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Top 10 database mounting problems and how to fix them, part 2

If you have ever had problems mounting, or opening, a database volume, this tip tells you the potential causes and their solutions. Part 2 of a two-part series.

Part 2 of two-part series

As I explained in part one, there are several issues that can prevent Exchange from being able to mount its databases. I covered five issues in part 1, and today I will cover five more potential causes of this problem and suggest some fixes.

Potential problem #6: Incorrect service pack version on a clustered Exchange Server
Did you know that you can actually cause an Exchange database mount failure just by installing a service pack? In an Exchange 2000 (and possibly an Exchange 2003) environment, this can happen if Exchange is running on a cluster.

Suppose you install Exchange Server Service Pack 1 on node 2 of the cluster. When you do, the cluster will fail over to node 1 during the service pack installation. The problem is, however, that the service pack installation modifies the database in such a way that it is only mountable from a machine running service pack 1. Node 1 of the cluster is not running service pack 1 yet and therefore can't mount the database.

How to fix the problem.Install the service pack onto all nodes of the cluster. You can read more about this at http://support.microsoft.com/?id=326017.

To prevent the problem from occurring in the first place, Microsoft recommends using a rolling upgrade to install service packs onto a clustered Exchange Server. You can find detailed instructions for this procedure at http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;295925.

Potential problem #7: Failure after running Setup in /disasterrecovery mode
If you run Exchange 2000 Setup with the /disasterrecovery switch, then the databases will not mount. This problem is actually by design. The /disasterrecovery switch is used to prepare the system for database restoration. If you don't need to restore the databases, then you can correct the problem through the Exchange System Manager.

How to fix the problem. Navigate through the Exchange System Manager to Administrative Groups | your administrative group | Servers | your server | First Storage Group | Mailbox Store (or which ever database you are having trouble mounting). Right click on the database and select the Properties command from the resulting shortcut menu. When you do, you will see the database's properties sheet. Select the properties sheet's Database tab and then clear the Do Not Mount This Store At Start-Up check box.

Potential problem #8: Modified NTFS permissions or path
One fairly common issue is that when attempting to mount a database or to create a new database, you might receive the following error message: An internal processing error has occurred. Try restarting the Exchange System Manager or the Microsoft Exchange Information Store Service or both.

This error occurs if the system variable TEMP or TMP point to a location that is invalid or that Exchange does not have full NTFS permissions for. For example, if TMP or TEMP were to point to a remote network drive and the server hosting that drive is offline, then this issue will occur.

How to fix the problem. Figure out where TMP and TEMP point to and then verify that the location is valid and that the Exchange service account, the SYSTEM account and the local Administrator account have full control over the specified location. You can verify the paths by opening the server's Control Panel and selecting the System option. When the System Properties sheet appears, select the Advanced tab and then click the environment variables button. You will now be able to verify the paths associated with TEMP and TMP. You can access a full set of instructions at http://support.microsoft.com/?id=307242.

Potential problem #9: Incorrect Administrative Group Name
Another disaster recovery related issue may occur if your Exchange Server had originally been running Exchange 5.5 and was later upgraded to Exchange 2000 or Exchange 2003. The problem is that Exchange 2000 and Exchange 2003 use "First Administrative Group" as the default administrative group name, but Exchange 5.5 did not.

If you upgraded the server from Exchange 5.5, then Exchange 2000 or 2003 would have used a different administrative group name based on your Exchange 5.5 configuration. This means that if you were to reinstall Exchange 2000 or Exchange 2003 from scratch and then attempted to restore the Exchange databases from backup, the administrative group names (and possibly the organization name) would be mismatched, causing a database mount failure. This problem is flagged by event number 1088 in the Application Log.

How to fix the problem. Make the Administrative Group name within the database match up with the Administrative Group name that Exchange is configured to use. You can do this by renaming the Administrative Group within Exchange or by renaming the Administrative Group within the Active Directory. You can find the full instructions at http://support.microsoft.com/?id=280652.

Potential problem #10: Low disk space
Last, but not least, Exchange will not be able to mount the databases if it does not have sufficient disk space. When disk space runs low, you will receive a generic error message that says: An internal processing error has occurred.

How to fix the problem. Try restarting the Exchange System Manager or the Microsoft Exchange Information Store service or both. To tell whether or not this message is related to disk space, look for event IDs 9519 or 9559 in the Application event log. The only cure for this error is to free up some hard disk space. You can read more about this issue at: http://support.microsoft.com/?id=294318. To read part 1, click here.


Brien M. Posey, MCSE, is a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional for his work with Windows 2000 Server and IIS. Brien has served as the CIO for a nationwide chain of hospitals and was once in charge of IT security for Fort Knox. As a freelance technical writer, he has written for Microsoft, CNET, ZDNet, Tech Target, MSD2D, Relevant Technologies and numerous other technology companies. You can visit Brien's personal Web site at http://www.brienposey.com.

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