SBS2008 / Exchange with POP3 Connector / Invalid Header Fields -problem

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P

Pitti

Hello,

I have had this problem long time now, and I have been received a very

good trick from "Dan Thompson [MSFT]" / March 2009.

That trick helped me a lot, but didn't give me total fix to the problem.

Problem is that SBS2008 POP3 Connector is trying to deliver emails to

Exchange Server, but fails because those emails are not "standard"

emails. Every email, that is "standard" email, are delivered just fine

to Exchange, but those emails, that aren't "standards" are still staying

on ISP's POP3 Email Server.

Non "standard" email has return path: mailer-daemon - text, and that

makes it non-standard email.

Exchange server has some kind of "filter", which says that this email

cannot be received at all, so it will be rejected. If someone knows how

this "filter" will be disabled, I would be very pleased about quidance.

Here is quote about Dan Thompson technical description:

Also found in this web site

http://www.tech-archive.net/Archive...blic.windows.server.sbs/2009-03/msg00163.html

Exchange will close an SMTP connection after a certain number of

protocol errors (5 by default). (see the MaxProtocolErrors property of

the ReceiveConnector object at:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa998618.aspx)

When the SBS 2008 pop3connector downloads a message from a POP3 mailbox,

it needs to figure out what the "return path" for the mail should be,

which it does by reading the email's headers. The pop3connector does not

do validation of the header value--it lets Exchange take care of that.

If the header value that the pop3connector chooses is malformed, when it

is sent to the Exchange server (as part of the "MAIL FROM" command),

Exchange will reject it with a 501 error. That counts as a "protocol

error", and therefore is counted against the MaxProtocolErrors limit.

Since the pop3connector was not able to deliver the mail, and does not

know if the mail is safe to delete, it leaves the mail on the POP3 server.

If there are 5 of these messages in your POP3 mailbox, then there will

be 5 "protocol errors" in the pop3connector's SMTP session, which hits

the limit, and Exchange will end the session with a transient error

(4xx). When this happens, the pop3connector recognizes that the error is

transient, and will retry again at the next scheduled download period.

But since those 5 malformed messages are still in the POP3 mailbox, the

same thing will continue to happen, with no "forward progress" being made.

The workaround is to increase the “MaxProtocolErrors” property of the

internal receive connector, which is called “<COMPUTERNAME>\Windows SBS

Fax Sharepoint Receive <COMPUTERNAME>”, and then restart the Exchange

Transport service for the change to take effect (and you’ll have to

restart the pop3connector service, too, since it depends on the Exchange

Transport service). Unfortunately, you can’t set that property from the

Exchange management GUI, so you have to do it from an (elevated)

Exchange Powershell prompt. Here are the instructions:

From an elevated Exchange Management Shell (Exchange Powershell window)

(right click on “Start-->Microsoft Exchange Server 2007-->Exchange

Management Shell” and then choose “Run as administrator”) run the

following Powershell commands:

Set-ReceiveConnector -Identity ($Env:computername + "\Windows SBS Fax

Sharepoint Receive " + $Env:computername) -MaxProtocolErrors 500

Stop-Service pop3connector

Restart-Service -force MSExchangeTransport

Start-Service pop3connector

That will increase the MaxProtocol errors (of the internal receive

connector only) to match the pop3connector’s max emails downloaded per

session. Once you get 500 messages with malformed headers stacked up in

the POP3 mailbox, though, you’ll still have to delete them manually.

Q. Why might you be getting emails with malformed headers?

A. It seems there are some buggy (perhaps deliberately) spam servers out

there. Or it could be non-compliant mail software (like whatever

software generated "Return-Path: <MAILER-DAEMON>" header that started

this thread).

Thanks for advance!

Jani
 
L

Lanwench [MVP - Exchange]

Hi - short answer to a long post. Do not use the POP connector. Host your

own mail directly. This problem and many many (many many many) others will

go away.
 
P

Pitti

Re: SBS2008 / Exchange with POP3 Connector / Invalid Header Fields- problem

Thanks about very fast answer Lanwench.

This is not my own server, it is my customers server, and main problem

is that they absolutely want to keep that wäy.

So POP3 Connector has to stay there, and we have to use it.

Well, I really need answer to that question, please.

Jani
 
L

Lanwench [MVP - Exchange]

Re: SBS2008 / Exchange with POP3 Connector / Invalid Header Fields - problem

Pitti <pitti@noemail.noemail> wrote:
> Thanks about very fast answer Lanwench.

> This is not my own server, it is my customers server, and main problem
> is that they absolutely want to keep that wäy.


I know it's tough, but sometimes being a consultant means saying "no."

Especially when there is a better way. They obviously aren't technical

enough to manage their own server, so why are nontechnical people telling

you what transport protocol to use for their mail delivery? Seems to me your

job is to give them good reliable mail delivery, and I've told you how to

achieve that. :)


> So POP3 Connector has to stay there, and we have to use it.

> Well, I really need answer to that question, please.
> Jani


The POP connector is not part of Exchange so you should ask in an SBS 2008

group. And even there you will be advised to drop it. It's to be used for

transitions - not meant to handle your mail forever.
 
P

Pitti

Re: SBS2008 / Exchange with POP3 Connector / Invalid Header Fields- problem

Thanks Lanwench!

Comments between text.


> I know it's tough, but sometimes being a consultant means saying "no."
> Especially when there is a better way. They obviously aren't technical
> enough to manage their own server, so why are nontechnical people telling
> you what transport protocol to use for their mail delivery? Seems to me your
> job is to give them good reliable mail delivery, and I've told you how to
> achieve that. :)


Yes, it's very tough to say what is the best way and best solution. I

have already been trying that many times, no luck.



> The POP connector is not part of Exchange so you should ask in an SBS 2008
> group. And even there you will be advised to drop it. It's to be used for
> transitions - not meant to handle your mail forever.


Quote from Dan Thompson [MSFT]

"If you want to get the malformed mail delivered, you'll have to talk to

some

Exchange experts to see if that's possible--it is Exchange that is rejecting

the mail, not the pop3connector. Maybe try on

microsoft.public.exchange.misc."

So I already started to solve this problem long time ago in SBS-News-Forum.

Complete talk chain is in address:

[invalid link]

Please, check the link, and you get the picture, that I am not the only

one who has this problem.

Please, I really need answer to this solution, please, please.

Jani
 
D

Duncan McC

Lanwench has given you the answer (a few times now). Even if you have a dynamic IP, you can still use dynamic IP re-director (dyndns etc).

Move off the POP connector and onto Exchange Server!

Duncan
 
P

Pitti

Re: SBS2008 / Exchange with POP3 Connector / Invalid Header Fields- problem

> Lanwench has given you the answer (a few times now). Even if you have a
> dynamic IP, you can still use dynamic IP re-director (dyndns etc).

> Move off the POP connector and onto Exchange Server!
>


OK. Now is see. Maybe you don't have technical solutions for this, or

you just don't know the answer for this.

I really don't have choise to move off POP connector.

So, I don't need anymore opinion about this situation, I really need

solution that what I can do in Exchange Server, so all "non-standard"

email are downloaded to Exchange Server.

I did get great answer about POP Connector from Dan Thompson [MSFT] in

SBS-News-Group, and that was really great technical answer, no opinion

about this problem.

Dan Thompson [MSFT] quided me to contact Exchange-newsgroup, so that

there I can get the rest solution (because rest of this case is part of

the Exchange), but here we are, just talking about which is the best

solution, the POP Connector or without POP Connector.

If someone has solution, I really, really am grateful for that.

Jani
 
D

Duncan McC

Re: SBS2008 / Exchange with POP3 Connector / Invalid Header Fields - problem

In article <#C$REoEDKHA.5068@TK2MSFTNGP03.phx.gbl>,

pitti@noemail.noemail says...
> > Lanwench has given you the answer (a few times now). Even if you have a
> > dynamic IP, you can still use dynamic IP re-director (dyndns etc).
> > Move off the POP connector and onto Exchange Server!
> >


> OK. Now is see. Maybe you don't have technical solutions for this, or
> you just don't know the answer for this.
> I really don't have choise to move off POP connector.


Well you are stuck then, with the POP connector bugs. (Try sending a

BCC email to several exhange server users using the POP connector - you

won't like the results).


> So, I don't need anymore opinion about this situation, I really need
> solution that what I can do in Exchange Server, so all "non-standard"
> email are downloaded to Exchange Server.
> I did get great answer about POP Connector from Dan Thompson [MSFT] in
> SBS-News-Group, and that was really great technical answer, no opinion
> about this problem.
> Dan Thompson [MSFT] quided me to contact Exchange-newsgroup, so that
> there I can get the rest solution (because rest of this case is part of
> the Exchange), but here we are, just talking about which is the best
> solution, the POP Connector or without POP Connector.


The Exchange Server folk will *NOT* be able to help you. The POP

Connector is NOT part of Exchange Server - it is unique to Small

Business Server.

Can you please explain *why* you cannot move to Exchange Server? (and

off the POP Connector?).

Duncan
 
L

Lanwench [MVP - Exchange]


> The Exchange Server folk will *NOT* be able to help you. The POP
> Connector is NOT part of Exchange Server - it is unique to Small
> Business Server.


Yep. Absolutely true. Pitti, you were misinformed. You could contact SBS

product support services for a paid incident if this is a real need for you.

Your client should of course pay fot that call, since it's their decision to

use this ___ setup.
 
P

Pitti

Why, I cannot move to the REAL Exchange Server solution?

There are many reasons, but most important I guess is my customers email

priority, they need working email solution all the time, every minute.

So, if I move off POP connector, and change to Exchange server solution

without POP Connector, what will happen when I have to make some repair

job to the server, and server is down about two hours.

How my customer will read the emails when server is down?

What will happen if server goes really broken, and I have to make three

days service to the server, and server is down three days?

There is now ISP's POP3 accounts, and if now server goes broken, and I

have to make three days service, my customers can read all the time

their emails in webmail with browser, and even send emails with webmail.

So there won't be any problem with email transfers, even when I will do

that three days service to server.

That is only one reason, and I hope that will be enough, that I can't

really move off POP Connector.

I think that POP Connector works just like it should be, but now

Exchange denies those "non-standards" email.

I know that POP Connector only belongs to Small Business Server, but

should we just now forget that, and focus to Exchange, and how we can

change some settings in Exchange, that it won't denie those

"non-standards" emails?

Thanks Lanwench and Duncan about your opinions

Jani
 
L

Lanwench [MVP - Exchange]

The answer is that the problem is with the POP connector. I'm not sure how

else to say it.

There are plenty of other ways to deal with downtime (including doing your

scheduled maintenance after hours and having as much hardware redundancy as

possible in your server(s). Check out LiveOffice.com - if you use them for

archiving they've got an email continuity service you can use. Or consider

outsourcing Exchange entirely if they need a better guarantee of uptime than

a small office with a single server can hope for. At any rate, you're

probably SOL with what you're doing now.
 
D

Duncan McC

Setting up Exchange Server to get your mail is pretty easy, so I'm not

gonna go there unless you ask for help on it.

I think that what you are saying is that you cannot afford downtime on

your server, as mail won't come in.

Well... it will, if your server is down for a reboots etc, or just a

short period of time, due to the way email is sent through servers.

They'll queue and go into "retry" mode, and then still come through.

However, a better way (and Lanwench has already mentioned it) is to use

a backup third party solution, which is very cheap. So that when your

server, Exchange Server (highest priority), is down, it drops to your

backup server, and then you get that mail through when your server is

up.

Such backup server solutions are like:

http://www.dnsmadeeasy.com/

or more specifically...

http://www.dnsmadeeasy.com/s0306/prod/mailbk.html

This provides you three backup servers, some or all of which have

redundancy built in (multiple lines, multiple servers etc).

Problem solved, I hope you'll see. And very cheap, $12.95 USD a year.

Other companies provide the same, but those are the folk I use on all my

clients.

Duncan
 
P

Pitti

Re: SBS2008 / Exchange with POP3 Connector / Invalid Header Fields- problem

First, sorry about long delay in my reply.

Anyway, I can't use those solutions.

But thanks very much your opinions, and solution-possibilities.

I just hope, that Microsoft will repair this, or will give some

possibillity to change behavioir about POP Connector / Exchange / SBS2008.

Thanks, Lanwench and Duncan
 
B

Brad

Re: SBS2008 / Exchange with POP3 Connector / Invalid Header Fields

I have been reading this thread with interest since we are in the same

situation.

I am a consultant focusing on small businesses. These businesses generally

have no IT support in house and use my company for support as needed.

Sometimes we see the client once/month, sometimes once/week, sometimes only

as needed.

We find that supporting both exchange and groupwise using a pop connector is

fairly durable for this size client, since it will allow, as has been said,

an emergency method to view and respond to emails if something goes wrong in

the email system.

In a perfect world, with support staff on site, email direct to exchange and

groupwise is preferable with a postini or some other backup service storing

your emails in case of an outage. But, in this client set, that does not

work. It could be several days before a diagnosis is found and a fix is

actually implemented in some of these clients. It can be a day or two before

they even notify us if there is an outage of some sort in their email.

To get back to the problem at hand. We have SBS 2008 w/ exchange 2007

using the POP connector and have the same problem with "malformed" emails not

being received and then clogging up the email pathway for our users.

Increasing the error threshold only delays the problem and makes it more

laborious to clean out the POP accounts. Outlook, Eudora, Thunderbird,

Outlook Express can all read these emails. Why can't exchange/Pop connector

allow these emails to be read?

There is obviously a bug or configuration error that should be fixed to

allow this to work properly.

Any ideas are welcome.

More people telling us that the pop connector is the wrong to go are not

much help.

Thanks for listening.

Brad
 
E

Ed Crowley [MVP]

Re: SBS2008 / Exchange with POP3 Connector / Invalid Header Fields

If you're using the POP connector that comes with SBS, then it's an SBS

component independent of Exchange and so your queries are best directed to

an SBS newsgroup, where the MVPs and others are best informed to help you.

If it's a third-party POP connector, your queries are best directed to the

maker's technical support. In either case, using the POP protocol as a

multiuser mail transport is a great big kludge and any problems you see with

it are undoubtedly related to the fact that this protocol was never intended

to be used in that way.

Ed Crowley MVP

"There are seldom good technological solutions to behavioral problems."
 
P

Pitti

Re: SBS2008 / Exchange with POP3 Connector / Invalid Header Fields

Hello Brad,

I am glad to hear, that you are in same situation, or maybe I shouldn't

be glad, because we are both in trouble with this POP Connector case.

I have been using POP Connector since SBS 2003, and there haven't never

been this big problem, some little problems and always solved with very

small amount work. Usually the fault have been found in Antivirus-product.

I really hope that there is still someone who has "the power and

knowledge solve or repair this".

Maybe someone in Microsoft?

Jani
 
P

Pitti

Re: SBS2008 / Exchange with POP3 Connector / Invalid Header Fields

Thanks Ed about opinion,

If you could read the very first posts about this problem, you could see

that there allready have been long newsgroup posting in SBS Group.

In SBS Group we came to conclusion, that POP Connector is delivering the

email to Exchange Server, but then Exchange denies it totally.

So something have to change in Exchange-settings.

Thanks anyway,

Jani
 
E

Ed Crowley [MVP]

Re: SBS2008 / Exchange with POP3 Connector / Invalid Header Fields

I read the entire thread, but that doesn't make the POP3 Connector any less

an SBS component.

Ed Crowley MVP

"There are seldom good technological solutions to behavioral problems."
 
E

Ed Crowley [MVP]

Re: SBS2008 / Exchange with POP3 Connector / Invalid Header Fields

If you open a support ticket with PSS you'll likely find out about that.

Ed Crowley MVP

"There are seldom good technological solutions to behavioral problems."
 
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