Windows Small Business Server POP3 Connector Stops Working

Symptoms: A user suddenly stops receiving mail and the POP3 Connector drops an eventID: 203 with an error code of 0x800ccc67.

Problem: The POP3 connector will not download messages that have a malformed header & it leaves them on the POP server. Once 5 emails with bad headers accumulate on the server, it stops trying to retrieve mail for that account.

Solution: Login to the users’ webmail and manually delete the messages with bad headers. Good luck figuring out which ones have bad headers since lots of email providers (Gmail comes to mind) stopped adhering to the RFC standards for email years ago. I figured it was going to be spam messages with the bad headers, so I went through all 200+ emails on the POP server (webmail) and deleted all the spam I could find. Same error – that leaves only legit messages. So I just set up Outlook to POP the server directly, downloaded the 207 messages to the user’s mailbox, then removed the POP account from Outlook – the error went away and POP3 Connector started working again.

When I looked at the SBS POP3 Connector log I also noticed that all messages bigger than 10Mb are left on the POP server and never downloaded since the server was configured.  This setting can be changed and will be discussed in a future article.

Bottom line – I’ve always been suspicious of POP3 Connector, but drawn to its easy manageability. I have once again decided that it sucks. I’ll bet that if you login to any of your clients’ webmail that are using POP3 Connector, there are hundreds of messages that are not spam that have been ignored by your SBS server yet never bounced back to the sender because they were received by the ISP’s SMTP server.


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