendations, you can achieve greater performance, scalability, reliability, and uptime.

Simply run the Windows Installer file (.msi) and follow the prompts on the screen. You should install the tool on a management workstation running either Microsoft Windows XP or Windows 2000 Professional.

Before installing Exchange Server Best Practices Analyzer, you must have already installed Microsoft .NET Framework 1.1 on your workstation.

To start the tool:

  1. Click Start, All Programs, and then open the Microsoft Exchange program group.

  2. Click Best Practices Analyzer Tool to run it.

  3. Exchange Server Best Practices Analyzer searches for updates to the configuration and rules file, ExBPA.Config.xml, through your Internet connection (if available).

  4. Download any updates found. When the download is finished, you do not need to restart the tool.

If an Internet connection is not available or updates are not found, a Welcome screen is displayed.

Proactively identify configuration problems in an Exchange Server messaging topology before problems arise.

To check the health of your Exchange Server topology:

  1. Connect to Active Directory directory service.

    Exchange Server Best Practices Analyzer tool auto-locates the closest global catalog server, but you can override the default server if you wish. To be defined as an administrator on these servers, you need sufficient credentials to remotely access the data on your Exchange Server and Active Directory servers. If your current credentials do not have the required permissions, you can use the override option to specify the user accounts that should be used for accessing Exchange Server and Active Directory server configuration data.

  2. In Exchange Server Best Practices Analyzer, click Connect to Active Directory server. The following page appears.

  3. Under Specify the scope for this scan, select or clear the check boxes to specify the exact combination of servers you wish to scan.
    By default, the tool runs a health check against all Exchange servers in your organization.

  4. In the Select the speed of the network to adjust estimated time value list, select the network connection speed, if needed.

    This sets the underlying timeouts for data gathering and should be set to the speed of the slowest network for your chosen scope of servers to scan.

  5. Click Start scanning, and sit back while the tool does the rest of the work.
    The progress is displayed for individual servers as they are scanned. Depending upon the speed of the network and the number of servers in the scope, the overall scan can take several hours to complete. The tool is multi-threaded, so up to 50 servers can be in progress at any one time.


    As individual servers complete the scan, an icon represents the overall result.


    Icon Description



    The scan was completed successfully on this server.



    The server was scanned but an error threshold was reached during data collection.



    The server was not scanned. It has stopped responding or was unreachable.

Once all servers have been scanned, the rules are applied to the collected data and you then have the opportunity to review the details of any issues which were identified.

A number of different views of the analyzed data are available in the reports list.

Critical Errors List   These are problems which require immediate attention or investigation. An error identifies an issue which could have a dramatic effect on the performance or stability of your Exchange Server messaging system.

Full Issues List   This presents the critical errors, warnings, and nondefault settings. A warning represents a potential problem or the absence of a best practice configuration. It is common to see between 5–15 warnings for each Exchange server scanned.


To see more details about the problem, click to expand an individual entry in the list. If you need additional information, click the Tell me more about link. This opens an article on the Web or the Help file, depending upon the availability of an Internet connection.

If at any point you wish to remove the tool:

  1. In Control Panel, open Add or Remove Programs, and click Change or Remove Programs.

  2. Click Microsoft Exchange Server Best Practices Analyzer Tool, and then click Remove.

Use Exchange Server Best Practices Analyzer to proactively identify configuration problems in an Exchange Server messaging topology. By implementing the recommendations made by the tool, you can expect to achieve an overall improvement to your experience with Exchange Server.