Microsoft KB Archive/248253

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Article ID: 248253

Article Last Modified on 10/28/2006


  • Microsoft Exchange Server 5.5 Service Pack 3

This article was previously published under Q248253


Deferred delivery in Exchange Server 5.5 Service Pack 3 (SP3) may not be working correctly. This issue may be exhibited by one of the following behaviors or a combination of these behaviors:

  • The message transfer agent (MTA) may deliver deferred delivery messages late or not at all. Delivery times may be inconsistent; sometimes deferred delivery mail may be sent a day late or even later.
  • If a message is sent with deferred delivery to a distribution list (DL) that contains users from different servers, the message may not be delivered to some users while others receive it. If the message is sent again with deferred delivery to the same DL, some users do not receive the message, but this time they may be different users than in the first attempt.
  • If the message is sent with deferred delivery with the sender's name in the To field, From field, BCC field, and CC field all at once, messages may not be delivered on time or may not be delivered to some recipients at all. It may cause the deferred message to get stuck in the MTA.
  • When sent with deferred delivery to a DL, messages may be delivered early and ahead of the delivery schedule.

The preceding scenarios can only happen when messages are set for deferred delivery by using Microsoft Outlook 97, Microsoft Outlook 98, or the Microsoft Exchange Client. These scenarios do not occur for messages set for deferred submission. For a more detailed explanation of deferred delivery versus deferred submission, please read the "More Information" section later in this article. This issue occurs only with Outlook 98 and earlier.

You can verify the presence of deferred delivery messages in the message transfer agent (MTA) by:

  • Observing the Deferred Delivery Msgs counter in Performance Monitor, under the MSExchangeMTA object.
  • Checking the application event log for Event IDs 275 and 273. If diagnostics logging is turned to Maximum on the server's MTA object, X.400 Service category, an Event ID 275 is written to the application log for each deferred delivery message when the MTA is started. Also, when the message timer expires, an Event ID 273 from the MTA service is also written to the application log. Event ID 275

    A deferred delivery timer started for message id C=US;A= ;P=Microsoft;L=EXCHANGE-991102190304Z-3324, object 991102190400Z. Delivery is scheduled for 991102190400Z. [MTA SUBMIT 15 359] (10)

    Event ID 273

    A deferred delivery timer has expired for message C=US;A= ;P=Microsoft;L=EXCHANGE-991102190304Z-3324, object 06000132. [MTA SUBMIT 15 205] (12)


To set deferred delivery on messages, in the client, you click Options from the View menu, and then click to select the Do not deliver before <Date> check box. This defers messages by setting the deferred X.400 bit in the message, and they are stored in the MTA until delivery. However, an MTA variable that is responsible for setting up deferred delivery timer is not getting initialized correctly, which results in the timer queue getting sorted incorrectly. Because this variable is not initialized correctly and has different values at different times, it results in the different incorrect behaviors explained in the "Symptoms" section.


To resolve this problem, obtain the latest service pack for Exchange Server 5.5. For additional information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

191014 XGEN: How to Obtain the latest Exchange Server 5.5 Service Pack


To work around this issue, defer messages from the pre-Outlook 2000 client or the Exchange Client by following these steps:

  • On the File menu, click Properties, click Send Options, click the MS Exchange Server tab, and then click Send this item in <variable> where <variable> can be minutes, hours, days, or weeks.

Stopping and restarting the MTA may also causes deferred messages to be delivered.


Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in Microsoft Exchange Server 5.5 SP3. This problem was first corrected in Exchange Server 5.5 Service Pack 4.


The two methods for deferring messages are deferred delivery and deferred submission.

The deferred delivery method is when the deferred delivery bit is set on the message and it is placed in the Mtadata folder until the timer expires. You see the Event ID 275 indicating that the deferred timer is starting with the MTS-ID of the message, and if the X.400 service is set to maximum, an Event ID 272 immediately follows, which indicates the message submission and displays the MTS-ID and the .dat file ID. This is purely MTA-based and it maps to the MTA's X.400 P1 field. To set messages for deferred delivery, follow the steps in the "Cause" section.

The deferred submission method gives you more control over the message. This method puts the message in the Outbox until the timer expires. At this point, the information store is responsible for the message, and the user has the option of changing the time or deleting the message all together. The scenarios described in the "Symptoms" section do not occur for messages that are set for deferred submission. To set messages for deferred submission; follow the steps in the "Workaround" section. For additional information on deferred delivery and deferred submission, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

188696 XCLN: Deferred Delivery Options for Exchange/Outlook Clients

Keywords: kbbug kbexchange550presp4fix kbexchange550sp4fix kbfix KB248253