The Exchange/Office 365 Administrator Toolkit

I have been managing Exchange & Office 365 environments for several years now. In addition, I have migrated over 50,000 mailboxes towards Office 365. During all my endeavors I have been using many tools and scripts to manage and enable the environments.

Here are some of the tools I can really recommend for each administrator to have when you are doing something with Exchange or Office 365.

TCPing

http://www.elifulkerson.com/projects/tcping.php

Allot of issues in regards towards Exchange services not being available, have something to do with networking. This tool lets you ping on a certain IP using a specific port. If the port is open (for example 443), it will reply with a validation. Very handy to test if your ports are open and ready to supply the services hosted via your virtual directories (OWA, EWS and so on).

MXToolbox

http://mxtoolbox.com/

If you don’t know this tool, you as an Exchange administrator should be ashamed of yourself. However, for completeness of this guide, I put it up here. This marvelous tool lets you check public DNS records, validate DNS records settings, Check for blacklists & much more!

Whiteboard & marker

Heck, even a pen & paper will do. If I am totally lost, or if I want to understand a situation better, I always resort to drawing. I will try to visualize the environment and authentication & mail flows. This always helps me to understand the situation better.

Microsoft remote connectivity analyzer

https://testconnectivity.microsoft.com/

THE TOOL to go to when testing your web services provided by Exchange, Office 365 and SfB.

You can analyze ActiveSync, do connectivity tests and much more. This tool really gives deep insight in what is going wrong. Is your certificate not valid? Using the wrong DNS records? No authorization? This tool shows it all.

Office 365 Client Performance Analyzer

https://support.office.com/en-gb/article/Office-365-Client-Performance-Analyzer-e16b0928-bd38-423b-bd4e-b8402bc106aa?ui=en-US&rs=en-GB&ad=GB

Sadly, this tool has been deprecated. However, this tool is still great for testing purposes. You can use this tool to identify issues that affect network performance between your client PC’s and Office 365.

Microsoft recovery and support assistant for Office 365

https://diagnostics.outlook.com/#/?env=ExRCA

Helps you fix and analyze problems you have with Office 365 mailboxes. For example, sync issues, shared mailboxes that don’t work, etc.

HCIdata host2ip

http://www.hcidata.info/host2ip.cgi

Simply said…. You nslookup on the web

Senderbase

http://www.senderbase.org/

Another tool to check reputation based on domain and/or IP.

Cyren.com

http://www.cyren.com/ip-reputation-check.html

Just another reputation checker for IP’s. If you know the IP of a relay sever or IP of an MX record, just put it in there. A reparation check will be done and you will soon know if your IP is on a bad sender list.

MFCMAPI

http://mfcmapi.codeplex.com/releases/view/81002

A great tool which allows you to view the MAPI properties of an object in a mailbox. I have used this tool several times now. It really helps to solve those unexplainable mail flow issues and NDR’s.

Microsoft Message Analyzer

http://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/scriptcenter/VSSTesterps1-script-4ed07243

Message Analyzer enables you to capture, display, and analyze protocol messaging traffic; and to trace and assess system events and other messages from Windows components.

EXPERFWIZ

http://experfwiz.codeplex.com/

Tool for collecting performance data on your Exchange servers

VSSTester

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=44226

The VSSTester script can be used to validate the proper operation of Exchange 2010, Exchange 2013 and Exchange 2016 VSS writers and collect relevant troubleshooting information.

PST Capture 2.0

http://blogs.technet.com/b/exchange/archive/2013/02/22/time-to-go-pst-hunting-with-the-new-pst-capture-2-0.aspx

It finds PST files on users’ computers, the tool consolidates the PST files to a central location, and then easily injects PST data to primary or archive mailboxes on your on-premises Exchange Servers or Exchange Online.

Exchange environment Reports

http://www.stevieg.org/2011/06/exchange-environment-report/

Supplies you with some nice overviews of you Exchange environment and its current status/configuration.

RBAC Manager for Exchange

http://rbac.codeplex.com/

really simplifies your RBAC administration. Especially in large environments this is a tool that saved me allot of times before.

Exchange Server Role Requirements Calculator

https://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/Exchange-2013-Server-Role-f8a61780

A chart/sheet that lets you calculate your hardware/Virtual machine sizing needed to set up you Exchange environment. It takes some practice, but once you get the hang of it, you can size your environment pretty well.

Exchange Bulk Creation Tool

http://www.telnetport25.com/2013/04/released-exchange-bulk-user-creation-tool-v2-0-ebuct-2-0/

A very nice tool to create mailboxes in Bulk. This really saves up time, especially for setting up test environments!

Microsoft Exchange Jetstress tool

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=36849

This tool simulates Exchange disk I/O load to verify performance of your disk system before putting it in production. Never again will disks be your bottlenecks on your newly configure server!

Log Parser Studio

https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/exchange/2013/06/17/log-parser-studio-2-0-is-now-available/

Great tool for processing and obtaining valuable information from IIS and other logs. It can really help you navigate your way through gigabytes of logs.

(Other)PowerShell scripts

Allot of fancy PowerShell scripts are out there, just for the taking! Allot of genius and intuitive minds have come up will really cool scripts to better manage your Exchange and Office 365 environments, making life allot easier. As these scripts are countless, I am not going to post all scripts I am using down here. However, allot of these scripts can be found on TechNet, GitHub or websites like exchangeserverpro.

Of course there are also allot of built-in tools of Microsoft. Never underestimate the power of a ping, tracert, route print or nslookup.

But above all, never forget your own wits and knowledge. If something is amiss, go back to the basics and try to troubleshoot everything from step-to-step.

Cheers,

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