I've got a virtual server running Win2008 RC2. I've set up IIS6 with a virtual SMTP server on it to be the mail provider for the websites I'm hosting there. It all works great, but if for some reason the server reboots (auto updates are still enabled - I'm trying to make this as little work as possible as we've got a Lot of clients), the IIS6 doesn't restart the SMTP server. The failure causes 500 errors on the current setup, so I'm spending half the day apologising.

Any ideas?

In Services I've set everything to come back up automatically, but still no dice.

As soon as I restart the SMTP, no problems, all the mail gets sent. It's working perfectly, it just won't restart on it's own.

I'd really rather not turn auto updates off as we're such a small company I just can't spare the time to be manually updating 15 copies of windows every time MS decide there's a security patch.

All advice appreciated! BTW, I am a complete newb to these forums. I searched but couldn't find an answer, so please be nice. But firm. I've got to learn here.

  • Is there anything else installed and running on this server?
    – Dan
    Feb 1 '11 at 14:39
  • And is there anything in the event logs?
    – Dan
    Feb 1 '11 at 14:58

The SMPT server is probably set to start manualy to change it to automatic follow the steps below.

  1. Click Start
  2. In the Search box type Services then press enter
  3. Find IIS Admin Service in the list of services
  4. Double click IIS Admin Service, and set "Startup Type" to Automatic
  5. Find Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) in the list of services
  6. Double click IIS Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP), and set "Startup Type" to Automatic
  7. Done! It should now start when automaticaly when your computer turns on
  • Seems that this issue is still happening at WS2019, and its caused by SMTP service who is set to manual instead of automatic by default
    – marafado88
    Feb 11 at 9:52

I noticed in 2008, with IIS6 SMTP installed, the SMTPSvc is not set to automatically start, it's set to manual. You might try:

sc config smtpsvc start= auto

If that's not the right syntax (I don't have a machine with it handy at the moment), you can run services.msc, and find the SMTP service, and change it to automatic. Then give your server a quick reboot and see if that helps.

  • Thanks Jon - that's the odd thing though, after Win rebooted everything seemed to come back up apart from the SMTP service. I've got it set to Automatic. It's either something to do with this weird system where you have IIS7 running the site and IIS6 (virtual) running the mail that's confusing it, or I've just been unlucky!. Thanks for the response though - much appreciated. Feb 10 '11 at 12:09

As a temporary solution until you figure out why - schedule a job to restart the SMTP service or execute a script like:

net stop smtpsvc net start smtpsvc

(more examples here: How can I automatically restart a Windows service if it crashes?)

Can you schedule the windows updates to occur at a specific time of day, and then schedule the service to be restarted a few minutes after that to minimise the problem for your users?

  • Thanks Dan, and sorry for the slow reply - been off with the flu. This certainly looks like an avenue to explore. I'll post again if I hit the solution, but that link looks like the answer is in there! I can use the SMTP server running on one machine to send out the error notification if the restarts don't work on the other. So a bit of firewall hacking, and that's really promising. Feb 10 '11 at 12:06

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