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This is a simple question, should be somewhere in the documentation, but anyway.

How do I access this BadMail folder and view the contents of the messages in it?


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up vote 3 down vote accepted

In previous versions of Exchange (5.5, 2000, 2003 without service pack), all email that cannot be delivered ends up in the Badmail directory. This folder grows infinitely until it runs out of disk space.

Exchange Server 2003 Service Pack 1 changes that. By default, it will handle all "badmail" in a virtual way and no data trash is accumulated.

If you want to keep your badmail, you'll have changed a couple of registry settings:


 Value: MaxBadMailFolderSize   this is the size in KB.  
 Value: BadMailSyncPeriod      specifies how often to check 
                               the Badmail folder (in minutes).

If set to 0, badmail disappears. -1 reverts to pre-SP1 settings. However, like circular logging, this doesn't "rotate" messages - just collects messages till the max folder size is reached and then stops collecting more bad mail.

On Pre-Exchange Server 2003 SP1, the badmail folder contains messages that cannot be delivered, and also cannot be returned back to the sender. Therefore, the folder typically contains spam, and the files within the folder can usually just be deleted. You should find your SMTP server on such servers looking into your virtual SMTP protocol's properties (there is a badmail folder setting).

However, Exchange doesn't provide a setting to periodically empty the contents of the folder. The danger is that this folder will go un-monitored, and will continue to fill up. This link could also be interesting to you:

Exchange Server Badmail Deletion and Archiving

Automatic deletion or archiving of files in the badmail directory of SMTP virtual servers.

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Thanks! I was a bit confused about whether it an internal Exchnage folder in its database or a fileystem folder. I also had to enable the BadMail collection as you described. – axk Jun 23 '09 at 13:44

Usually C:\Program Files\Exchsrvr\Mailroot\Vsi 1\BadMail\, if you're running Exchange 2000 (and 2003, I think). If it's the IIS SMTP server, it'll be in C:\inetpub\mailroot\smtpsvc1\badmail. If it's Exchange 2007, there isn't one, but you can use the message tracking tools instead.

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Also, I believe Exchange 2003 SP1 does away with BadMail storage... probably due to the idea that nobody ever checks them, cleans them out. If not checked frequently undeliverable emails can add a lot of bloat to your server.

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