Queue Viewer Improvements in Exchange 2003

What has changed since Exchange 2000 ?

The Microsoft Exchange Product team really improved the Queue Viewer during the development of Exchange 2003. One of the best things they did was to remove the enumerate functionality (most of you probably remember you had to enumerate the content of each queue container in order to see what it contained), now you just double-click on a specific queue to see whats in it.

The most  noticeable change though is you no longer have to navigate down beneath each virtual SMTP servers in order to view its queue, now you can view all X.400 and SMTP Virtual Server queues from within one single object named Queues, this object is placed directly under the respective Exchange server in the Exchange System Manager.

So to get an overview of all queues from each existing SMTP Virtual Server, you simply drill down to the Queues container in the Exchange System Manager as shown below:

4 New buttons

The first thing you will notice here is 4 new buttons, I will describe the purpose of each below.

Disable Outbound Mail
The Disable Outbound Mail button allows you to disable outbound mail from all SMTP queues. For example, this can be useful if a virus is active in your organization.

The Disable Outbound Mail option does not disable the MTA or System queues

You can also freeze individual queues by right-clicking them then choosing Freeze on the menu.

Find Message
The Find Message button allows you to search for messages by specifying search criteria such as the sender or recipient and the message state (such as Frozen). You can also specify the number of messages you want the search to return.

This button makes it so much easier and convenient than the enumerate 100 messages functionality in Exchange 2000.

The Settings button allows to you determine the frequency at which the all the queues are refreshed. The default rate at which the queues are refreshed is every 2 minutes. You can set the refresh rate to 1 minute, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, or Never refresh.

You can also do a manual refresh either by hitting F5, clicking Refresh in the Toolbar or choosing Action > Refresh in the menu.

The help button shouldn’t need any further explanation.

Viewing additional information

It’s now possible to view additional information about a queue simply by left-clicking on it, the information will then be shown in the bottom of the Queue Viewer pane (under additional queue information).

The information includes:

  • Troubleshooting information

  • Information about errors returned from Exchange specific extensions to the SMTP service, (for example, errors due to remote server connection problems)

  • Information about queue availability (for example, if the SMTP service has not started)

Viewing previously hidden queues

The Exchange 2003 Queue Viewer introduces 3 new queue types that were not visible in Exchange 2000, those are DSN messages pending submission, Failed message retry queue and Messages queued for deferred delivery.

Queue Types

Below I will go through each Queue type listed in the Queue Viwer pane.

DSN messages pending submission – SMTP
This folder contains Delivery Status Notifications awaiting delivery. Its primarily used for NDR’s – Non Delivery Reports.

Failed message retry queue – SMTP
Contains outbound messages which couldn’t be delivered to their destination but will be given another attempt.

Local delivery – SMTP
Contains inbound messages for delivery to mailboxes on the Exchange server.

Messages awaiting directory lookup – SMTP
Contains inbound messages awaiting recipient lookup in Active Directory.

Messages pending submission – SMTP
Contains messages accepted by the SMTP virtual server, but hasn’t yet been processed.

Messages queued for deferred delivery – SMTP
Contains messages queued for deferred delivery (later time).

Messages waiting to be routed – SMTP/X400
Contains outbound SMTP/X400 messages still waiting to be routed to their destination server, when it has been determined the message will be sent.

SMTP Small/Small/Medium/Pro – X400
Contains messages which are going in and out of the mailboxes located in each respective mailstore store which currently exists on the Exchange server.

Queue Folder icons

Depending on their state each queue will be represented by a different folder icon as shown below:

– indicates an active state

 – indicates a ready state

– indicates a retry state

 – indicate a warning state such as Not available or Error

Deleting a message from a Queue

If a mail message has been stuck in a queue and you wish to delete it, you do this the following way:

  • Highlight the Queue
  • Click the Find Messages button
  • Click Find Now
  • Rightclick on the Mail Message (in the search results field)
  • Choose either Delete (With NDR) or Delete (No NDR)

Delete (With NDR) deletes the mail message and sends a NDR – Non Delivery Report to the sender, Delete (No NDR) deletes it without notifying the sender.

Relevant reading

What’s New in Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 (Online Book – Chapter 3)
821901 – HOW TO: Flush the SMTP Mail Queue in Exchange Server 2003
822944 – How to Delete Messages from Queues in Exchange Server 2003

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