May 30 2013

Exchange 2010 Backups fail with Replica Writer Error

We had a backup fail this week with an error stating something to the lines of Exchange Writer is in a failed state.

After some digging around I found that the Microsoft Exchange Replica Writer was in a failed state. To check the writers do the following:

  1. Open the command prompt on the Exchange server where the backup is failing. (In my case the server with the passive copies)
  2. In the command prompt type: vssadmin list writers and hit enter.
  3. You will now see a list of all the writers with their current state.

The picture below shows the writer in the failed state.


To resolve this issue I had to restart the Exchange Replication Service

I then re-ran vssadmin list writers in the command prompt and it showed its state as stable and the backups went through.

May 30 2013

When installing Exchange 2010 you receive “The start mode for the Net. TCP Port Sharing service must be set to Automatic before Setup can continue”

During my lab testing and installing Exchange Server 2010 on Windows Server 2008 R2 I keep receiving this pre-requisite that fails.

The start mode for the Net. TCP Port Sharing service must be set to Automatic before Setup can continue.

As far as I know (I might be wrong) this pre-requisite only fails the readiness check on Windows Server 2008 R2. In order to set the Net.TCP Port Sharing Service to Automatic at start-up do the following:

  1. Open Power Shell on the Windows 2008 R2 Server that you are trying to install Exchange 2010.
  2. Type: Set-Service NetTcpPortSharing -StartupType Automatic
  3. Hit enter.
  4. Run the Exchange installation wizard again and you should be good to go.

A good idea is to run the cmdlts on each of the Exchange server roles before you start installing Exchange 2010 as per this Microsoft article.

May 18 2013

Outlook Web Access not displaying correctly when using IE 10 and Exchange 2003

Tonight I was busy patching my servers for the monthly scheduled patch cycle and tested Outlook Web Access from my home PC. I received the results below.




owa error with IE10





After almost having a miniature heart attack, I tested Outlook Web Access from my work laptop (IE 8) and home PC using Chrome. OWA displayed and functioned correctly as expected. I then checked the IE versions.
Home PC = IE 10 (Recently upgraded)
Work Laptop = IE 8

After a quick search on the internet I found an article by Pete Long who posted a work around on his blog. It seems like IE 10 is not compatible with OWA 2003. The work around needs to be done within Internet Explorer 10.
Here’s the link to Pete Long’s article:

My personal opinion: Time to migrate to Exchange 2010 or even consider 2013 as the benefits and improvements over 2003 is worth every Rand, Dollar, Pound, Pula etc. Not to even talk about the support costs to support 2003 and the ancient out of warranty hardware that it’s  probably running on.


May 16 2013

Error stating “Please select a root (/) partition before proceeding” when trying to install to a selected partition in Manjaro

I got my hands on a Manjaro Linux distribution today and decided to install and play with it.

I got confronted with the below error after running through the initial setup steps and trying to choose the partition that Manjaro needed to be installed to.









After trying a few things and lots of disk partitioning I found how to install Manjaro to the root partition as shown in the short video below. This would hopefully save you some time and get to installing and enjoying Manjaro.


May 16 2013

User is unable to access his mailbox using Outlook WebApp or with the Outlook client

We had quite a mind twister yesterday with a user that was unable to access his mailbox using his Outlook client nor Outlook WebApp.

Some history on this issue:

We have a 3rd party company migrating the users to our Exchange systems. This means that some duplicate accounts are being migrated to our Active Directory environment. The duplicate accounts obviously started confusing people and some tech’s deleted wrong accounts and mailboxes etc.

Overall it got quite messy a few times. A lot of “decryption of information” is done  by the time the incidents reaches my team.

This particular problem was quite interesting because we asked the desktop engineer to access Outlook WebApp to test if he is able to access the mailbox in question. The error received stated that the user account is disabled. We checked and double checked, heck even triple checked  but that account was not disabled and the user is supposed to be able to access his mailbox.

We verified permissions on the mailbox itself but the user just could not connect to his mailbox. The user was able to logon to Active Directory and use all his other services but just not his mailbox.

I then found that there was a disconnected mailbox for the user in Exchange 2010.

What I then did was open power shell and ran: Get-MailboxDatabase | Clean-MailboxDatabase 

The disconnected mailbox then just disappeared without telling Exchange to delete the disconnected mailbox. Some research showed that the above command actually refreshes the information from Active Directory.

The user was able to connect to his mailbox using Outlook and OutlookWebapp after running this cmdlet.

If you however need to delete the disconnected mailbox you can run: Get-MailboxStatistics -Database “Database Name” | FL DisplayName, DisconnectDate, MailboxGuid

Then copy the mailbox you need to remove’s GUID and run:

Remove-Mailbox -Database “Database Name” -StoreMailboxIdentity “MailboxGuid” -Confirm:$False

Before looking in all the wrong places run that first cmdlet to “refresh” the information from Active Directory and test mailbox access again.