Wednesday, April 22, 2015

How to set up internal autoresponder in Exchange Server

When there is a need for an automatic email reply with information intended only for internal recipients MSH Exchange Autoresponder comes in with help. In a couple of easy steps, you can set up an automatic reply that will be sent only when the original sender is from inside of your company,

Step 1.

After launching the program, click the Add button to launch the new rule wizard.

Step 2.

Enter the message in the Auto reply message body: field.

Step 3.

In the Conditions tab click the Add button and select the Message Sender option. In the new window enter "*" string, replacing the "" part with your own company domain name. Then click the OK button.

The "*" symbol is a wildcard that substitutes any string of characters, which means that the condition is met (and in the result the autoreply is sent) when the email contains any string of characters in front of the "@" symbol.

Step 4.

In the Conditions tab click Add again and select Message Recipients. In the new window, in the Email address pattern field enter the address of your choice. In our example, it is IT department. Save this setting by clicking the OK button.

Back in the Conditions tab make sure, that the All conditions must met is selected.

Step 5.

Finally, go to the Rule Name tab, enter the name of your rule and click the OK button to save all changes.

From now on, any internal user will receive the automatic reply when sending a message to the IT department. At the same time, no autoresponder is sent to any external email address, thanks to MSH Exchange Autoresponder - download the tool and check for yourself how you can improve your automatic replies management, you can test it completely free of charge.

You can also read:

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Quick commands to check Exchange Server health

Microsoft Exchange Server is a reliable piece of software. However, every system bears a risk of malfunction. As the Murphy's law says: "The larger the system, the greater the probability of unexpected failure.".

It is, therefore, good to know a couple of simple commands that allow to check up your server's health quickly. Whether you just want to check things up or when one of your users inform that "Email is not working!" use methods below for the quick status report.

Please note that all commands below needs to be executed in Exchange PowerShell console, either directly on the server or via the remote PS session.


This command returns the status of all critical services required by the server to process and send/receive messages. The result might look as below:

When the line ServicesNotRunning shows any result, similarly as on the screen above (MSExchangeTransport service is not running), then there might be a problem that needs to be investigated. The malfunction pictured on the screenshot is critical. Without MSExchangeTransport service running, no email can be delivered/received. The solution is to start services that are not running and analyze the possible cause of the problem in system logs.

Get-MailboxDatabase -Status | Format-List name,server,mounted

With this command, you can check whether your mailbox database is mounted, as it is another critical component of your Exchange. Without mounted mailbox database, no email can be delivered or received. The result below shows a healthy situation - the mailbox database is mounted:

Get-Queue | Select Identity,Status,MessageCount

To check if your email queue is not growing uncontrollably, causing message processing delays, use the command above. It'll present all available queues on the server and their respective loads.

If you notice that the Unreachable or Submission queues are showing unusual numbers of waiting emails then it's time to investigate. Usually restarting the transport service is enough to push emails forward, however even if this helps, a full server diagnostic is recommended to find the original cause of the mail queuing (which might be e.g. a failing transport agent).


Sometimes the problem with email delivery is so basic, that we overlook it while searching for more complicated sources of the issue. Without the internet connection, no email leaves our server. Run the command above to check if there is an access to the web.

A broken router or malfunctioning network switch, or just simply unplugged lan cable might be a general cause of the problem. As the oldest IT joke goes - "Are you sure that your computer is plugged into the power source?".

These couple of commands are just a quick and dirty method to check up on your server's health. A good thing about them is that you can run these cmdlets even remotely, from your house, at 3:30 AM, after receiving a call from the nightshift employee "Email is not working!".

You can also read:

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Happy Easter (while out of the office)!

Holidays are coming and Easter is just around the corner. Finally, we'll get a bit of relief from our daily tasks, yay!

A couple of days off can do miracles to your productivity. Then, after holidays are off, you come back to work,  all charged up , open your email and one of the first messages is "WHY YOU'RE NOT ANSWERING MY EMAILS!". In an instant all your positive energy is gone, you feel tired again, and you already have to deal with a problem, which is additionally overdue.

Remember, not all people in the world spend Easter at home. Be kind - inform them that you are not in the office by setting up a simple auto-response.

And if you are a system admin you can plan ahead and set that OOF for your users centrally with MSH Exchange Autoresponder. Not only you can cover selected users (or even group of users) with an automated response, you can also schedule, when the should fire up and be active.

You can even build a nice HTML powered message with graphics, like this Giant Pink Rabbit On the Mountain, that will cheer your clients up and ease their pain of waiting for you to be back.

Once you are sure that you are safe and covered - take off that tie, have some chocolate egg and get some R&R

All the best and Happy Easter!

You can also read:

How to avoid common mistakes and create a good automatic reply
MSH Exchange Autoresponder - Installation Quick guide
Good practice: Always confirm you received an email to keep your customers happy