Update 973917 causes "Service Unavailable" in OWA, ActiveSync and application pools to automaticly disabled in Exchange Server 2003 and repeated login prompts in Exchange Server 2007

or, “How to type a long topic…”

Long description (shorter solution presented below…)

Today an issue occurred on a customers Exchange Server 2003. The Outlook Web Access and ActiveSync had stopped working and when accessing OWA the error “Service Unavailable” where displayed. After a quick look in IIS Manager I noticed that the two application pools configured for Exchange Server 2003 had stopped.

I tried iisreset and the pools came back up. As soon as OWA or ActiveSync was accessed the pools stopped again.

The following Events where logged in the System Log:

Event Type:    Error
Event Source:    W3SVC
Event Category:    None
Event ID:    1002
Description:
Application pool ‘ExchangeApplicationPool’ is being automatically disabled due to a series of failures in the process(es) serving that application pool.

For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp.

Event Type:    Warning
Event Source:    W3SVC
Event Category:    None
Event ID:    1009
Description:
A process serving application pool ‘ExchangeApplicationPool’ terminated unexpectedly. The process id was ‘5892’. The process exit code was ‘0xffffffff’.

For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp.

Event Type:    Warning
Event Source:    W3SVC
Event Category:    None
Event ID:    1009
Description:
A process serving application pool ‘ExchangeApplicationPool’ terminated unexpectedly. The process id was ‘1276’. The process exit code was ‘0xffffffff’.

For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp.

Event Type:    Warning
Event Source:    W3SVC
Event Category:    None
Event ID:    1009
Description:
A process serving application pool ‘ExchangeApplicationPool’ terminated unexpectedly. The process id was ‘3884’. The process exit code was ‘0xffffffff’.

For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp.

Event Type:    Warning
Event Source:    W3SVC
Event Category:    None
Event ID:    1009
Description:
A process serving application pool ‘ExchangeApplicationPool’ terminated unexpectedly. The process id was ‘2212’. The process exit code was ‘0xffffffff’.

For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp.

Event Type:    Warning
Event Source:    W3SVC
Event Category:    None
Event ID:    1009
Description:
A process serving application pool ‘ExchangeApplicationPool’ terminated unexpectedly. The process id was ‘3960’. The process exit code was ‘0xffffffff’.

For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp.

I also noticed that these errors started to occurred directly after the installation of a couple of updates for Windows. After uninstalling one update at the time it finally worked, the update causing this issue where “Update for Windows Server 2003 (973917)”.

After uninstalling the update i got a Windows Authentication login prompt when accessing OWA. I looked at the Application Pools again and they where set to run by “Network Service”. I changes this to “Local System” an the problem was solved.

Short Solution

  1. Uninstall Microsoft Update for Windows Server 2003 (973917)
  2. Restart the server
  3. Make sure that the correct user is set to run the application pools. Follow these steps:
    1.  In Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager, expand Application Pools.
    2.  Right-click ExchangeApplicationPool, and then click Properties.
    3.  Click the Identity tab, and then in the Select a security account for this application pool list, click Local System.
    4.  Click Apply, and then click OK.
  4. Restart IIS
  5. OWA and ActiveSync should now be working.

Let me know if you bump in to any other issues!

EDIT 2009-12-13
Microsoft has published a KB (KB973917) on this issue and recommends an reinstall of Windows Server 2003 SP2. See this page for more information: http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=2009746. This is a larger operation then just uninstalling the update but with this solution you will also get the security changes included in the 973917 update.
Thanks Wes for providing the link!

Please do also note that Microsofts suggested solution of reinstalling SP2 for Windows Server 2003 enables Scalable Networking pack. You can find more information on this issue and a link to the hotfix that disables SNP on the Microsoft Exchange Team blog: http://msexchangeteam.com/archive/2008/03/12/448421.aspx

EDIT 2009-12-18
According to a good friend of mine over at Mailmaster this is also an issue on Exchange Server 2007. The symptoms here is repeated login prompts and SP1 Rollup 9 is the fix for you running Exchange Server 2007. More info at Magnus blogg: http://mailmaster.se/blog/?p=392.

EDIT 2009-12-22
Just thought I should add a link to where you can find more info on SP1 Rollup 9: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee221166(EXCHG.80).aspx 
And if you want you can download it from here: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=55320be2-c65c-48bb-bab8-6335aa7d008c.

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13 Responses to Update 973917 causes "Service Unavailable" in OWA, ActiveSync and application pools to automaticly disabled in Exchange Server 2003 and repeated login prompts in Exchange Server 2007

  1. Sheldon Troyer says:

    Thanks for posting your findings. Had the same problem that started yesterday. Just uninstalled update 973917, rebooted the server … all is well again, or at least OWA is working again.

    • msundis says:

      Hi Sheldon,

      No worries, Im glad it worked for you aswell. Have you found any other issues after the uninstall?

      Martin

  2. wes says:

    I had the same issue this morning after installing 973917. Thank you for letting others know about this issue – You saved me a bunch of time.

  3. wes says:

    None yet. Everything seems to be fine.

  4. Pingback: mailmaster blog » Exchange error after KB973917

  5. Glad you posted this, that way I could find the solution. I already planned to completely rebuild the server, pffff

    Thanks!

    Thom

  6. Pingback: How To Fix Stop 0xffffffff Errors in Windows

  7. Pingback: How To Fix Event Id 1002 W3svc Errors - Windows Vista, Windows 7 & 8

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