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Exchange 2003 server periodically not responding

SearchExchange.com expert Peter terSteeg offers troubleshooting advice as to why an admin's Exchange 2003 server periodically stops responding.

My Exchange 2003 server has the latest service pack and all of the updates, but it will occasionally stop responding. The Microsoft Outlook 2003 clients are not able to reach the Exchange server. When I go to my server, the Exchange System Manger runs fine, the machine is not frozen and I can ping the machine from clients -- but Exchange cannot be accessed. The event log gives me nothing. Any idea where to start troubleshooting?
Here are some things I would have a look at when the problem occurs in order to troubleshoot the problem:
  • Check that WINS is working
  • Check whether other protocols can connect (i.e., HTTP, POP, etc.)
  • Check that all Exchange services are running
  • Turn up diagnostics logging to maximum (for a short period of time only, as it'll fill up your event logs otherwise) to get more of a verbose history of what's going on your server.
Once you've tried those things, let us know what the problem was or if it is still unresolved, and what new symptoms you've uncovered in the process.

Do you have comments on this Ask the Expert Q&A? Let us know.

Related information from SearchExchange.com:

  • Article: Exchange 2003 performance troubleshooting
  • Tip: Microsoft Exchange Troubleshooting Assistant 1.0
  • Tip: Troubleshooting Exchange Server with ExchDump
  • Learning Guide: Exchange Server performance tuning and troubleshooting
  • Reference Center: Exchange Server 2003 tips and resources
  • Dig Deeper on Exchange Server setup and troubleshooting

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