Monday, June 18, 2007

Problem Starting the Exchange 2003 System Attendant

Had a very odd problem this morning with one of our mail servers, and the guy who normally fixes them is on holiday so it landed in my lap.

The server was rebooted yesterday due to 'problems' (no one could tell me what they were) , and when it came back up none of the exchange services would start, the first error in the system log was:

Error 7000
The Microsoft Exchange System Attendant service failed to start due to the following error: The service did not respond to the start or control request in a timely fashion.

So another very useful Microsoft error to help me. I tried the obvious things like rebooting the global catalogue server, checked the size of the mail store etc but nothing was jumping out at me. The server hadn't had any patch's installed over the last week so I could rule that out.

I found a couple of web sites that said it might be a permissions problem in the registry, but that made no difference. I tried turning on more advanced logging options though the Exchange system manager but that didn't give me much extra info.

I then tried to start the system attendant not through the services, but by running the exe the serviced used, called mad.exe in the exchange\bin folder. Running this finally give me a clue as to what was wrong. I got an error saying it could not run due to address.dll being missing.

I found this file in a couple of places on the server, and tried re-registering it at first but to no avail. Then I copied it into the bin folder where the mad.exe was, and got no error! I then went back into services, and started all the exchange ones and they all came up fine, and users could get at there email again.

I have no idea why this happened, I dont see any reason for the file to be missing, and the fix was less than obvious

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