Exchange 2003 Message Tracking and Logging

by [Published on 10 Nov. 2005 / Last Updated on 10 Nov. 2005]

In this article I will show you how to enable Message Tracking and Logging of Messages in Exchange Server 2003.

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Let's begin

As an Exchange Aministrator you know the question from your Exchange users "where is my message which I sent to Mister X and Mister W". With enabled Exchange Message Tracking you can tell your users whether the e-mail has left your Exchange organization or not. OK, this feature is not helpful after the message has left your Exchange organization and there are many more hops where the message could be rejected or deleted, but it gives you the certainty that you are not responsible for delay.

Message Tracking can be enabled on the Exchange Server object in Exchange System Manager or with the help of System Policies for more than one Exchange Server. You can read more about Implementing Exchange System Policies here.

To enable Exchange Message Tracking, start the Exchange System Manager and navigate to the Server object on which you want to activate Message Tracking.

Figure 1: Locate the Exchange Server object in Exchange System Manager

Now you can enable Message Tracking and Subject Logging. If you enable Subject logging and display, the subject of every message will be displayed in the Exchange Message Tracking Center.

Please note that enabling of Subject Logging can produce some processing overhead on highly used Exchange Servers and you must also ensure that your security policy allows the logging of e-mail subjects.

You must specify the number of days after old logfiles will be deleted.

The Default Logfile directory is c:\program files\ExchSrvr\Servername.LOG.

Figure 2: Enable Message Tracking and Logging

After enabling Message Tracking and Logging, you will get the following message:

Figure 3: Warning Message that you must grant users read Access to the Message Tracking directory

By enabling Message Tracking, Exchange shares the Message Tracking directory for Administrators only, so you will need to grant read access to the share for users performing Message Tracking.

Figure 4: Message Tracking Share

Now it is time to navigate to the Exchange Message Tracking Center. The Message Tracking Center allows you to track Messages. You can specify the Sender of the Messages and the Recipient of the Message. You can specify the logging time from where you will track messages. After you enter the required information you can click "Find Now". If your search options are correct, you will see the Messages in the Message Tracking Center.

Figure 5: Message Tracking Center

If you doubleclick the Message a new window with more information about the message will appear. Now you can see the Message Flow in detail. As you can see in this example, the Message was submitted from the Exchange Store, transmitted to the Advanced Queuing Engine routed through the Categorizer and delivered locally to Sean@nwtraders.msft. This example deals with a single Server Message Flow, where it is easy to track where the Message has gone. Message Tracking is more powerful if you track messages in a multi Server scenario or when the message leaves the Exchange organization through a Connector or virtual SMTP server.

Figure 6: Message Tracking details

Exchange Message Tracking maintains a text logfile for every day. It is simple textfile so you can open the file with notepad or Excel for advanced analysis.

Figure 7: Message Tracking logfile

For more information about Troubleshooting and Monitoring Exchange 2003 Message Flow, read the article from Markus Klein.


Message Tracking is a great function to see the flow of messages in your Exchange Organization. Message Tracking provides a great solution to tell your users whether the message has left the Exchange organization or not.

Related Links

Troubleshooting and Monitoring Exchange Server 2003 Message Flow

How to enable message tracking in Exchange 2000 Server and in Exchange Server 2003;EN-US;246856

See Also

The Author — Marc Grote

Marc Grote avatar

Marc Grote is an MCSA/MCSE Messaging & Security, MCSE Private Cloud and Server Virtualization, an MCTS/MCITP and a Microsoft Certified Trainer and MCLC. He is a freelance Consultant and IT Trainer in the north of Germany near Hanover. He specializes in System Center, TMG/UAG Server, Exchange, Security for Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2012 R2 designs, migrations and implementations. His efforts have earned him recognition as a Microsoft MVP for ISA Server since 2004 until 2014. Starting in 2014 he has been awarded as an MVP for Hyper-V.


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