Tools for an Exchange Administrator


Part of being proactive means that you’re prepared to react quickly when a problem occurs. That makes sense, right… thinking proactively about being reactive? Knowing the right tool for the job is part of this. Having the right tool at hand when it’s needed, or knowing where to find it, can give you an edge on identifying a problem quickly or allow you to proactively collect data, baseline servers and other tasks.

As an Exchange administrator, you need to know what tools are available, where to find them, what they do and when you should use them. Without knowing what’s available and where to find them, the rest doesn’t matter. With this in mind, we wanted to create a post listing common Exchange tools important to an Exchange administrator with links for an easy way to get them when you need them.

One thing I like to have my customers do is to have a core set of tools that we include in the Exchange Server build process. This allows us to have them available whenever we need them. Without doing this, we sometimes have to go through management approval or change control procedures depending on the companies processes. You probably know what it’s like waiting for these to happen while you’ve got a task you’re trying to complete. While you’re looking through this list, I’d encourage you to come up with a list of core tools that you include in future server deployments.

The link for most of the tools is a link to Bing.com with the first result being a download link at the time of publishing this post. We decided to do this instead of direct links to avoid linking to an older version or outdated site as updates become available.

Here’s the list.

Tool

Notes

Bginfo

Generates customized desktop background images.

CalCheck

Checks for known issues in Outlook calendar items.

Error Code Lookup (err.exe)

Lookup numerical error codes from many different products.

Exchange 2010 Server Deployment Assistant

Takes input about your environment and generates customized instructions you can use to upgrade to Exchange 2010.

Exchange 2010 Visio Stencil

Exchange Viso shaps.

Exchange Client Network Bandwidth Calculator

Helps predict bandwidth requirements for a specific set of clients.

Exchange Mailbox Server Role Requirements Calculator

Excel spreadsheet used when planning mailbox server design.

ExFolders (previously PFDavAdmin)

Access public folder and mailbox information. Ability to import and export.

ExLogAnalyzer

Analyze message tracking logs

ExMON

See near real time information about resources individual users are consuming.

ExPDA

Performs and overall readiness scan of your environment prior to an Exchange 2010 deployment.

ExPerfWiz

PowerShell script that automates the creation of performance monitor collection settings.

ExRCA (Remote Connectivity Analyzer)

Test Exchange connectivity from the internet. Tests Autodiscover, ActiveSync and more.

Log Parser

Powerful command line tool to parse text based logs (like IIS logs) and other types of logs.

Log Parser Studio

GUI for Log Parser that has useful log parser queries built in and allows easy creation and management of queries.

MAPI Editor (MFCMapi)

Tool to access mailboxes and see things Outlook doesn’t.

Microsoft Active Directory Topology Diagrammer

Create a diagram of AD and includes Exchange objects.

Network Monitor

Captures network traffic for analysis

OAB Integ

Checks for issues that may cause OAB generation problems.

OABValidate

Checks OAB files and Active Directory information to check for potential OAB related problems.

Outlook Configuration Analyzer Tool

Analyzes an Outlook profile looking for common configuration issues.

PAL

Automatic analysis of performance monitor log files and outputs a HTML report.

Performance and Threshold Counters for Exchange Server 2010

List of performance monitor counters and thresholds. Useful if an automatic monitoring system is not being used.

PortQryUI

Checks TCP & UDP port availability.

Process Explorer

Shows information about which handles and DLLs processes have opened or loaded.

Process Monitor

Collects information about running processes. Shows file system access, registry access and process/thread activity.

Process Tracking Log (PTL) tool

Analyze message tracking logs to look for situations like message loops and other issues.

PST Capture

Used to discover and import PST files.

There you have it! We hope you find this useful. If you have tools you think would be valuable to add to the list, let us know.

If you want to get some personal exposure to most of these tools and learn about when you would use them, we have a one day Chalk Talk available that covers tools and troubleshooting scenarios. Check with your Technical Account Manager for more information.

Comments (2)

  1. @Michel, yes, you have a nice list there as well.  

  2. Nice, but missing some essentials though. I have put up an "Exchange Tools" page for some time now at eightwone.com/exchange-toolkit

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