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Troubleshoot Exchange 2003 email that gets stuck in the SMTP queue

Exchange 2003 mail flow issues are evident when email gets stuck in the SMTP queue. Rebooting the server may help, but so will these troubleshooting tips.

I have Exchange 2003 Service Pack 2 (SP2) and Windows Server 2003. I'm having trouble sending outgoing email; it ends up getting stuck in the SMTP queue. When I reboot the Exchange server, the message is sent, but if I don't reboot, the outbound email is never sent. The domain name system (DNS) is good and I've set up authentication, connection, relay, outbound security and advanced delivery.

I am at a total loss as to what the problem could be. I have two Exchange servers set up identically. One server sends email within seconds and the other server queues up all the email. Any idea what could be causing this?

There are many factors that could be at play here. I'd start by confirming that all Microsoft Exchange services are up and running, (i.e., that a service isn't just stopping shortly after reboot), and whether you have any errors or warnings in your Exchange application event log that could point to the issue. Have you tried tracking the message using the Message Tracking Center in Exchange to determine in which SMTP queue the message is located? If this doesn't help your problem, please write back with further details.

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Related information from SearchExchange.com:

  • Expert Advice: Troubleshoot mail flow issues after Exchange 2003 upgrade
  • Tip: Manage mail flow with Exchange Troubleshooting Assistant
  • Tutorial: How to use SMTP queues to troubleshoot mail flow
  • Administration Guide: Master Exchange 2003 management
  • Reference Center: Exchange Server 2003 tips and resources
  • This was last published in January 2008

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