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Cross Forest Public Folder Migration The Easy Way - Use Outlook 2010

Anyone who has done a cross forest public folder migration will almost certainly be reliving their nightmares about it simply from reading the title.
I was just the same.

Extract the content to a PST file, either manually (selecting about 1000 items at a go) or by using a rule, move the PST file to a machine in the new forest, then import.

Slow, mind-numbing dull and therefore not the most fun part of a migration and always the bit that I don't look forward to. 

However a recent migration was done almost completely hands free. I moved almost 9gb of data in an afternoon, while I went to the cinema.

To do this, I took advantage of the new feature of Outlook 2010 that allows it to connect to two different Exchange organisations at the same time.

This allowed me to create a rule to move the content between the two public folders. Once the rule was set, I left it to get on with it. The speed wasn't great, but compared to moving it manually, it was a considerable time saver. After returning from cinema I was able to do more of the migration work, while I waited for the rule to finish.
Furthermore, by using multiple machines, I could move lots of large public folders at once. Once the process was completed, the rule was discarded.
Even before moving the data, when creating the new folders it was easy to setup the permissions as I could compare them side by side.

Where an item was corrupt and couldn't be moved, or the few items that didn't match the rule, I simply moved those items manually or deleted them. In most folders this was only a few hundred items at most.

You still can't copy and paste large numbers of items, as the problem with trying to copy/cut and paste more than about 1500 items is still in Outlook, but a rule effectively moves each item individually, so that isn't a problem.
For the folders with small number of items, a straight copy and paste works well.

I used the same procedure to move a stubborn mailbox which wouldn't move on the regular cross forest move mailbox procedure. Much faster than exporting the mailboxes out to PST file and then importing them. It also allowed me to identify the corrupt items and deal with them.

Even if you aren't deploying Outlook 2010 for your migration, it is worth downloading the trial for this feature alone. Then once the migration is complete, discard the trial software.

Exchange 2010 Database Sizes

The blog is getting lots of search engine hits for Exchange 2010 databases, probably because I wrote about the database size on the older versions in the past.

For older versions of Exchange see the posting here:

For Exchange 2010, things are much the same.
On standard edition, the initial soft limit is 50gb, which can be increased as required. Enterprise edition has no limit configured.

To change the soft limit, you need to make a registry change and then restart the information store. The registry change is outlined in this article:

Note that the change is case sensitive.
If copying from the article, watch that it doesn't include an extra space at the end.

If you have the registry key set correctly, after restarting the information store, the following entry will be logged:

Log Name:      Application
Source:        MSExchangeIS Mailbox Store
Date:          29/07/2010 22:07:52
Event ID:      1216
Task Category: Storage Limits
Level:         Information
Keywords:      Classic
User:          N/A
Computer:      exch.domain.local
The Exchange store Mailbox Database 1 is limited to 75 GB. The current physical size of this database (the .edb file) is <1 GB. If the physical size of this database minus its logical free space exceeds the limit of 75 GB, the database will be dismounted on a regular basis.

As with Exchange database since 2003 SP2, when the limit is reached, the database is dismounted. It can be remounted again immediately. However it will be dismounted at the next time the limit is checked, unless the registry has been changed and the information store service restarted.
The white space in the database continues to be taken in to account when the size is calculated - referred to as logical free space in this event log entry.

Outlook 2007 Certificate Prompts with Exchange 2003

A common complaint in forums for some time has been SSL certificate prompts from Outlook 2007, when running Exchange 2003.
The error is usually along the lines of

"The name on the security certificate is invalid or doesn't match the name of the site."

Often the first response will be connected to RPC over HTTPS, as this is the only part of Exchange 2003 that can use SSL certificates for Outlook connectivity.

However the real cause of this is because of the changes made to Outlook 2007 to accommodate the changes to Exchange 2007 and its move to web services. Web services are used to reduce the dependency on Public Folders.

The specific cause of this is a process known as autodiscover. Anyone who has managed Exchange 2007 will be very familiar with Autodiscover, as it can be a key pain point.

Outlook 2007 will attempt to connect to - where is the part of your email address after the @ sign. It will also attempt to connect to a number  of other URLs if that one fails.
If your domain does not have an entry for autodiscover, but does have a wildcard entry in its DNS (which is common) then you may get this issue.

Therefore from a client where you have the problem, attempt to ping

Where is your email domain, then repeat with your internal Windows domain.

If it resolves, pinging either, or similar, even if it fails, then you may well be on to the cause. The final test is to bring up a web browser and type in and see what happens.
It is likely that you will get the same SSL certificate prompt that Outlook receives and then it will load another web site completely.

The reason for this is quite simple.
Web hosts will often share the IP address of their server with a number of web sites, could be 100s. However to use SSL, a web site must have a dedicated IP address. Therefore a single web site with that IP address will have SSL support.
By using a wildcard in your DNS (so resolves) means that all hosts will resolve to the same IP address.
As SSL cannot share an IP address, and does not see the host name being used, it will connect, and generate the SSL certificate mismatch.

How to resolve? Either remove the wildcard entry on the external DNS or have an entry for put in to your domain with a dummy IP address - for example. This will cause the host name to resolve, but fail to connect. See the single host replacement method on this page for instructions on how to do it:

However if you ever deploy Exchange 2007 or higher then remember to remove it!

Short URL for

One of the most useful online tools to come out of Microsoft for the Exchange product is their testexchangeconnectivity site - or to give it's correct name - the Microsoft Exchange Remote Connectivity Analyzer (ExRCA). However the URL is a mouthful, and if you are typing it as often as I do, it is easy to make mistakes.

Therefore I have setup a short URL for it using our Exchange community site  - you can get to it via

I was going to use (which also works) but I thought et would be easier to remember.

New Site Launch -

Today we have launched a new web site - This is a development of an internal site that was built in a hurry after the Paddington exchange flood in March 2010 and is our first all new site launch since was created in December 2009 - all others have been existing content spun out to their own sites.

At the moment it is simply a list of links to the status pages for most of the biggest ISPs in the UK, along with BT, and some other internet based services. Not all ISPs have status pages, so where they cannot be found they are not included.

If you are supporting clients on multiple ISPs then this page could be useful, as it is a single location for the list, which we intend to keep up to date.

The site may be developed over time, but we believe it will be a useful resource in its current format.

Related Links home page:
ISP Status Pages:
Phone Services Status pages:
Other Internet Services Status pages: