What’s my name! What’s my name!

In another episode of my IT world, I ran into this really strange error. (Okay, not so strange considering that others have had it happen to them too). Here’s the error: We have an Exchange 2003 server, and various domain controllers, and a terminal server. When I created a user (John Doe for example) on a domain controller (2003 R2), I also marked it so that it’ll create an Exchange mailbox. BUT IT DIDN’T! I waited and waited, even to the next day. The next day, I decided to manually create the x.400 and the SMTP entries. Did that. Went to TS and logged in as user. OK. Went to Outlook (package deployment to automatically specify the Exchange server)… FAILED! This is the error message: the name could not be resolved. the name could not be matched to a name in the address list

Double checked the server and credentials and everything checked out fine! What is going on?! I’m not using RPC over HTTP, just native Exchange mode! I even tried rebooting the Exchange server and domain controller! [research research, google’d and bing’d it up] I even tried using ADSIEdit (GASP!) and findin the variable showInAddressBook and making sure the values were set properly. Went into advance options in ADUC to the security tab to make sure the user was inheriting permissions from their parents. Checked to make sure that the checkbox “Hide in GAL” was unchecked. All seems okay.

It turns out the problem is a RUS replication problem!!!!

  1. Click Start, point to Programs, point to Microsoft Exchange, and then click System Manager.
  2. Double-click Recipients, and then click Recipient Update Services.
  3. In the right pane of the Exchange System Manager window, right-click Recipient Update Service (Enterprise Configuration), and then click Properties.
  4. Verify that a valid Exchange server name appears in the Exchange server box. If the server name does not appear, or if the one that appears is incorrect, click Browse. In the Select Exchange Server dialog box, click a valid Exchange server in the site, click OK, and then click OK again.
    1. In my entry, I noticed it was pointing to the OTHER Exchange server. I changed it to the one that has the user account (the primary Exchange server).
  5. In the right pane, right-click Recipient Update Service (Enterprise Configuration), and then click Rebuild.
  6. Click Yes to confirm the rebuild operation.
  7. In the right pane of the Exchange System Manager window, right-click Recipient Update Service (domain), where domain is the name of your domain, and then click Properties.
  8. Verify that a valid Exchange server name appears in the Exchange server box. If the server name does not appear, or if the name that appears is incorrect, click Browse. In the Select Exchange Server dialog box, click a valid Exchange server in the site, click OK, and then click OK again.
    1. Again, I noticed it was pointing to the OTHER Exchange server. I changed it to the one that has the user account (the primary Exchange server).
  9. Right-click Recipient Update Service (domain), where domain is the name of your domain, and then click Rebuild. Click Yes to confirm the rebuild operation.
  10. Right-click Recipient Update Service (domain), where domain is the name of your domain, and then click Update Now.
  11. Quit the Exchange System Manager.
  12. ************** WAIT FOR REBUILDING! *************
  13. Check user in ADUC for her email properties. Now it doesn’t even show the email tabs. I right clicked the user and selected Exchange Tasks and created a mailbox.
  14. Started up Exchange Server Manager to make sure there’s a mailbox for the user…. And…
  15. VOILA!

So yes, that was that. There’s a few things to check before you go and rebuild your entire RUS. I highly recommend you check it BEFORE you rebuild. Rebuilding does take some time (and the popup box says hours?! GASP!).

BTW – Did you back up your Exchange server? When was your last FULL BACKUP? Did you try practicing restoring a mailbox? Just some things to do when you have time… even when you don’t have time. Never know when you’ll need to do it! Might as well be super familiar with it BEFORE a catastrophe! 🙂

*Reference articles:

Exchange Recipient Update Service fails to process accounts and MSExchangeAL 8151 event logged: http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;322313

How to work with Exchange Recipient Update Service: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/319065

Troubleshooting Active Directory replication problems: http://articles.techrepublic.com.com/5100-10878_11-5098469.html

Woes of the Email Server …

A couple of weeks ago, I had to rebuild a server because of a crash. Over the course of rebuilding the server, I learned a couple of lessons (although I would’ve preferred to learn it before the crash).

  • When you purchase a new server from manufacturers like HP or Dell, they typically come partitioned. The root had 2 drives mirrored (RAID 1), each drive had 36GB. Dell decided to allocate only 12GB for the C:\ drive, leaving the 24GB unallocated. The person setting it up didn’t format the 12GB partition and left the 12GB as the root. The C:\ slowly filled up with updates and SPs. Lesson: Don’t assume people know basic Exchange requirements; give the C:\ as much space as possible.
  • This server was promoted to DC. I was speaking to a MS guy recently and he mentioned to NEVER make any Exchange server a DC. There are lots of reasons for this, one of them is that the Exchange will never query other DCs for information. Since its a DC itself, it will only rely on its own information, even though its wrong. Always ask for the latest best advice.

Is that all I learned? I’m sure there was more than 2 points but it was because these 2 points that I had to rebuild an entire server. I was wondering why this information isn’t put in writing anywhere. I mean, the Exchange books discourage DCs to also function as Exchange Servers, but never gave any reason why. If I knew the reason why, I would’ve voiced my opinion more heavily and prevented all of this. …

In the end, life is still good. All my Exchange servers are happy campers and they’re waiting for a new friend to join the fun.