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Microsoft has created a command-line tool called ExchDump that you can use to extract detailed configuration information from a malfunctioning server. In fact, this is the only thing that the tool does. It doesn't make any changes to the system or attempt to fix problems that the server is experiencing.
Although ExchDump is a command-line tool, it is relatively easy to use. There are a couple of dozen switches that you can use with the executable, but none of them are overly complicated.
Since the ExchDump tool supports so many different switches, I don't have the space to address each one individually here. Instead, I'm going to talk about switches you can use to extract information related to some common Exchange-related problems.
If you need information pertaining to switches that I don't talk about here, you can find it in the ExchDumpReadMe.doc file that comes with ExchDump, or you can enter the EXCHDUMP /? command.
Once you download ExchDump, you can use it by entering the EXCHDUMP command followed by the appropriate command-line switch.
You'll notice when you run ExchDump that the output is not written to the screen, but rather to two files -- a .HTM file and a .XML file. These files are placed in the folder from which you ran ExchDump; the .HTM file is readable through a Web browser. The file names of the output files are ExchDump_timestamp.ext, where .ext is either .HTM or .XML.
If you want to use ExchDump to extract general information about a server, rather than focusing on a specific issue, you can do so by entering the EXCHDUMP /ALL command. Keep in mind that the /ALL switch does not actually dump all of the information that ExchDump is capable of extracting. It only dumps information related to the current server. It does not extract information related to the Exchange organization as a whole or Active Directory.
As you probably know, OWA is actually nothing more than a Web site that is designed to interface with Exchange Server. Therefore, if you are having OWA problems, the problem is most likely related to Internet Information Server or the server's ability to accept HTTP communications. The commands that you would use to extract information related to these areas of the system are:
While I am on the subject of HTTP, I also want to mention that Exchange 2003 has the ability to communicate using RPC encapsulated in HTTP. Entering the EXCHDUMP /HTTP command by itself won't provide you with sufficient information for diagnosing RPC over HTTP problems. If you are having an RPC over HTTP problem, you should use EXCHDUMP /HTTP /RPC.
Other problem areas
Below is a list of some other common problem areas and the ExchDump switches you would use to extract the information related to them.
Problem Type Switch Active Directory Connector problems /CA Recipient policy problems /RP Routing group problems /RG SMTP queue problems /SMTP Instant messaging problems /IM
In this article, I discussed how you can use the ExchDump tool to extract information related to some of the more common Exchange-related problems. ExchDump is powerful, though, with many more switches available than the ones I've discussed here. I highly recommend downloading it to experiment on your own.
About the author: 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, TechTarget, CNET, ZDNet, MSD2D, Relevant Technologies and other technology companies. You can visit Brien's personal Web site at http://www.brienposey.com.
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