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How to handle Exchange Server Event ID 13003

When a user's login name is different from the mailbox alias, Exchange Server may throw Event ID 13003 when that user attempts to log on to an Exchange 5.5 or 2000 server. Here are three options for troubleshooting this authentication problem.

When a user's login name is different from the mailbox alias, Exchange Server may throw errors when that user attempts to log on to an Exchange 5.5 or Exchange 2000 server.

For instance, if a user's desktop login name is Barrow1, but his mailbox name is David Barrow, he may not be able to log in to Exchange Server at all. This will happen with both POP3 and IMAP email accounts.

Microsoft Exchange will also log an error when this happens:

Event ID: 13003
Event Type: MSExchangePOP3
Event Source:
Event Category: Authentication
Description: Hr lookup credentials () call failed with 
error logon failure.  Unknown user name or bad password.

There are three ways to work around this problem:

  1. Change the Exchange Server mailbox alias to match the Windows user account name.
  2. Create a second Exchange Server mailbox alias that has the same name as the Windows user account.
  3. Use the following naming convention for the mailbox login on the client:

    <Domain>\<UserName>\<MailboxAlias>. For example, with the domain Work1, the login would be Work1\Barrow1\David Barrow.

Changing the user desktop login name is not recommended, since it might break other associations that cannot be repaired.

If you're using Microsoft Outlook in conjunction with Exchange Server and you experience this problem, one of the common symptoms is Outlook repeatedly prompting you (without success) for a username and password.

About the author: Serdar Yegulalp is editor of the Windows Power Users Newsletter.

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

Related information from SearchExchange.com:

  • Fast Guide: Troubleshooting Exchange Server Event IDs
  • Tip: Forms-based authentication errors with OMA and ActiveSync
  • Reference Center: Exchange Server user authentication resources

  • Dig Deeper on Exchange Server setup and troubleshooting

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