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Some error messages are more
unnerving than others. For example, when you open the Exchange System
Manager, here’s something you really don’t want to see: a dialog box with
a big red X that says “The Server Is Not Operational.”

This error can cause your Exchange 2000 or
Exchange 2003 organization a lot of trouble if you don’t get to the root
of it. However, figuring out where the problem originates typically isn’t
a problem.

Under these circumstances, the most likely
cause for this error is one or more problems with DNS. For example, you
may need to point your DNS server to itself for DNS resolution, the DNS
server may be down, or the DNS server may not be replicating properly with
other DNS servers on your network.

If you encounter this error dialog box when
you’re moving a mailbox from an Exchange 5.5 site for the first time, you
probably need to turn on Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) for
your Exchange 5.5 site or server.

We’ve also seen both of the above situations
when the Exchange 2000 or Exchange 2003 server couldn’t find a domain
controller. DNS problems can cause this, or the domain controller could be
down.

None of these problems usually take long to
correct, but they can be quite disruptive to your Exchange organization. A
problem with accessing domain controllers means problems with accessing
Active Directory, which has a very detrimental effect on local mail
delivery.

Therefore, resolving these problems quickly and
(hopefully) painlessly is important to your users–and to your sanity as
an administrator.