I have been working with a client and Microsoft on a very difficult issue with their Exchange 2003 system.† A few months ago, a particular store started exhibiting Event ID 623 errors from source ESE – the Extensible (or Exchange) Storage Engine.† Since this error was coming up on a server that was in the process of being decommissioned, the suggestion to ďmove the users to a new storeĒ was extremely feasible.

But the problem came back 22 days later on one of the 2 stores that the users were moved to, so we knew something else must be up.† Iíll cut to the chase and explain that Microsoft now is very positive of what is happening, just not who is causing it or why itís happening.

Whatís frustrating about this is that all the tools that can be used to look deeper into this problem arenít available to me as a technician outside of Microsoft.† All Iíve been able to do for my client is set up triggers to cause ďExchange store.exe dumpsĒ which are essentially process freezes followed by private memory dumps to disk.† The good thing is that the end users donít notice, nor does the Windows 2003 Cluster service.† Also, our Microsoft support team has been great at sharing information with us.

But the problem still remains, that there is nothing at all that I can do to fix this problem.† I canít run the debug programs (I can run a debug against the process, but not to the same level of detail, due to a lack of published information) that Microsoft has available, despite a very deep understanding of how the ESE runs the EDB, STM, and LOG files (for an outside consultant who just reads voraciously).† This inability to better service my customers frustrates me to no end, whether Microsoftís technicians are fantastic or not (there have been other timesÖ).

So, while I wait for them to get back to me on yet another dump that has been generated, looking for a very elusive fSearch() operation against one of my clientís many Exchange 2003 stores, I sit on my hands in anticipation, wishing to be able to do more.

We had to emergency move some SQL Server service account mailboxes to a new Exchange server tonight, and dump all the mail in the mailboxes. Since doing that, some of the servers have been randomly failing SOME of their jobs – it looked exactly like the issue described in FIX: SQL Mail Procedures May Intermittently Fail with Error 0◊8004010f , but weíre running SQL 2000 SP4.

We fixed it by having the DBA run:

Then re-running the jobs. It seems to have worked, but Iím curious how we got hit by a fixed bug. My only thought is that it must have something to do with SQL thinking we essentially truncated the mailbox.

On anonther note, Iím writing up full instructions for how to change the IP on a DC, particularly for small offices with only 1 or 2 DCs.† Itíll post by end of the weekend.

I have a Sprint PCS PPC-6700 Windows Mobile 5 PDA/Phone. The battery life on it is decent, considering all that it does, but I still dislike it.

Hereís why: itís a terrible consumer device. Itís great for geeks like me who understand software is buggy and difficult to write, but I couldnít imagine any of my end users dealing with this thing. Examples:

The phone is ok, but the Bluetooth radio randomly shuts off on me. The worst is in the middle of a conversation, my headset will go silent. And itís ONLY ever in the car. So there you are, driving down the street, and having to fumble for a soft-button to turn on the speakerphone. Many MANY people will mention something or other about software upgrades required, and believe me, I have them. I had them before Sprint support knew what I was talking about. Iím still 100% up to date, according to Starcomís site. No, Iím not going to run a 3rd party update to a business tool, like I would my own personal phone.

The device requires a reset every 3 days. I have 2 pieces of add-on software, and Iíve actually REMOVED 8 installs from Sprint (from the hidden ROM, so they donít come back during a hard-reset). I installed Google Maps, because itís fantastically worthwhile, and ďTCPMPĒ for media playing (Windows Media Player doesnít play Cisco UNITY voicemails sent to email). Out of the box, it required a reboot every 1-2 days. After 3 days of no reboots, ExchangeActiveSync stops reliably retrieving email. The touchscreen becomes wildly out of sync (I canít hit the scrollbar anymore, usually). Phone calls actually hang up in the middle of conversations. And the phone finally wonít respond to any buttons or screentaps, save for the ďpowerĒ button.

It Phantom-Dials. Iíll read an email, put the phone back in its holder, and walk down the hall. 45 seconds later, one of the recipients of the email will call me back asking me what I called them for. Best I can figure, is that the joystick is getting depressed, scrolling up, getting depressed again (on a recipient of the email), and the call button is getting hit. In the holder designed for the device, on my hip. Iíve been wearing cell phones on my hip for work since I was 19 – donít tell me Iím hitting it with my elbow. Having to lock your phone in your pocket is understandable. But in itís designed holster?

So, what DO I like about the phone?

I donít have to open my laptop at home to watch email every night, in case something breaks. Exchange ActiveSync DirectPush in conjunction with SMS for alerts is fantastic. I turn on the sounds for text messages, but not email, and if itís an actual issue, I get the alert, hear it, and respond. But if itís a co-worker sending out a ďI finished doing this overnight work.Ē email, I donít get woken up. Better response time for the business, more sleep for me.

Charges from USB on my laptop. On the road, this has been a life-saver.

Can install all sorts of neat software. Games, document readers, etc. Adobe Acrobat for PPC and Microsoft Reader, combined, give me hours of reading material. Especially manuals for things I have to do the next day.

Pocket IE:,, (which has a great mobile device reformatter). I took just my phone to New York City for a 3 day weekend, and was able to book every dinner, find directions, and verify that Ferries were open on the days I wanted to go places.

Google Maps. I use this to check the traffic of my drive on my way to the car in the parking lot, so I can decide which way to drive home. Add accurate directions that I can pull from my contact listÖ wow.

Now I just have to figure out RAPIP, so I can plug it into my Ubuntu Feisty laptop and sync THROUGH the GNU/Linux OS, rather than just through WinXP.

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