Under The Hood: Exchange ActiveSync Mailbox Log Analysis – Part 2

The previous post for Exchange ActiveSync mailbox log analysis gave an overview of the various commands a device may send. Now we want to dig just a little bit deeper and provide a way to link items within an EAS mailbox log to the items inside the mailbox.

Unless verbose logging is enabled you do not see the full details of the item (subject, sender, etc.) This leads us to the question: How do you know what item the ActiveSync request/response was for within the mailbox? The next few sections will show you how to correlate an appointment, message, and attachment between the mailbox log and mailbox contents.

Calendar items

The first step is locating the item within the mailbox and pulling the Global Object ID (GOID) property value for the item. We cannot do this using Outlook, so we will need to download MFCMAPI. Launch MFCMAPI, go to the Session menu and select Logon to select your Outlook profile. Open the mailbox and expand the Root Container and Top of Information Store. Right-click on the Calendar and select Open contents table.


Find your appointment inside the Calendar table. Then right-click on the tag 0x80000102 and select Edit property. In this example, we will use the appointment with the subject “Blog demo”.


Copy this binary value so you will have it available for a search against the mailbox log.


The Mailbox Log Parser utility allows you to search and review mailbox logs easily. Here we can use this tool to search for the GOID of the appointment. Launch Mailbox Log Parser, click Import Mailbox Logs to Grid, locate your mailbox log and click Open. Once the log is open, enter the binary value you copied from MFCMAPI into the Search raw log data for strings text box and click Search. The search results will filter the log entries so you only see log entries containing the GOID value of your appointment. Here you will notice the UID value within the mailbox log matches the GOID value from MFCMAPI (click to see full resolution):


Review each log entry to determine what action was taken against the appointment. The above image shows a log entry where a Sync request resulted in a change to the appointment. The details for the update can be found within the log entry on the far right. You may also want to consider performing a search using the ServerId value for the appointment found in the log entry. There may be responses that do not contain the UID such as a Delete.

Now let us look at how we can take the calendar item from the mailbox log and find the appointment within the mailbox. For our example we will use the UID value from the mailbox log we used earlier (in image above). We need to open the Calendar contents table using the steps outlined earlier using MFCMAPI. Inside the Calendar table, go to the Table menu and select Set columns.


Click OK on the Set Columns window. In the Column set window, click the Add button. In the Property Tag Editor window, enter the Property Tag value 0x80000102 and click OK twice. This will add the UID column to our table view.


Sort your Calendar table by this Property tag column you just added and then scroll down until you find the matching UID from the mailbox log. Here you can see we found our appointment once again with the subject “Blog demo”.


E-mail message

Launch MFCMAPI, go to the Session menu, and select Logon to select your Outlook profile. Open the mailbox and expand the Root Container and Top of Information Store. Right-click on the folder where the message resides and select Open contents table. This time we want to locate a message within the table. Next, right-click on the tag 0x00710102 and select Edit property. For this example, we will use the message with the subject “RE: Blog message #1”.


Copy the binary value and paste it into a tool like Notepad. This value is not as straightforward as the Global Object ID for an appointment. We need to break down this value into a few parts. The following example is from the third message in a conversation thread:


The value is broken down as follows:

  1. Remove the first byte – 01
  2. The next five bytes (10 characters) represent the Conversation Index for the message or the current system time- CEC6176324
  3. The next 16 bytes (32 characters) represent the Conversation Id for the message or the globally unique identifier (GUID) - 57F0D646F5744F4990165503AB61C52F
  4. The remaining bytes are added to the Conversation Index (only present for additional messages within the thread)

Note: Additional information on tracking conversations can be found here.

Alright, so what does that mean to us? Once again we will use the Mailbox Log Parser tool to search for our item. This time enter the ConversationId value extracted from the previous step into the Search raw log data for strings window. In the results below, you can see we found two messages with this ConversationId value. Remember, this search will return all messages related to the conversation including messages in Sent Items.


Analysis of the log entry shows the item being added to the folder on the device.


Keep in mind we have two results for this conversation. You need to use the Conversation Index value to locate the exact message in the log.

What about the reverse? Just make note of the ConversationId value from the mailbox log for your message. Then open MFCMAPI to open the content table for the folder where the message resides. Sort the table using the Conversation ID column and search for the ConversationId value from the mailbox log. You should find your message(s) for this conversation.


We can see in this example there are two messages within this conversation using the Conversation ID. We would need to examine the property further for each item to obtain the Conversation Index value to locate the exact message.


What about those attachment errors you see in the mailbox log? The mailbox log does give us the information we need to locate the attachment inside the mailbox. The following example shows the FileReference value of the attachment is 5%3a10%3a1. This equates to 5:10:1 or attachment 1 for ServerId 5:10.


First we have to search the mailbox log for this ServerId to determine the message if we do not already know it. Using the example attachment above, we can see the message being added to the folder:


Now we can use the steps from earlier section to locate the message within MFCMAPI using the ConversationId. Once we locate the message, right-click on the message and select Attachments > Display attachment table.


We can determine what attachment the ActiveSync mailbox log reference by matching the Num column from the log value. In our example, the attachment referenced was _Read~1.pdf.



Each item that is synchronized to and from Exchange contains a unique identifier that we can use to locate the item in either the mailbox or ActiveSync client. Calendar items have a unique Global Object ID and mail items have a ConversationIndex and ConversationId value. Now you can review an Exchange ActiveSync mailbox log with more confidence, knowing that you can associate items within the log with items inside the mailbox.

Jim Martin

Comments (5)
  1. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for sharing!! Liked the way it has been explained :)

  2. Anonymous says:

    Nice post Jim, & a very useful tool for troubleshooting.

  3. I <3 deep troubleshooting articles. Very well written article, Jim, another good troubleshooting tool to tuck into the Exchange admin's utility belt.

  4. Just finished reading through this and some of the previous parts/related articles.

    I know these types of articles don't get a lot of feedback in comments so I just wanted to say that they are very much appreciated and fascinating to read. Thanks for publishing content like this.

  5. bhavesh says:

    much detailed .. Much appreciated !! Thanks Jim

Comments are closed.

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