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Troubleshooting mail delivery problems

A detailed procedure for troubleshooting delivery problems.

Sometimes an administrator may want to troubleshoot mail delivery problems between the Exchange server and another host. When troubleshooting mail delivery problems, it is advisable to create a mailbox on the Exchange server with a SMTP address such as 'admin@test.com.' This can save the administrator a lot of time instead of visiting a workstation in order to use an Outlook client. Once this is done, let's take a look at the following procedure:

Receiving a reply from your Exchange server

  • Start a Telnet session by using the following command:
    Telnet # 25 (substitute # with your server's IP address)

  • If successful, the following response will be displayed:
    220 "domain name of your server" and "version number of the IMS"

  • Type the following command:
    HELO "your exchange server's domain name"

  • You will receive the following response:
    250 OK

Using delivery receipts to test inbound and outbound mail delivery

  • Type the following command to tell the IMS whom the message is from:
    MAIL FROM: "enter a valid SMTP address"

  • You will receive the following response:
    250 OK – MAIL FROM joe@test.com (SMTP address entered earlier)

  • Type the following command to tell the IMS whom the message is to:
    RCPT TO: user@test.com notify=success, failure (here you can enter the SMTP address you created earlier in the introduction of this article).

  • You will receive the following response:
    250 OK – Recipient admin@test.com

Sending a test message

  • We will be sending a test message with a subject line only. Type the following command to tell the IMS that you are ready to send data:
    DATA

  • You receive the following response:
    354 send data. End with CRLF.CRLF

  • Type the following command to add a subject line:
    Subject: test message

  • Hit Enter, a full stop then another Enter.

  • You receive the following response:
    250 OK
  • Close the connection by typing the following command:
    QUIT

  • You receive the following response:
    221 closing connection

You can then log on to the client mailbox you created earlier and if the inbound IMS is working, then the message will be visible.


Adesh Rampat has 10 years experience with network and IT administration. He is a member of the Association Of Internet Professionals, the Institute For Network Professionals, and the International Webmasters Association. He has also lectured extensively on a variety of topics.


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