Wednesday, March 30, 2005

No single mailbox restore with Ntbackup!

You gotta be joking you mean we can't restore an individual mailbox using the supplied backup program with SBS2003.

I'm afraid guys that's still the case if you use the supplied SBS 2003 backup program you cannot carry out a single mailbox restore from tape or any other media for that matter.

Yes it is possible to recover the mailbox to another server, but hang on guys this is SBS let me spell it out Small! business server.

So what's the solution, buy a third party backup program that gives this function !
Have to admit, maybe I'm a bit mean but I don't want to shell out for another backup program and to be honest having seen to many full recovery restores of Exchange going wrong because of third party vendor's backup software (you know who you are guys) I prefer to use NTBACKUP.

So what's the answer, well a couple of things can help us.

1) Deleted Item retension can be set at the store level, so even if a user deletes a mail and then removes it from their deleted items, they can still recover it using Tools, Recover Deleted Items.

How long should you retain deleted items, well that depends I have to admit I set it to 90 days on most sites however you need to be careful as this obviously impacts our mail storage capacity of 16GB for the private mailbox store usually C:\programfiles\exchsrvr\mdbdata
comprises of 2 files priv1.edb and priv1.stm.

2) Recovery Storage Group - Now this is new to Exchange 2003 and allows us to create a separate directory on the server into which we can restore a previous copy of the private information store.

Ah so does this mean we can access an earlier version of a person's mailbox, yes it does but we need to be careful.

Firstly you cannot access this recovery store from outlook you can only access the contents by exported the mailbox(s) / mails you need by using a utility like EXMERGE but it does give partially solve the problem.

Let me know if it's of interest and I will post up the full procedure (or at least a link) and also if you would like to take a look at exmerge you can get it here. (By the way this is a link to a Microsoft site but by using the website you can shorten any cumbersome links to something easy to manage

Please jump on in with comments, and if you have any tips or info you'd like to put up on the site please let me know (won't be able to pay you though ,,,,,,,)


Monday, March 28, 2005

Setting up your SMTP Server

Hopefully everyone is recovering from the Easter Break. Well that's my only excuse for not posting on this blog, that and sheer laziness.

Anyway thought I would throw in an answer I posted to question concerning getting Exchange in SBS 2003 setup as an SMTP server.

I think your asking how to setup Exchange email.
You nearly have everything. I am going to assume you want to use SMTP
(Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) asyou have your own domain and 30 users.
You need a DNS MX record created to point to your static ip.
It depends on who you have your internet domain hosted with, you may be able to use a webbased control panel to change it yourself or you may have to contact the registrar (supplier) and ask them to create 2 records.
1) An A or host record defining a host name for your IP address for example something like SRV.YOURDOMAIN.COM pointing to the static IP address.

2) Then an MX record which points to the host defined in step 1 (An MX record allows other mail servers on the internet to find your mail server and send email)

3) Once you have the above in place you should run the Configure Email and internet Connection wizard accessed from the To do list in ServerManagement.Mike take a look at this link an archived post by Javier which explains the full process very well

If you need any more help just post back here.Hope this helps Regards Mark (The Irish MCT)MCT,MCSE,MCSE+I,CNA,INET+

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Ronan - Maintenance Required to keep SBS oiled

Thanks Ronan for the comment,
As soon as I get a chance I will throw up a full list of Daily, Weekly and Monthly tasks which should be carried out on SBS to ensure a smooth running network.

In the meantime checkout the following link on Harry B's Websitefor a list of best practices documents

Ronan Mc Namara said...
Hello Mark,Well done on setting up your blog "living with an SBS Obsession". I believe that it will be of great use to all of us out here in cyberland to help identify and share more benefits and questions that we may have for you on SBS etc. I would like to ask this question.... Could you name 10 best practices for Maintenance of SBS2003 which could be carried out including remote access and methods of informing the customer/IT representative on site of helping this to be best achieved.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Wap is dead, Long live Wap (OMA)

Contrary to popular belief WAP is not completly useless. You might remember a couple of years ago there was a lot of hype about accessing the internet using a subset of HTML for mobile devices namely Wireless Access protocol.

Unfortunately the reality never lived up to the hype and WAP was really outshone by it's less hyped sibling SMS.

However thanks to the built in mobility features in Exchange 2003 Standard Edition included in SBS we can use Outlook Mobile Access (OMA) to access your inbox, caledar and even your contacts when you are on the move even if you don't have anything fancier than last year's mobile phone.

Smartphone not required, as long as your mobile supports WAP then you are in business, configuring OMA is straightforward and will allow all employees quick access to their mailboxes whether they are on site or in the car.

Take a look at this really good article from Daniel Petri (MCSE)

Hope everyone had a great Paddy's weekend

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

A shot in the dark !

Well to be honest that's what it feels like when I use Outlook and attempt to use the built in search.

Outlook 2003 is a great email and calendaring application however the built in search function leaves a lot to be desired. Found this great free addin for Outlook called LOOKOUT.

Lookout can be downloaded from here and it adds a really powerful free text capability to all your mail folders, check it out.

Just a quick blog this time ! Mark

Sunday, March 13, 2005

How to find out if your Mail server is an Open Relay

As more and more small businesses have started to use their own mail servers I thought it would make sense to limit the impact spammers can have.

Basically if your mail server is an open relay spammers can use your mail server to distribute thousands of junk mails.

Not only does this contribute to other users problems with junk mail it also impacts the realibility of your mail server and ultimately could cause your mail server to be blacklisted.

Best practice to make sure you are not an open relay use one of the free open relay testing sites like this one

How to quickly check if an email has been sent to the right address

It often happens to me, a customer calls and is worried the email they sent to their supplier or solictor or whatever hasn't been sent.

Our usual response is to tell them to wait a couple of hours and call us if it still a problem.

Doesn't sound like a very logical troubleshooting approach I think you'll agree.

Well there is a better way. If you take a look at a web site called and scroll to the bottom of the page there is link in the centre of the page which will allow you to run a mail test. Simply plug in the email address that the customer spells out for you and away you go, not only will this tell you whether the mail servers for the detination are up and working but it will give you a fairly good indication if the receipient is spelled correctly (Not always I admit) however armed with this information and if you also get the customer to send an email to an auto-responder for example which will normally bounce back a response in less than 5 minutes you can give your customer a much less vague answer and pretty much prove their email is working and possibly also spot if they got the destination email wrong.

Any other ideas out there how the above tip might be further improved ?

And it began !

Hello Everyone,

Let me introduce myself my name is Mark Mulvany and I hail from Dublin in Ireland, I am a self-confessed technoholic, as can be evidenced by the fact I have created this blog after midnight on a Sunday morning.

My primary purpose of writing this blog is to share my obsession with you for all things technical but in particular SBS (Small Business Server) 2003 and other technologies that can be employed by SMB.

Some of you might be aware that SBS 2003 is Microsoft's small business server and like a lot of techies from a large enterprise backgrounds I initially felt that this product was a cutdown backoffice product especially my first experiences with SBS 4.5 (NT 4.0 and Exchange 5.5) were let's just say less than satisfying.

I have spent almost 15 years working with Microsoft products and networks although in the early days I have to admit I preferred Novell Netware to the earlier versions of NT.

Coming back to the present I would like to share my experiences with SBS 2003 and at the same time learn from other peoples forays into small business networking.

Having spent the last 5 or 6 years teaching Networking this is really my first practical attempt to express my views outside of a classroom having found in the past websites didn't suit by let's just say free flowing writing style (fell free to add laughter / derison at this point)

My first tip or to quote a favorite author of mine "BEST PRACTICE" if you are interested in what makes SBS 2003 tick take a look at Harry B site
Harry has some great books on SBS and a free monthly newsletter which is well worth a look.

Yes I freely admit this blog will be techie but I hope I will be able to provide some useful tips
and maybe share some of my expierences and learn from anyone else who would care to share their insights or even their questions.

I'd better sign off blogs are supposed to be sharp and straight to the point !!