Exchange Server won’t startup (HUB & UM Role)

Today we had a interesting issue with a exchange server. It’s a Exchange 2010 server with the UM and Hub role collocated and after reboot the following error appeared:

  • Server wont start exchange services, and a error when login saying that winmail.exe failed and needed to close. after some other errors appeared but seems to be irrelevant in this case.
  • Forefront Client Security was corrupted.

We have the roles collocated for couple of years already but we think that a Windows update might be the source of our problems. Unfortunatly we cannot find out until Microsoft release a update to prevent this problem 🙂

We know when installing UM we had to enable desktop experience for UM Server role. So their is no doubt Windows Mail is their (winmail.exe). Why Windows Mail want to execute and after fails?
After digging around and looked at the Pickup folder in the Exchange Transport folder we saw couple of messages pending. They had the icon for Windows Mail as default program to open them funny enough. We decided to delete those 2 messages and rebooted the system.
After reboot all was working fine.

We waited to see HUB role to process some messages and decided to reboot again… and yep, we just broke it again. We did the riddle again and it worked afterwards.

Might there be an issue with some of the Microsoft Updates? Anyone experienced these behavior lately? As i mentioned we have these roles collocated for already long time and it seems when the services are starting the Pickup folder messages are in some way executed instead of being processed by the transport service. After  fixing the issue after the second crash we only had issues left regarding Forefront Security. We will have to look for a solution to reinstall this. For now we disabled the forefront integration with FSCUtility.exe /disable tool.