Fix-it: SBS 2003, 16 gig Exchange Limit, Event IDs 9175 and 445

In General, Microsoft, Software by Michael Sheehan14 Comments

Ran into a complicated emergency today. An office that I support suddenly could not connect any of their Outlook clients to their Exchange Server. It was very weird and I got sidetracked by the fact that my own ISP was having email issues with my domain (turned out they were completely unrelated). Before I get into the process, here are the details:

  • Small Business Server 2003 – Release 2
  • Symptoms:
    • Users could not connect to Exchange via Outlook
    • Web Outlook was producing errors

Armed with that little bit of info, I tried to start digging into things. I found within the Servers event logs, a recurring error:

Event Type: Error
Event Source: MSExchangeSA
Event Category: MAPI Session
Event ID: 9175
Date:  9/20/2007
Time:  3:53:59 PM
User:  N/A
The MAPI call ‘OpenMsgStore’ failed with the following error:
The attempt to log on to the Microsoft Exchange Server computer has failed.
The MAPI provider failed.
Microsoft Exchange Server Information Store
ID no: 8004011d-0512-00000000

 A search on that Event ID produced all sorts of interesting results. I must have read through the first 15-20 entries there and settled on this Microsoft Knowledge Base article (#320705). [NOTE: this is NOT what I ended up doing!] I started to go through the steps and decided before I started running command line switches on things, messing with moving the Information Store around or merging .PST files, I would read up and dig around a bit more in the Event log.

I figured that it would be important to do a little forensics to see if I could see another event that may have caused the Information Store to crap out. So, I found an event that happened right before all of the 9175’s started happening. This is what it contained:

Event Type: Warning
Event Source: ESE
Event Category: Space Management
Event ID: 445
Date:  9/20/2007
Time:  1:46:26 PM
User:  N/A
Information Store (4996) First Storage Group: The database F:\Exchsrvr\MDBDATA\priv1.edb has reached its maximum size of 16383 MB. If the database cannot be restarted, an offline defragmentation may be performed to reduce its size.

Hmmm…that started to ring a bell a bit. I remembered our own company had a similar issue with Exchange where there was a limit to the File Store of 16 GBs. Why, Microsoft in its infinite wisdom put such a low limit on an Exchange Server storage, I have no clue. My own account was over 2 gigs and there were more that 20 people using that server. I tried to look up what version of Exchange was running on my client’s install of SBS 2003 R2 and it looked like it was Service Pack 1 of Exchange 2003. BINGO! If Microsoft allowed it, all that I needed to do (I hoped) was to install Service Pack 2 which allows for the File Store to be increase up to 75 Gigs…that is what I needed. (Thanks to my coworker for pointing me down the right path here…in times of crisis, it is nice to have people in the right places who offer to help!)

Back to Google to see if Exchange SP2 can be installed on SBS 2003…and I came across this FAQ on Microsoft. In it, I came upon the answers I was looking for:

Q. Does SP2 work on Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003?
A. Yes. Windows Small Business Server 2003 with SP1 fully supports Exchange Server 2003 SP2. Exchange Server 2003 SP2 was tested to ensure compatibility.

Q. Did the storage limit change for SP2?
A. Based on feedback from customers and because of the evolution of e-mail usage, we are increasing the storage limit for Exchange Server 2003 Standard Edition with SP2 to 75 gigabytes (GB). In order to prevent the database from growing unexpectedly after an upgrade to SP2, the limit is set to 18 GB and can be set up to 75 GB by using a registry key. For more information about setting the limit, see the Exchange Server 2003 Help, updated during the SP2 installation.
Q. Does the storage limit change apply to Windows Small Business Server 2003?
A. Yes. Windows Small Business Server 2003 users can take advantage of the storage limit changes implemented in Exchange Server 2003 SP2.

GREAT! So the next thing was to get Exchange SP2 installed. The download is located here. (Saved you some search time, right?)

Installation went fine without issue. The installer stopped and started services as it was supposed to and everything updated perfectly. Once the install was complete, people could connect to Exchange via Outlook immediately. BUT WAIT! There was one more thing that had to be done after this upgrade. I guess that after the upgrade, the File Store is only updated to 18 Gigs (I believe). So, in order to really take advantage of more space, you have to do a registry hack. Here is what you need to do (oh, and one reminder: While I have personally done the steps above and they seemed to have worked for me, I cannot guarantee that they will work for you, nor that you are free from risk doing any of this stuff written above; you take these actions at your own risk and I will not be held responsible for anything “bad” that you may do to your computer...anyway…)
Here are the steps for the registry hack:

  1. Open your Registry Editor (if you don’t know how to do this…you shouldn’t be reading this article)
  2. Navigate to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\MSExchangeIS\<Servername>\Private-GUID
  3. Create a DWORD entry by right-clicking on the folder and selecting NEW > DWORD Value
  4. Enter a DECIMAL value of anything between 18 and 75 (making sure that it is not larger than the free space on the drive where your store resides)
  5. Do Steps 3 and 4 again with: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\MSExchangeIS\<Servername>\Public-GUID
  6. Exit the Registry Editor and go into Services and restart the “Microsoft Exchange Information Store”
  7. That’s it!

To check to see if your new setting was stored properly, wait a few minutes and then look for Event ID#1216. That event should give you details on your new Store size (example below).

Event Type: Information
Event Source: MSExchangeIS Mailbox Store
Event Category: General
Event ID: 1216
Date:  9/20/2007
Time:  4:25:24 PM
User:  N/A
The Exchange store ‘First Storage Group\Mailbox Store (XXXXXXXXX-SERVER)’ is limited to 50 GB. The current physical size of this database (the .edb file and the .stm file) is 15 GB. If the physical size of this database minus its logical free space exceeds the limit of 50 GB, the database will be dismounted on a regular basis.

WHEW! That is it. So, hopefully you found this article helpful. I tried to consolidate a lot of informations from different places into one. Let me kwow if this worked for you. And if you are really happy about it, leave a comment (and click on my ads – grin – ).

HTD Says: Overcome the Exchange 2003 SP1 16GB challenge and beat out Events 9175 and 445!