Problem solve Get help with specific problems with your technologies, process and projects.

Exchange Server 2003 SP2 and Internet Explorer 7 compatibility problems

Computers running Exchange Server 2003 Service Pack 2 may experience problems if they're upgraded to Internet Explorer 7. Learn about the Exchange System Manager errors this compatibility issue may cause and how to resolve them.


Computers running Exchange Server 2003 Service Pack 2 may experience problems if they're upgraded to Internet Explorer 7 (IE7).

Issues usually manifest in one of three ways:

  1. Whenever a user attempts to access contextual help from within Exchange System Manager (ESM), the application crashes with the following errors:

    app: contentfilter.dll; module hhctrl.ocx
    app: maildsmx.dll; module unknown
    app: exadmin.dll; module unknown


  2. Attempting to browse HTTP virtual directories via ESM causes the same error, and also generates a spurious "No application associated with this file type" error.


  3. Attempting to browse public folders through the Exchange System Manager generates another spurious error, which only happens once for each time ESM is run:

    Exchange System Manager:
    The operation completed successfully.
    Facility: Win32
    ID no: c0070000

The module hhctrl.ocx is the ActiveX control that Microsoft uses to render HTML help. Without knowing much more about the innards of either Exchange 2003 or IE7, it sounds as though there's an incompatibility between Exchange Server at large and the way Internet Explorer 7 renders help.

(I am not sure if the problem involving contentfilter.dll's interaction with hhctrl.ocx is purely contextual, -- i.e., many particular instances of the error occurred there -- or if it is the actual source of the problem.)

All of the users who reported one or more of these problems noted that they had Internet Explorer 7 running on the Exchange server in question. Removing IE7 solved the issue. To that end, it might be best to postpone installing IE7 on any system running Exchange 2003 SP2 until Microsoft releases a hotfix for this specific issue.

Interestingly enough, Microsoft does have an Exchange Server hotfix that deals with a problem with IE7 and Outlook Web Access. However, installing this hotfix doesn't seem to ameliorate Exchange Server 2003's problems with Internet Explorer 7.

About the author: Serdar Yegulalp is editor of  Windows Insight, a newsletter devoted to hints, tips, tricks, news and goodies for all flavors of Windows users.



Internet Explorer 7 and Microsoft Outlook 2003 have compatibility issues as well. Message headers will not always print, even though they display fine on the screen. However, not all messages are affected. It appears to be problem with how Microsoft Outlook uses IE7 for print functions on HTML messages. Coding becomes corrupt and the header will not print.

The temporary fix is easy: Have the user forward the problem message to him/herself, then print the forwarded email. The header won't print on the forwarded message (which is blank, anyway), but the header will print on the "real" email below the "forwarded" part.
—Donna S.


Thanks for this tip. It has saved me some time. I have noticed, though, that if you run Microsoft Management Console (MMC) and then add the Exchange System Manager snap-in, you can then access the help without any crashes. I hope this helps.
—Mahomed H.


To resolve the problem, change the name of psapi.dll in \Program Files\Exchsrvr\bin to psapi.dll$. Internet Explorer 7 (IE7) installs a newer version of this DLL file.
—Christian B.


I was experiencing symptoms as described in #1 -- anytime I tried to access help from within ESM, it would crash. I found a resolution to the problem in a forum at The solution is to replace the psapi.dll file in the exchsrvr\bin folder with the newer version that is found in the system32 folder (or you can simply rename the older file).

Incidentally, this same solution resolved an issue with Undelete (whenever I would try to access help, the program would crash). Luckily, the error window referenced the psapi.dll file so I was able to figure it out. It seems like there is an incompatibility with IE7 and older versions of this DLL file.
—Nolan T.


Do you have comments on this tip? Let us know.

Related information from



Dig Deeper on Legacy Exchange Server versions

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.