Windows Tips & Tricks UPDATE, October 25, 2004, —brought to you by the Windows IT Pro Network and the Windows 2000 FAQ site
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FAQs

  • Q. Why does my Microsoft Exchange Server system show the state of some links as unavailable even though the links have periods of activity?
  • Q. Where is link-state information stored for a Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 or Microsoft Exchange 2000 Server organization?
  • Q. How can I configure Microsoft Outlook to automatically deny read receipts?
  • Q. How can I check whether a game will work on a Windows XP system?
  • Q. I'm receiving errors in the Application event log about my Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 Store, and the Exchange 2003 database has gone offline and won't mount. Do you know what's causing these problems?

Commentary
by John Savill, FAQ Editor, jsavill@windowsitpro.com

This week, I tell you why a Microsoft Exchange Server system shows the state of some links as unavailable although the links have periods of activity and where link-state information is stored for a Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 or Microsoft Exchange 2000 Server organization. I also explain how to configure Microsoft Outlook to automatically deny read receipts, how to determine whether a game will work on a Windows XP system, and how to solve a problem that occurs when you exceed the maximum database size on an Exchange 2003 or Exchange 2000 system.


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FAQs

Q. Why does my Microsoft Exchange Server system show the state of some links as unavailable even though the links have periods of activity?

A. Exchange Server 2003 and Exchange 2000 Server provide link-state detection, which monitors the status of the connections between routing groups. However, the link-state detection feature can sometimes cause link connectors to be marked as unavailable. I've seen this problem occur with Exchange Server systems that were connected over a DSL line: When many messages in the Exchange Server network were queued up, the link state would detect the link between the routing groups as unavailable and take it down. You can disable the link-state-change process by modifying the registry on the Exchange Server system, as follows:

  1. Start the registry editor (regedit.exe).
  2. Navigate to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\RESvc\Parameters subkey.
  3. Double-click the SuppressStateChanges value. If this value (type DWORD) doesn't exist, add it to the subkey.
  4. Set the value to 1 and click OK.
  5. Restart the SMTP, Microsoft Exchange Routing Engine (RESvc), and Message Transfer Agent (MTA) services, or simply restart the Exchange Server system.

Q. Where is link-state information stored for a Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 or Microsoft Exchange 2000 Server organization?

A. The link-state information is actually stored in memory on the Exchange Server system and isn't written to disk. The routing master in each routing group receives and maintains the link-state information (i.e., the link-state table) that routing-group members send to the routing master whenever an Exchange Server system determines that a link has changed state. The routing master is the only server that can increment the link-state version numbers in the link-state table. The routing master also sends the link-state table to routing masters in other routing groups, so that each routing group has a complete picture of the entire Exchange Server organization.

The link-state table contains information about the connectors, servers, routing groups, address spaces, link states, costs, versions, and organization to determine the most cost-effective route for a message delivery. You can use the WinRoute tool to obtain link-state information about your Exchange Server organization. Winroute.exe displays all unformatted information that's transferred from the link-state port (TCP port 691) in the bottom pane of its UI. You can find the WinRoute tool in the \support\utils\i386 folder on the Exchange 2003 or Exchange 2000 CD-ROM. You can also download the WinRoute tool at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=c5a8afbf-a4da-45e0-adea-6d44eb6c257b&displaylang=en.

Q. How can I configure Microsoft Outlook to automatically deny read receipts?

A. Email senders can request read receipts that notify them when you read their messages. By default, Outlook will prompt you before it sends a read receipt. To permanently set Outlook to never or always send a read receipt, perform the following steps:

  1. In Outlook, select Tools, Options.
  2. On the General tab, click E-mail Options.
  3. In the E-mail Options dialog box's "Message handling" section, click Tracking Options.
  4. The options for responding to read receipts are at the bottom of the Tracking Options dialog box, which the figure at http://www.windowsitpro.com/content/content/44343/outlookreadreceipt.gif shows. Select either "Always send a response," "Ask me before sending a response," or (my personal favorite) "Never send a response." Click OK to close all dialog boxes.

Q. How can I check whether a game will work on a Windows XP system?

A. Microsoft provides Game Advisor, a Web-based control that scans your computer and determines whether a game is compatible with your configuration. You can download the Game Advisor applet--which the figure at http://www.windowsitpro.com/content/content/44343/xpgameadvisor.gif shows--at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/games/default.mspx. For information about known problems for applications with XP Service Pack 2 (SP2), see the Microsoft article "Some programs seem to stop working after you install Windows XP Service Pack 2," at http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=842242.

Q. I'm receiving errors in the Application event log about my Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 Store, and the Exchange 2003 database has gone offline and won't mount. Do you know what's causing these problems?

A. To identify the source of the problems, first look for the following error events in the Application log:

Event Type: Error
Event Source: MSExchangeIS
Event Category: General
Event ID: 1112
Date: 10/5/2004
Time: 11:30:49 AM
User: N/A
Computer: OMEGA
Description:
The database "First Storage Group\Mailbox Store (OMEGA)" has reached
the maximum allowed size. Attempting to unmount the database.

For more information, click
http://www.microsoft.com/contentredirect.asp.

Event Type: Warning
Event Source: ESE
Event Category: Space Management
Event ID: 445
Date: 10/5/2004
Time: 11:30:49 AM
User: N/A
Computer: OMEGA
Description:
Information Store (10228) First Storage Group: The database
E:\mdbdata\priv1.edb has reached its maximum size of 16383 MB. If the
database cannot be restarted, an offline defragmentation may be
performed to reduce its size.

For more information, click
http://www.microsoft.com/contentredirect.asp.

These events indicate that you're running Exchange Server 2003, Standard Edition (the errors can also occur in Exchange 2000 Server, Standard Edition), which has a maximum database size of 16GB, including the streaming file. After the database reaches this size, the Store will unmount and can't be mounted again until you either upgrade to Exchange Server 2003, Enterprise Edition or Exchange 2000 Server, Enterprise Edition (both of which have a much higher database size limit) or reduce the size of the database.

If upgrading isn't an option for you, you can probably reduce the size of the database by performing an Exchange offline defragmentation using the Extensible Storage Engine (ESE) utility--eseutil.exe. You can find eseutil.exe in the Exchange installation bin folder (e.g., \exchsrvr\bin). Run the Eseutil command with the /d parameter and the database name:

eseutil /d c:\exchsrvr\mdbdata\priv1.edb

Although you specify only the database file, Exchange Server will also automatically defragment the associated streaming file. If you don't want to defragment the streaming file, specify the /i switch on the Eseutil command. If the streaming file isn't in its default location, you can use the /s switch to specify its location. By default, the Eseutil defragmentation creates a new database on the same volume as that on which the Eseutil utility resides to temporarily store the defragmented information. To ensure that you have sufficient free space, you can use the /t switch to specify where the temporary database file should be created.

After the defragmentation is finished, the Exchange Server database should be small enough to be mounted. You should now take one of these three actions:

  1. Establish mailbox limits to ensure that the database can't grow too large. You could also implement policies to automatically delete mail that's older than a specified number days; however, you should notify users of such policies ahead of time and make sure that the policies conform to legal email retention requirements.
  2. Upgrade to Exchange 2003 Enterprise or Exchange 2000 Enterprise, which allow larger databases (and more of them).
  3. Add Exchange 2003 Standard or Exchange 2000 Standard servers and distribute the mailboxes across them.

These actions can help you avoid the database-size errors you described. You should also perform regular checks on the database state so that you're aware of potential problems.

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