Category Archives: Monitoring Tools

Update – ExPerfWiz 1.4 has been released

ExPerfWiz 1.4 has been released on October 25th 2014

Following are the recent updates in the Experfwiz 1.4

Fixed Circular Logging bug in Windows 2008+
Added ability to convert BLG to CSV for 3rd party application analysis (does not need to be run from EMS, just Powershell 2.0+)
Updated maxsize for Exchange 2013 to default to 1024MB
Fixed filepath bug on Windows 2003
Added/Removed various counters
Fixed location of webhelp
Updated -help syntax

ExPerfWiz is a script developed by Microsoft to to collect the performance data together on Servers running Exchange 2007,2010 and 2013.

In the earlier version we have the option of running -nofull switch by which it will collect only the role based counters.The current version runs in full mode meaning which it collects all the performance counters related for Exchange troubleshooting purposes.

Below is the example to run the perfmon for a duration of 4 hours

Set duration to 4 hours, change interval to collect data every 5 seconds and set Data location to d:\Logs

.\experfwiz.ps1 -duration 04:00:00 -interval 5 -filepath D:\Logs

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If it finds previous data of Perfwiz logs it prompts for an option to delete the old entries, Stops the data collector sets, creates a new data collector sets and then it starts collecting the data.

Note: This script will take the local server name and will run locally on the serve  if no  remote server parameter  is specified.

More Examples can be found at – http://experfwiz.codeplex.com/

Source of Information  – https://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/exchange/en-US/f8aa3e90-d49f-479f-b00b-c8444afefa65/experfwiz-14-has-been-released?forum=exchangesvrgeneral

Thanks 
Sathish Veerapandian

MVP – Exchange Server 

PortQueryUI – GUI tool that can be used for troubleshooting port connectivity issues

At times we might run into scenarios where user unable to do  access any Exchange ,Lync,Mobility or any related External User Access functionalities. This might happen in multiple scenarios like in a new deployment, a firewall upgrade, a switch replacement or a network change etc.,

Microsoft has this Graphical User Interface of tool called PortQueryUI which can be used to troubleshoot these kind of scenarios with port connectivity issues.

Below explained is the functionality of this tool PortQueryUI.

Download the tool from the below link –

http://download.microsoft.com/download/3/f/4/3f4c6a54-65f0-4164-bdec-a3411ba24d3a/PortQryUI.exe

Accept the license agreement and proceed. Now we will be directed to unzip the files and choose a location to unzip.

 

PortQuery

Now we can open portquery UI application. There is no need to install this app and it opens up the GUI interface as shown below.

Its better to run this tool from the affected machine/server where we are experiencing the issues and then specify the destination IP of the server where we are experiencing the connectivity issues.

We could see there are 2 types of query.

1) Query Predefined Service – Which has few predefined services like, SQL,Web Service ,Exchange etc., .When we choose any predefined service it queries all the required ports and provides us the output of the result.

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2) Manually input Query ports – Which can be used to query any specific ports on UDP ,TCP or both as shown below.

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Also we have an option called predefined services  in the help tab which helps us to see the list of ports that it queries for any specific service that we choose.

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Below is an example for set of predefined services that it queries for Exchange.

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It has an option to save the query result as shown below. Also it allows the end user to customize config.xml or provide a config input file for list of query that defines their own services. The config file should follow the same format as config.xml since it accepts only xml inputs.

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This tool can be used to query open ports during any kind of troubleshooting scenarios.

Also published in – http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/27661.portqueryui-gui-tool-that-can-be-used-for-troubleshooting-port-connectivity-issues.aspx

References – http://windowsitpro.com/windows/gui-tool-displays-status-tcp-and-udp-ports

Thanks 

Sathish Veerapandian

MVP – Exchange Server

Product Review: SPAMfighter Exchange Module

Protecting the the IT infrastructure from Spam mails,Malicious codes ,Malwares is one of the important and challenging task and needs to be monitored always. There are different types of spam attack through which an user can try to crack the perimeter network of any organization and intrude to inject any kind of malicious codes or phishing emails. While the most widely used type of method for circulating SPAM is Email through which unwanted emails, more number of spam emails, reverse NDR attacks etc.,  are circulated by which the productivity of an organization will be adversely affected.

Its always better to have 2 step anti-spam filtering feature or even more in any organization to ensure that the spam never reaches our network especially the Messaging system.

Microsoft has built in Anti spam features which can be enabled from Exchange 2003 versions and they work perfectly fine and more accurate in filtering the spam emails. Its always recommended to have this feature enabled as a part of additional security along with additional spam configurations and settings  in an environment.

But we need to always ensure that we are aware of all the settings configured in the spam filtering in all levels in our organization as it can interrupt the end users in sending and receiving emails if this configuration is not correct.

I just happened to walk through one of the most recent version of additional  spam security feature from product SPAMfighter and was much impressed with all the Configurations, Options and user friendliness of the product r.

In this article lets walk through the installation and few functionalities of the product SPAMfighter Exchange Module.

What is SPAMfighter ?

It is an add-on to Exchange Server that fully integrates and offers anti spam protection.  It works with Exchange versions Exchange 200,2003,2007,2010 and 2013.

How Does it works ?

Spam Fighter administration is managed through web interface which is much user friendly and has more options to explore.

It works integrated fully with Microsoft Exchange Server. It creates its own security groups and user account in AD which integrates with Exchange servers. This will be easier for us to manage easier way in terms of policy management and having separate control over Spam Fighter. Also by using this we can designate an individual to take care of these tasks who has control only on this software.

Prerequisites 

There is no prerequisites required to install this software as i ran it from a member server ( Windows server 2008) . The only thing i noticed was it required install the Microsoft Visual C++ Run-time which it prompted for it and it found the software by its own and installed them which made my job simple.

Installation

The product can be downloaded from here

http://www.spamfighter.com/SPAMfighter/Product_SEM.asp

Its a 30 day trial version and should be downloaded on to Windows Servers.

The installation was pretty much standard as all the software does and it prompted me for the latest virus definition updates so i would not walk through the entire setup.

One interesting thing i found during the installation was it asked for user name and password for Spam Fighter administration and it automatically created respective AD account to integrate with the exchange modules.

 

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Once the installation is done you can open up the web console through add or remove programs and select spam fighter and opens web console as below

Give the user name and password given during installation.

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Was astonished to see more options

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In addition to the administration part from the server end spam fighter has outlook add in as well which users can install and further customize filtering on their own.

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It has good policies which can be filtered in various levels as shown below.

I can see policy defined for inbound,outbound and internal emails.

Also i could notice policy filter settings for user level too which is very good.

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All the users can be modified individually as well.

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Finally a statistics report can also be pulled over which shows up the graphical value of filtered emails as below.

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Cost Factor

Like most of the  apps which integrate with exchange makes licensing cost per user the spam fighter also have licensing structure  cost per user  basis for one year. However the cost factor reduces very well for organizations more than 2500 users.

You can view the pricing list here

http://www.spamfighter.com/SPAMfighter/Payment_Choose_Product_SEM.asp

Conclusion 

Overall SPAMfighter product is much user friendly and latest version  has much effective cool new features which can be integrated with Exchange Servers  for better spam filtering.

Thanks 

Sathish Veerapandian 

MVP – Exchange Server

SysTools OST Recovery Software

OST files are just an image of the content from the server.When Outlook is used with Exchange Server in ‘Cached Exchange Mode’ we get the OST file downloaded , then OST files allows to access entire components.

There is no built-in option in Outlook to open or import OST files without configuring Outlook profile for that associated mailbox account.

At times we might run into a few complex scenarios for an VIP user where we need to recover emails in scenarios where  we are running out of backup options,no exchange database and if we have the last option to recover only from an old OST file.

There could be multiple reasons for converting the OST file. There are multiple ways in recovering and repairing orphaned and lost .OST files. There are 3rd party applications that allows to convert OST to PST,repair and corrupted ost file ,filtering and gathering required data from the ost file.

If only the client PC has crashed, We can always recover the data from the exchange server itself (ost is just a online copy of the mails and one copy resides on the server all the time).

In some circumstances there may be a need to open/import an OST file.

1) User has left the organization and mailboxes have been deleted crossing the retention period. But the local IT team has only the OST  file from the PC of the mailbox from which an important data needs to be extracted.

2)If the old OST file has corrupted, user needs the data of the old ost file which he took it from his laptop to be merged into his new outlook profile in new PC.

3)For example if a user goes for long leave and if his mailbox was in a disabled state and then gets deleted, his outlook profile is deleted but somehow the OST file remains in the PC and needs the old emails from the OST  file.

4)The Exchange servers have been migrated and user’s mailbox has moved to the new version. User needs his old emails from OST  file after a long leave to be recovered.

5)If we need to access the emails from an old OST  file without configuring current Outlook profile for that account.

I just happened to have a look at this SysTools OST recovery Software and found it to be pretty much easier and user-friendly.

In this article we will be looking at how to recover data from an corrupted OST through SysTools OST recovery software.

This software allows us to recover and Convert Inaccessible OST File to Outlook (PST) / EML / MSG Format.

We have 2 versions freeware and a full version.
Freeware version can export only 25 items per folder While the full version has no limitations on the number of counts per folder.

Download the free version from the below link

http://www.systoolsgroup.com/ost-recovery.html

Just open the setup and run through the installation wizard.

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Accept the license agreement.

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Choose the installation directory.

 

 

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Once the setup completes just open the OST recovery software.

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Browse and select the damaged OST file.

 

 

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Once the OST file is selected it starts scanning the file as shown below.

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Once the scanning is completed it opens all the emails in outlook mode which are readable.Since its  a demo version it displays the below information.

We have an option to export emails one by one.

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We have an option to export the emails in MSG format or into PST file.

 

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Just Click on export and select the required format in  MSG or PST. After that we are done with the PST extract from the corrupted OST file.

Overall this tool can be useful for admins in few critical scenarios of recovering the OST files for  important mailboxes and its user friendly.

Cheers

Sathish Veerapandian

Technology  Evangelist

 

Installing and Configuring PST Capture 2.0 in Exchange 2013 Environment

In this article we will be discussing about installing and configuring PST capture agent in Exchange 2013 environment.

Since everyone will be familiar with the enhanced features which are available from the version 2.0 I’m not going to list down the improvements. For those who would need to know the enhancements you can refer this TechNet blog http://blogs.technet.com/b/exchange/archive/2013/02/22/time-to-go-pst-hunting-with-the-new-pst-capture-2-0.aspx

Installation in Exchange 2013 is the same procedure as we do it  for Exchange 2010. But only PST Capture version 2.0 supports Exchange 2013 and not the earlier version.

Now let’s go ahead with the prerequisites of installing this tool.

  1. Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 or 3.5 Service Pack 1 (SP1).
  2. A Central Service account for managing the PST captures central service.
  3. Outlook 2010 to be installed on a PC where we have PST capture console and we are performing the export and import.

 

Download the setup from the below location.

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=36789

We could see there will be 2 files which will be available in the setup.

PSTCapture.msi – This is the main installation file which should be installed on a PC where we require the PST capture console. All the PST capture in the organization and import happens through central service running in this PC.

PSTCaptureAgent.msi – It should be installed on the machines (client pc’s) where we need to scan for the PST files. This particular service running after the installation on the client pc’s will be sending the requested PST files to the PST capture console when requested for an import.

 

Note: If we do not install this agent on the client machines then we won’t be able to detect the PST files on those particular machines.

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Installation is pretty simple and just navigate through the setup one by one.

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Now specify the host name of the Central service computer you wish to select and click next. Also you can see the default port assigned for this function which can also be altered within the specified values.

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Once the installation is completed on the PC you can see the PST capture icon as below in that PC.

 

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When you open the wizard it has the following options.

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The PST search happens in 4 steps.

 

1st step

Select the computers that we need to perform the PST search.

Note: If we do not install the PST capture agent on the client machines then we won’t be able to detect the PST files on those particular machines.

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2nd Step

We have locations to search and locations to ignore as well as shown below.

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3rd step

We have an option to run the schedule manually as well as to run on a scheduled date.

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4th step

Finally we get the summary. Just click on finish.

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Finally we get the below screen while PST search is running.

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Once the search is completed it displays the below results with the list of PST files scanned.

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Now we need to select the scanned PST files and then create a new Import list.

Cloud Import list – For Importing PST files to an online account.

OnPrem Import List – For Importing PST files to an on premise Exchange account.

Now select the destination mailbox to which it needs to be imported.

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You can see the import status in percent and once the import is complete you would be able to see the emails in the imported mailbox.

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Note: Outlook 2010 64 bit version is required on the host computer where we are performing this action through PST capture console. If Outlook is not installed then Import will be failure.

This tool is really useful in effectively managing the end users PST files during migration as well as in transition to BPOS/O365 from an on premise  setup.

SysTools – Exchange EDB Recovery Software

I just found  this amazing  exchange  database recovery software developed by SysTools and  I would like to share the functionality of this tool.

SysTools is a company  delivers innovative software applications to enhance the lives of millions of IT Admins and computer users around the globe.

About Exchange recovery software (SysTools)

By using this software the email contents of single user ,multiple users can be extracted from a corrupted  exchange database (edb,stm) file.

The emails can be extracted  in the form of PST’s (even split pst’s), message format, eml format and also emails from damaged edb files can be directly imported into an active Exchange mailbox.

Even though if we maintain a proper exchange  backup in a healthy environment there is a lean possibility in scenarios where the Exchange admin would be  totally running out of options if the backup is not healthy,and the edb files are no longer recoverable.This software can be used in those kind of scenarios.

Also this tool can also be used in   recovering the emails from a (older  edb file/older backup ) in scenarios where their  exchange environment is  no longer existing or they have transitioned to new version of exchange.

Below is the installation and functionality of this tool

This tool can be run on environments which has Exchange 2003,2007,2010 & 2013.

Prerequisites

We just need to have .net 2.0 installed on the member server where we are going to install this tool. However even though if we do not install .net 2.0 manually  this tool automatically detects ,downloads and installs during the installation.

IMP:  We need to have Outlook 2007/2010 installed on the PC  where we are installing this tool.

And of course we need to have the  edb files from which we need to extract the PST

Below is the installation procedure

1) Download the setup from the below link.

http://www.systoolsgroup.com/exchange-recovery.html

2) Open the setup and click install

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3) Installation is pretty simple and just navigate through the setup  one by one.

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4) There is an option to create desktop icon and quick launch as well.

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Once the installation is completed launch systools Exchange Recovery software.You might get  the below error if there is any of the following prerequisites missing.As I mentioned earlier  we need to have an Outlook profile configured on the PC where we are installing this tool.

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Also we need to have outlook component which needs to be registered. When you click on details you have an option to register the outlook component and you will get the below message once done.

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Now let’s explore the functionality of this tool.

Launch Systools.

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It opens a window and asks for the associated edb file which needs to be opened.

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Open the EDB file from associated location.

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Once the file is selected  we get the below screen if the scan of edb is successful.

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Now we get below option after we click on ok.

It displays all the mailboxes with sub-folders,calendars,contacts which are present in the edb file.

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Also we have an option to view all the emails on the right hand  preview side.

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You can click on the export option and it displays the below limitation for demo version.

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Click on ok and then it  displays the below screen with the following options.

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Option 1 :  Exports the emails into PST. There is an option for split pst’s as well.

Option 2 :  Exports emails in the MSG format. We can export  individual emails as well.

Option 3 : Exports emails in the EML format.

Option 4 : Directly exports email to an active Exchange mailbox.

Note : The user account running systools should be having full access to the mailbox where we are going to export the emails if we are choosing option 4.

Choose the required method of export and once the export is completed we get the below screen.

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As a final result we also get a report generated.

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When we open the report we get the list of mailboxes exported nothing much information.

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Though this report gives info about the list of mailboxes exported it could be better if there is few more additional information like number of mailbox items imported successfully and number of failed items as well.

This tool is available in 2 versions as demo as well as full version. The demo version is restricted to 25 items per folder in a mailbox. The full version does  not have any restrictions in exporting the emails as well as in the size of edb files.

Overall this tool will be  really useful  for scenarios where we do not have an option to  recover an edb file due to required log files missing, in-case of backup failure  and finally in recovering emails from a database for a environment which is no longer existing.

Exchange Server Mailbox Statistics Report Tool

Managing the Exchange Servers in  storage capacity is little bit difficult for administrators when the server gets older and older and  when new users keeps adding in the list.

Even if there is any  daily monitoring report for mail flow, databases, disk space monitoring and everything still it’s difficult for administrators to monitor the end users having lot of old emails still in their inbox,sent items,subfolders which occupies lot of space.

 

It could be better if there is any kind of statistics report that can pull out the number mailbox items, oldest messages for all user so that we can ask the users to move old items to their PST archives.

There are lot of scripts which are available in the internet which  can be run on the mailbox server,DB’s to pull out these information.

I just found this excellent Tool developed  by author  Srinath Sadda and its available in the TechNet gallery for download.

http://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/office/Exchange-Server-Mailbox-7dd53529

 

The interesting part about this tool is that it doesn’t need power shell or EMS.Its a GUI based tool which can be run manually whenever required.

Note: This  tool can be run for a single mailbox, particular database as well as for  all mailboxes in a server.

 I just tested in my lab and its working fine and below are the results.

Downloaded the tool from the TechNet gallery (source file link above ) and installed.

 

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Once the installation is completed open the tool and you will get the below screen.

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Now we need to specify the DC,Exchange server and DB’s .If we select retrieve it fetches  the above information automatically. Select the oldest and newest items accordingly and click on perform mailbox search.

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Finally once the report is completed you can click on the report viewer.

Below is the final report status.

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We have option to send this report through  email as well.

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Apart from this we have multiple options like searching for mailbox globally that are hidden from GAL, Number of Disabled mailboxes ,Mailbox Type few more options.

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This tool is very useful in terms of monitoring the Mailbox statistics for individual users as well as all users.

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