A Look at the Exchange Monitor 2003 Tool
Exchange Monitor 2003 is a free little tool (actually nothing more than a Hypertext Application aka .HTA file) created by Jeffery Hicks who’s the guy behind JDH Information Technology Solutions and also an active scripting guy over at ScriptingAnswers.com. Exchange Monitor 2003 can monitor your Exchange servers, the services running on them, as well as stop, start and restart the Exchange services. You can also enabled and disable each service as required.
Exchange Monitor 2003 also exists in a special plus version with added functionalities. This version can be acquired for the mere sum of $9.99. I’ll explain later in this article what additional features you get with this version.
As you can see below, Exchange Monitor 2003 doesn’t have any extraordinary requirements.
- Windows XP, Windows 2000/2003
- Exchange 2000/2003
- Administrative credentials
- 800x600 screen resolution or greater
The Exchange Monitor 2003 tool was created with the intention of running it from an Exchange administrator’s workstation, although it runs just fine on a server as well. If installing on the application on a workstation, you should bear in mind that you need to launch Exchange Monitor 2003 with domain admin credentials.
Installing Exchange 2003 Monitor
The Exchange 2003 Monitor tool is very easy to install, you should start by getting a copy here (if you’re using Exchange 2000 you should use this version instead). When you have downloaded the application (shouldn’t take more than a couple of seconds as we’re talking about 63K, yes Kilobytes and not megabytes!)
Click Accept in the License Agreement dialog box as shown in Figure 1 below.
Figure 1: Accepting the License Agreement
You now have to specify the folder in which you want to install Exchange 2003 Monitor (default should be just fine). When you have done so click Install (see Figure 2 below).
Figure 2: Specify where you wish to install Exchange 2003 Monitor
After a couple of seconds the installation wizard exits and the application is installed.
Using Exchange Monitor 2003
It’s time to launch Exchange 2003 Monitor, if you’re logged on with an account that has the necessary permissions we can do so simply by clicking Start > Program Files > ExchangeMon2003 as shown in Figure 3 below.
Figure 3: Exchange 2003 Monitor added to the Start Menu
Exchange Monitor 2003 will now retrieve the required Exchange server information from your Active Directory domain (Figure 4) and, depending on the amount of servers, shortly thereafter start.
Figure 4: Retrieving Exchange server information from Active Directory
We now have to select the Exchange Server we want to monitor, we do this from the drop-down box shown in Figure 5. When you have selected the respective Exchange server click the Check button to the right of the drop-down box.
Figure 5: Selecting the Exchange Server to monitor
You’re now presented with a list of the selected Exchange server’s Exchange services, as well as the state and Start mode of each of them. By default the refresh interval is set to 30 seconds (see Figure 6).
Figure 6: Overview of Exchange Services and their status
Let’s try to stop and disable the Exchange 2003 POP3 service. To do this we first click on the State button, where after we get the dialog box shown in Figure 7 below. Now click Yes.
Figure 7: Stopping an Exchange Service
After the next refresh the State will be changed to Stopped. We can now disable the service by clicking on the Auto button.
Figure 8: Changing the Start Mode of the Exchange 2003 POP3 Service
Click Yes, type 4 then click OK.
Figure 9: Service Management
The Exchange 2003 POP3 service has now been disabled as you can see below.
Figure 10: Stopped and disabled Exchange 2003 POP3 Service
Okay, some of you might say you don’t need a 3rd party tool to monitor the Exchange 2003 services, as you can just configure the native Exchange monitoring tool to send you an e-mail or other type of alert should an Exchange service stop. I agree Exchange 2003 Monitor is a bit limited in functionality, but I think it gives a good demonstration of the possibilities when creating Exchange scripts. And hey, we’re not done yet! For the mere sum of $9.99 you can get your hands on Exchange Monitor 2003 Plus, which adds a bit more functionality, as I’ll show you below. In order to purchase the Exchange Monitor 2003 Plus version click the Buy Now button under this link.
As the installation procedure is identical to the one we went through earlier on in this article, I won’t go through it again.
When you have installed Exchange Monitor 2003 Plus, you can start the application via Start > Program Files > ExchangeMonPlus just like is the case with the free version. After a few seconds a page similar to the one we already looked at pops up (see Figure 11 below), but this time you get a listed view of each Exchange Server in the organization. Here you can see the Ping status of each server as well as the state of the System Attendant, Information store and Routing Engine service. As you can see this list is, by default, also set to a refresh rate of 30 seconds.
Figure 11: Listed view of Exchange Servers in the organization
Let’s get on to the more interesting features included in the plus version, therefore click on one of the server buttons on the left side of the page. This will bring you to a page similar to the one showed below.
Figure 12: List of Administrative Groups
Here you can see details about the Administrative Groups, whether it’s a front-end server, if subject logging is enabled etc. You also get a complete list of the Exchange services on the given server. If you scroll further down you will see each existing storage group and how much disk space it accumulates as well as an overview of the SMTP queues on the server, very neat.
Figure 13: Storage Group overview
Figure 14: SMTP Server queues
Some of you may also have noticed the Manage Server, and are wondering what it does. Well it opens the Computer Management snap-in connected to the respective Exchange server (see Figure 15).
Figure 15: Computer Management snap-in
Below I’ve listed some of Jeff’s planned improvements for ExchangeMonPlus.
- Export or print feature
- Drill down option for more detail in some of the server utilization information such as reporting on individual mailbox utilization
- Ability to specify alternate credentials
- Links to Exchange related web sites
- Links to start other management tools like System Manager (if installed locally)
- Store update interval in registry so that the next time you start the tool, it uses the last update value set
- Improved UI
The Exchange Monitor 2003 tool does an excellent job of showing what’s possible when it comes to Exchange 2003 scripting (most of the information provided are pulled via WMI!). Agreed, the application is of little use for mid-size to large organization, which typically use a monitoring solution such as MOM 2005, HP OpenView or TNG UniCenter. But it can actually be quite handy for a small business that doesn’t have the budget for such a monitoring solution.