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My Exchange Server 2003 (running on Windows Server 2003) fails at around 04:54 on a regular basis, though not necessarily every day.

By "fails" I mean that my colleagues try and check their emails and Outlook says "outlook is not connected to exchange." Since outlook tries to update the email every 3 minutes or so, and it records the time when the folder was last updated, it is possible to see the time of failure.

It is impossible to download emails until the server is restarted. Thereupon everything works well.

I have looked in Scheduled Tasks and can't see anything pertinent.

Does anyone have any ideas?

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You sure gotta give some more detail.. What fail? What is the outcome? How is it fixed? – Frederik Nielsen Aug 23 '12 at 10:41
OK. I will talk to my colleagues and try and provide more info. Thanks – gordon613 Aug 23 '12 at 14:20
I have added as much detail as I can, though it is non-technical in nature. – gordon613 Aug 26 '12 at 10:41
up vote 3 down vote accepted


a) What version of exchange 2003 are you using ? Standard or Enterprise

b) Is this part of SBS2003 or a stand alone exchange.


1) Can you navigate to this path in registry.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\MSExchangeIS\Server name\Private-Mailbox Store GUID

Check if you have a key called Database Size Limit in Gb and what's the value there.

2) Whats the DB size on disk? Default priv1.edb path is c:\Program Files\Exchsrvr\MDBDATA

Possible Causes:

a) Exchange 2003 DB is dismounting because of 18GB hard limit for Exchange 2003 standard. This is usually resolved by increasing the db size limit to 75GB for Ex03 Standard.


White-Space / Offline Defrag's etc, to reclaim space:

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Hi Sunny! I checked the key that you mention, but it does not exist in the path mentioned (nor anywhere else as far as I am aware) The priv1.edb is 16,691,848 - definitely seems suspicious, especially when I look at the link you provide. I am going to investigate... Regarding the version I am using, I am not sure... The Exchange System Manager version is 6.5.7638.1... Does this help – gordon613 Aug 28 '12 at 16:38
I have installed the service pack 2 for Exchange 2003 [Yes I know this should have been done already] and I will keep you posted. – gordon613 Aug 29 '12 at 10:57
Hi If your servername name is Exchange01, the path should look like this HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\MSExchangeIS\Exchange03\Pri‌​vate-4509a24d-481c-4d06-b82f-43844e66a6ba0 On the right hand side, you need to create the new string value Database Size in GB and modify that to 74 Once you have made changes, please restart the server and the issue should stop. – Sunny Chakraborty Aug 30 '12 at 11:45
Hi Sunny! Thanks. I have installed SP2 and changed the new database size to 30 GB as you said [I actually used Microsoft FixIt to do it as seen in the microsoft link you quote above.] – gordon613 Aug 30 '12 at 15:53
I will wait a few days to see if the issue stops, and then hopefully accept your answer... – gordon613 Aug 30 '12 at 15:53

Are you still able to ping the box after this happens or does it become completely unresponsive? Any backups running during that time? Is this server a dedicated Exchange server or does it have other functions?

Otherwise, I agree witi Itai, you should cross reference the the event logs with the time in which your machine goes down. You may also need to get a dump of your system and post any pertinent information here. If it is just exchange that is failing and you still have access to your system, check Task Manager to gather what processes are running during that time.

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Thanks. I'll post an update after the weekend hopefully. [The Server is not a dedicated Exchange server, but is also performs as a file server and has backup processes on it] – gordon613 Aug 23 '12 at 14:26
@gordon613 backup processes on it Oh, I know where I'm putting my money on as the source of the problem... – HopelessN00b Aug 24 '12 at 0:09
@HopelessN00b always seems to be the issue – JMeterX Aug 24 '12 at 2:18

Try looking in the Event Viewer if something occurs around the time it fails each time. Hit Start -> Run -> type eventvwr in the Run box to open the Event Viewer, check the events under System and Application logs. In addition, if you have a monitoring application such as HP openview or Centerity you can create a business service which will include all components that are required for the server to run, such as disk, cpu, memory monitors as well as networking, storage, application monitors, through that you will be able to identify the source for the server’s fail on that specific time when it fails.

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Thanks Itai. I looked now at Event Viewer and there are thousands of processes. I can't see anything specific at that time in a consistent manner. I will keep you posted. – gordon613 Aug 23 '12 at 14:25

Yeah, SP2 might do it. If you still have issues, Google for "exchange 2003 sp2 hotfix" and see if any of them are relevant to your problem. Another workaround is to set the Exchange Information Store to automatically restart after a failure in services.msc (if that's the service that's failing), but this doesn't fix the root cause of the problem.

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