Microsoft Exchange and Blackberry Server Specialists

Enabling and Using Message Tracking

This is for Exchange 2003 ONLY. For the version for Exchange 2007, click here: Message Tracking - Exchange 2007

Message tracking is a feature of Exchange which allows you to track what Exchange has done with a message. It works for both inbound and outbound messages, as well as internal messages.

  • The feature does not show you the actual message, but can show the subject line.
  • It does need to activated before use. You cannot activate it and then ask for information from the feature retrospectively.

With its low overhead it is a good idea to leave it enabled all time, so that the information is there when required.

Enabling and Configuring Message Tracking

Message tracking is set per server, so if you have multiple servers you will need to enable it on each.

  1. Open Exchange System Manager, Servers.
  2. Right click on your server and choose Properties.
  3. Select the following options:
    • Enable subject logging and display
    • Enable message tracking
  4. You should review the "remove log files" option. In most cases 30 days of logs is enough. If your site is very high traffic then you may consider keeping less, possibly only 7 to 10 days of logs.
  5. You should also review the location of the log files. It is good practise to keep them away from the main Exchange store, perhaps on a separate drive. If you have the space, putting them on the same drive as the transaction logs can provide a convenient place to store them. 

Tracking Messages - Exchange 2003

Once you have collected the raw statistics, you need to track the message.

  1. Open Exchange System Manager and then Tools.
  2. Click on Message Tracking Center
  3. Enter the server that you want to track the message from. This will be the server that the user who sent or received the message has their mailbox on, depending on whether you want to track inbound or outbound messages.

You can actually search at that point - with nothing else configured. That will return a result - up to a maximum of 1000 items, of every message that server has processed since midnight.
However you should use the other fields to narrow the search criteria.

Once you have found the message that you are interested in, double click on it and another new box will be presented. This will show you what Exchange did with the message. If it is an inbound message, it will show where it was delivered to. If it was an outbound message then the address of the server that the message was delivered to will be show.

Doing More with Message Tracking

The message tracking logs can be used by other applications to create more intuitive reports.

Commercial Products

  • Quest Message Stats is one of the best third party applications for processing the logs.
  • Another tool that can process the logs is Mail Detective from ADVSOFT. This product is charged per mailbox or per server for Exchange, and can be much cheaper than Quest.
  • Sirana have an application called AppAnalyzer, which will produce statistics on your Exchange environment:
  • Waterford technologies have MailMeter .
  • Promodag have Exchange reports.
  • Mechanical Minds have Exchange Log Analyzer


Microsoft Links

There is some information on using Message Tracking on Microsoft's web site.

How to enable message tracking in Exchange 2000 Server and in Exchange Server 2003 (KB 246856)
Using the Message Tracking Center to Track a Message (KB 262162)