ActiveSync Calendar Exchange Exchange 2007 Uncategorized Windows Mobile

The case of the disappearing Windows Mobile battery charge

A couple of days ago I discovered that just a few hours into the day my phone’s battery was already down below 50% charge.  For the remainder of that day, and the following day it continued to chew battery charge like it was going out of fashion.  Needless to say with the work I was doing at the time I could not do much about it, just grin and bear it and use every opportunity to top up.
Yesterday I was sat in a Lincolnshire auction rooms with my wife watching over 400 lots go over the space of 3 or 4 hours.  Some of these were lots from her parents’ estate that she and her fellow executors were selling, but many were not, and quite rapidly it got tedious.
So I set to on the phone.
Whilst generally looking around I checked ActiveSync (it connects to my Exchange Server) and found it syncing the last 2 appointments (it was about 1097/1099 done).  So I killed it, when it failed to die, I soft reset the phone (a common Windows Mobile diagnostic trick!) and synchronised again.  This time (I have forgotten the numbers) it was 2 short, but then the total and the number completed increased by 2, and then again.  It seemed to be in a massive loop always trying to synchronise 2 more appointments.
So I thought I’d clean up the calendar – this I did by removing it from the Synchronisation list, letting the phone delete all the calendar data, and then recreate the link.  This time the synchronisation got to 395/397, but then it jumped to 397/399, and then 399/401.  I could see this would not end, so stopped the sync.
As all my data is held primarily on Exchange and the phone has no original content, I knew I could delete the connection and start again, just to take diagnosis to a second level.  So the Exchange connection was deleted – the content deleted (this takes a while when you are an Outlook junkie!!), and the phone left blank of Exchange data.
I then re-created the line, connected and downloaded email, then contacts, then tasks.  These all synchronised fine, so finally I added in the calendar synchronisation again – annoyingly the “all but 2 appointments” fault recurred so I stopped and removed calendar; and left it like that – I could fix it tonight.  My resolution was to wait until I got back to the office and then move my calendar items out with Outlook and then move them back in until the error recurred.  My feeling was that there were 2 corrupt appointments causing this problem.
However, later that day, over coffee and cake, curiosity got hold of me and I (to my wife’s rolling eyes reaction!) played around a bit.  For some reason (not really sure why – but it seemed like a good idea at the time!) I decided to scroll through the empty calendar.  To my surprise I found 2 recurring appointments in the diary – these were recently created (a week or so ago), and of course as the calendar was deleted, should not have been there.  So I took notes of the contents and deleted the 2 items.  It seemed too much of a co-incidence to ignore.
Then came the acid test – I re-established the calendar link in ActiveSync and synchronised.  It worked! 395/395 appointments transferred.  And no errors.
That meant of course that my evening appointment with Outlook was now cancelled and I would not have to contemplate the rebuild of the phone from a factory reset as a possible diagnostic step.  Hurrah (twice over).
Of course, I’ve yet to see the data package bill for the damn phone continually trying to synchronise those 2 appointments over a 36 hour period L  But at least I know my sync is working properly again.
Bad Decision Exchange Exchange 2007 Exchange 2010 Uncategorized

The delights of Exchange Server 2007 SP2 installation

Updated 1/6 13:40 to clarify a point made by email
I thought I’d document (albeit in not too much detail) the delights I discovered this weekend.

Being self-employed my network is a bit of test and dev environment – at times I am bleeding edge running beta code, at others a bit behind the curve.  The latter is true on my production Exchange infrastructure – but as email is so critical – that was OK.

But by now, although Exchange 2007 is working and on the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it theory” I had left well alone the upgrade to Exchange 2010 was overdue, and I thought I’d make some progress on it.  But…

First off, Exchange 2010 requires that you upgrade your environment to Exchange 2007 SP2 as a minimum for 2010 to install.  I’d not done that largely as to find a period of downtime where I will not impact my business email or my wife’s business’s co-located email setup has been tricky for some months due to the long term illnesses and now recent deaths of our fathers.  But now, having downloaded (again – just to be sure) the modest (!) 800MB+ service pack file I set to the task (along with the Update Rollup 4 that is the latest for Exchange 2007).

The installation went well, and the SP2 install also applies all the schema changes required for your network to support Exchange 2010 as well, so that would save on that server install.  Good.  I started with my HUBCAS server (I have a separate MBX server).

However as soon as I rebooted the server after the update things went a tad wrong.  Several services refused to start – Microsoft Exchange File Distribution, Service Host, Transport and Transport Log Search.  Active Directory Topology was experience lots of errors, and the whole thing stank.  It began to feel like my last problem (Exchange 2007 slow start up fixed); so I quickly checked out the servers and confirmed that no spurious IP addresses existed in DNS or on the Domain Controllers.

So, some further investigation was required.  As is my usual practice I archived and cleared the event logs, and rebooted the server.  This gives me a clean eventlog to check through, and also from a clean boot so I know that the event list I am looking at is directly the fault of the issue, and not clouded by other stuff (FWIW – for years I have also fully rebooted servers [if possible] before upgrades and archive/clear event logs then, so that a) I know the machine boots OK, b) the event logs don’t overflow or show me old rubbish).

So the errors were still piling up, the services were still not starting.  I was seeing events 2114 2604 1014 from the AD Topology, and found these 2 links:
These pages report that post Update Rollup 5 on Exchange 2007 the performing of the certificate revocation checks that the managed code performs during service boot can time out and cause services to fail to start.  That looked good as I do have some connectivity issues being over 6km from the BT exchange for my broadband, so went down that route.  I changed the HOSTS files as suggested for both the IPv4 and IPv6 address ( and ::1); but that had no impact.

So then I reverted the HOSTS changes and instead assigned specific IPv6 addresses to the servers and tried that – no good – again.

By this time (given that I clear logs and reboot between each test) I was starting to get more than a bit annoyed with all the time I was losing.  I headed over to instead to research some of the event id’s. Eventually… after searching for ages over various event id’s I came across this page:  Notes on 2114 error in MSExchangeDSAccess .  Joe Richard’s comment was something that intrigued me, so I hopped over to a DC and discovered that the my site’s IP range (and assignment to the site) in Active Directory Sites and Services was missing.  SHOCK HORROR. *Updated – however although all was working well recently, I\’ve no idea (for now) when this disappeared; I\’d really like to blame the SP2 AD upgrade :-).  If i find out, I\’ll add more

I quickly fixed this (and replicated around the network), but disappointingly the services did not play ball.  I restarted DNS everywhere, but no dice.  Ever the optimist (!), I took the decision to reboot the DC’s and then the exchange boxes to force everything through (I could not be bothered to stop/start services until it played.

Hallelujah.  The services all came up cleanly

So some 8 or 9 hours later I was finally on track to install an Exchange 2010 server…
Exchange Exchange 2007 Fixed Problem Uncategorized

Exchange 2007 problem licked (I hope!)

I\’ve had a number of occasions when my test lab Exchange 2007 servers (a Mailbox and a HubCas box) start up and then give me errors on a number of service and fail to start. This is normally because I\’ve taken action to stop all my VM\’s copy some datastores and then start up again. It\’s usually a weekend activity, but due to power fluctuations and some hassle, it happened this afternoon.

Usually some brute force stop/start activity (it is a test lab!) fixes it, but over a period of time, and today was no exception. However trouble struck again tonight, and for some reason I decided enough was enough. The events (amongst others) are 2114 on DS Access, and a whole bunch on Topology checks

I hit the usual options (Google, Microsoft knowledgebase, and and came up with a bunch of links that I looked at, a couple interested me (for different reasons!)
Microsoft Knowledgebase  (note how this one is nicely for Exchange 2003/2000 and not 2007!)

Event id’s page came up with a whole host of options, but in this case the words
“A possible root cause is an additional DNS A record for a DC in the Exchange Servers Site, record that happens to be for an interface for which the Exchange Server has no connectivity.
In our case, all of our servers have a secondary NIC that is used for tape backup traffic. This interface has no routing to the real network that AD and Exchange live on. So here\’s what, even though DNS registration is disabled on this secondary NIC, it still registers itself. If a system has DNS installed, each time the DNS Server starts or a zone is reloaded, it registers all interfaces that are configured to answer DNS queries. To determine if the Exchange server (or any member server or client) has resolved an IP for a DC, use nltest /dsgetdc:\”domain\”. See M275554 for additional information”
Piqued my interest.

This was because the main DC in my network (originally the workhorse that ran my entire business 6 years ago) does have a bunch of IP’s on it:
• My main network’s IP
• A IP from a second subnet for connecting to other kit
• 2 NIC’s from VMware Server (which is hosting a single “off my ESX kit” VirtualCentre VM for management purposes*)

So I wondered – were the Exchange boxes selecting a bad IP to use for AD Topology Discovery and getting confused.

So, I:
• Disabled the VMware NIC’s (not strictly necessary in my setup)
• Removed the second subnet from the ‘proper’ NIC
• Removed the (now invalid) A records from my internal DNS servers
• IPCONFIG /FLUSHDNS on the exchange boxes (just in case)

On restart of the exchange services everything came up trumps!

Time for bed methinks.

*The reason for this is that if I hose the ESX setup, I can still manage it – VMware (and I) recommend in a proper production setup , self hosting the VirtualCentre box

Updated: a few minutes later…
As a full test of \”does this work\”, I\’ve restarted all the Exchange boxes, and it works a treat.  Services came up really fast this time (normally I just leave running and come back after a cuppa), but no, this time almost as soon as I had logged onto the servers, the services were running.  Nice!