Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 – Diagnostic Logging

Introduction to Exchange Server 2003 Diagnostic Logs

Diagnostic Logging – Exchange 2003’s ultimate tool for troubleshooting email problems.  Once you set Diagnostic logging, then you can collect extra information about any of the Exchange 2003 services, for example, MSExchangeTransport, SMTP.

Topics for Exchange  Server 2003 Diagnostic Logs

You can collect even more data by increasing the level of diagnostic logging.  However this comes with a health warning, excessive logging will slow down your server, so always remember to reset to Minimum, once you have finished troubleshooting.


How to get information about email services

Keep in mind the link between Exchange System Manager, which turns on the Diagnostic logging, and the Application log which displays the resulting information.  Once the Exchange 2003 server has chance to generate information, open the Application log and sift through the event ID numbers for information about the cause of the email problem.  It’s a good idea to help the process along by sending test messages.

To turn on Diagnostic logging, launch the Exchange System Manager.  Here are instructions to set a Medium or Maximum level logging.

Instructions on How to Find Diagnostic Logging

  1. Exchange 2003 Server Diagnostic LoggingOpen the Exchange System Manager
  2. * Drill Down To Administrative Groups
  3. * First Administrative Group
  4. Servers
  5. Find your Server e.g. Paris
  6. Properties, Diagnostic Logging Tab
  7. (None), Minimum, Medium, Maximum

* Depends on how you set the Display options

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Diagnostics Logging Tab

Each Exchange 2003 service is capable of recording extra information.  Select the service, for example : MSExchangeTransport, then Select the Category.  Finally move the radio button along the bottom menu and select your Logging Level: Minimum, Medium or Maximum.

Exchange 2003 Diagnostic Logging, Services and Categories

Once you have collected enough information in the Application Log, remember to reset the logging level to None.  If you do not turn off the Logging the Exchange 2003 server performance will deteriorate rapidly.

Exchange Services to Log

Exchange Service

What to look for in the
Application Log

MSExchangeAL – Address Lists Example ID 8026, network problem, or LDAP configuration
MSExchangeIS – Exchange Information Store Example ID 9518, trying to start a store which is offline
MSExchangeMTA – Message deliveryExample ID 9411, disk is full MTA needs 10 MB free space
MSExchangeSA – Active Directory related (System Attendant)Example ID 9543. Permissions error
MSExchangeTransport – SMTP Routing. Example, ID 4000, possible cause DNS with incorrect MX record
MSExchangeActiveSynchNotify – ActiveSynch. 

Increasing SMTP Logging to Debug Level 7

Windows 2003 provides numerous opportunities to increase logging by adjusting settings in the registry.  Many registry objects have a Diagnostics sub folder.  In this instance we can employ Regedit to increase SMTP logging on the MSExchangeTransport.

The scenario: Despite your best efforts, the email is still not getting through.  To collect more data you launch Regedit, then increase the SMTP logging to debug level 7.

Start your Registry Editor:  Start (Menu), Run, Regedit (type), Enter.

Drill down to this registry key :
\MSExchangeTransport\Diagnostics\SMTP Protocol
Set the value to 7.

Here is another area to edit: Message Categorizer Logging to Debug Level 7
Drill down to: 
Set the value to 7.

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Summary of Exchange Server 2003 Diagnostic Logging

When you are troubleshooting email delivery, if at first you cannot solve the problem, then collect more evidence by turning on Diagnostic logging.  When you have finished remember to turn off Diagnostic logging otherwise, your server will seem sluggish.  Incidentally, Diagnostic logging is a technique that you learn once, then apply to numerous Windows 2003 services, for example DNS.

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See Also