Topic Last Modified: 2009-02-17

The Microsoft Exchange Server Best Practices Analyzer examines the Active Directory directory service to obtain the values for the folderPathName attribute and the msExchDefaultDomain attribute for each virtual directory that is hosted by Microsoft Exchange 2003 or Microsoft Exchange 2000 servers.

The Best Practices Analyzer compares the paths from these attributes to the paths that are stored in the Internet Information Services (IIS) metabase on the corresponding servers to determine whether they match. If the paths do not match, the Best Practices Analyzer generates the following warning message:

The path of virtual directory '<VirtualDirectory>' on server <ServerName> doesn't match the 'folderPathName' or 'msExchDefaultDomain' attributes in Active Directory. This will result in failed Outlook Web Access (OWA) and WebDAV usage. Current path: <Path>.

This message indicates that a problem may exist with the particular virtual directory. If the path that is stored in the metabase differs from the path that is stored in Active Directory, users who use earlier versions of Outlook Web Access may be unable to connect to their mailboxes or to Exchange public folders. In this scenario, when a user tries to connect to Exchange by using the URL for the front-end server, the user receives the following error message:

Error: 404 - File or directory not found.

The resource you are looking for might have been removed, had its name changed, or is temporarily unavailable.

The mailbox and public folders virtual directory paths for all front-end and back-end Client Access servers must match the corresponding information in the msExchDefaultDomain and folderPathName attributes in Active Directory.

WebDAV and earlier Outlook Web Access virtual directories point to a Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) domain. The SMTP domain is used to map to mailboxes. For example, a URL such as http://<server>/exchange may be mapped to the following path:


In this scenario, if you browse to http://<server>/exchange/user1, Exchange maps the request to a mailbox, such as

When you configure a virtual directory for Exchange 2003 or Exchange 2000, the configuration information is stored in the IIS metabase. The IIS metabase is an .xml file that contains configuration information for IIS. Exchange 2003 and Exchange 2000 include a process that is known as the Directory Service to Metabase process (DS2MB). This process is responsible for synchronizing changes between the IIS metabase and Active Directory. If the DS2MB process becomes disabled, virtual directory information that you configure may not be synchronized with Active Directory.

To address this issue, note the path that is specified for the virtual directory, and then use the Active Directory Services Interface (ADSI) Edit tool (Adsiedit.msc) to set the value for the msExchDefaultDomain and folderPathName attributes in Active Directory.

To view the virtual directory path in Windows Server 2003
  1. Start the Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager MMC snap-in.

  2. Expand the server name, expand Web Sites, expand Default Web Site, right-click the virtual server that was specified in the Best Practices Analyzer warning message, and then click Properties. For example, right-click Exchange.

  3. Click the Virtual Directory tab, and then note the path that appears in the Local path box. This path resembles the following:


To set the folderPathName and msExchDefaultDomain attributes in Active Directory
  1. Start the ADSI Edit tool. To do this, click Start, click Run, type adsiedit.msc, and then click OK.

    In Windows Server 2008, ADSI Edit is installed by default. In Windows Server 2003, ADSI Edit is included with the Windows Support Tools. To install the Windows Support Tools, double-click Suptools.msi in the Support\Tools folder on the Windows Server 2003 CD.
  2. Connect to the Configuration container on a domain controller if ADSI Edit is not already connected.

  3. Expand the following path:

    • Configuration [<domainController>]

    • CN=Configuration,DC=contoso,DC=com

    • CN=Services

    • CN=Microsoft Exchange

    • CN=<OrganizationName>

    • CN=Administrative Groups

    • CN=<AdministrativeGroupName>

    • CN=Servers

    • CN=<ServerName>

    • CN=Protocols

    • CN=HTTP

    • CN=1

  4. In the details pane, right-click CN=<VirtualServer>, and then click Properties. Replace <VirtualServer> with the name of the virtual server that was specified in the Best Practices Analyzer warning message. For example, right-click CN=Exchange, or right-click CN=Public.

    The Best Practices Analyzer rule examines only the properties for the Exchange virtual directory and the Public virtual directory.
  5. On the Attribute Editor tab, click folderPathName, and then click Edit.

  6. In the Value box, type the value that corresponds to the folder path, and then click OK. For example, for the /Exchange virtual directory, type MBX in the Value box.

  7. On the Attribute Editor tab, click the msExchDefaultDomain attribute, and then click Edit. By default, this attribute is not set. If this attribute is set, verify that it matches the SMTP domain that appears in the physical path of the virtual directory in Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager.

  8. Exit the ADSI Edit tool.