Thunderbird can't send email (no connection to server)

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Thunderbird can't send email (no connection to server)

Postby filecore » Wed Jan 21, 2009 9:36 pm

Okay, weird problem that just spontaneously started a few days ago, and is bugging the hell out of me. I've made no changes to my box or to the LAN that I'm aware of, and I've double-checked as much as I can think of.

1. Thunderbird settings haven't changed. Can receive email but outgoing mail no longer finds server (error "Sending of message failed. The message could not be sent because connecting to SMTP server mail.inet.fi failed." etc). It works intermittently, usually once my computer has been on for quite a number of hours already. This is intolerable as I work from home.

2. I can ping the mail server (mail.inet.fi / 195.156.147.15) and use webmail, so that's not the problem. I'm not firewalled, as the problem started spontaneously anyway, but I have tested this - I'm running Windows Firewall and NOD32 Antivirus, I've tried disabling these to test. I've also disabled any firewall and filtering on my router.

3. Since ping and webmail work, and I've changed nothing in Thunderbird's configuration - I have tested it by launching Thunderbird in Safe Mode, thus disabling any potentially unstable extensions - and it doesn't look like a firewall-related issue, I'm stumped. Obviously there is a problem somewhere in communication between Thunderbird and the server, and all the obvious culprits have been checked out. I have no more ideas. Please help!

EDIT: Hmm, although I'm generally receiving mail okay, I'm getting intermittent timeouts when connecting to my email accounts too. Perhaps it's a bigger problem than I thought (not that being unable to read my work email when I'm trying to work isn't big enough already!). I've tried using port 587 for outgoing mail, instead of port 25, but to no avail; I'll try upgrading my NIC's drivers now.
Home server: Asus P5Q Pro, Core2Quad, 8GB DDR2, ENGTX260 876MB, Zalman 800w, Antec P180 case, 2x1TB and 2x2TB Samsung Spinpoint F1, Windows 7 64-bit, etc

Work server: HP ProLiant ML350 G6, hexacore Xeon E5645 2.4GHz (12 logical cores), 16GB DDR3, 3x300GB SAS RAID5, Server 2008 R2, nVidia GT560Ti 1GB for Hyper-V RemoteFX acceleration
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Postby filecore » Thu Jan 22, 2009 12:41 am

Further to this:

Testing in a VM reveals that it works perfectly (XPSP2 VM), and when it's running in both the host and guest, I get an "exceeded maximum number of simultaneous connections to this IMAP server" error, which demonstrates to me that not only are both accounts connecting, in some fashion, but that the problem lies with Vista. Otherwise the VM's copy would not be able to work.

I then speculated that it might be a problem with Vista's copy of Thunderbird, so I backed up all of my data from the User/AppData/Roaming folder (equivalent to Application Data under XP) and then reinstalled Thunderbird. I used both a fresh profile and an import of my profile data; neither made a difference.

So the problem appears to not be with the following parts of the system:

- Thunderbird (2.0.0.19)
- firewall (Windows Firewall)
- antivirus (NOD32 3.0.669)
- router (WRT54GL)
- modem (Thomson TWC710)
- mail server (mail.inet.fi)

Additionally, I have done the following:

- updated NIC drivers
- updated chipset drivers
- updated Windows via Windows Update

Where, then, could the problem possibly lie?
Home server: Asus P5Q Pro, Core2Quad, 8GB DDR2, ENGTX260 876MB, Zalman 800w, Antec P180 case, 2x1TB and 2x2TB Samsung Spinpoint F1, Windows 7 64-bit, etc

Work server: HP ProLiant ML350 G6, hexacore Xeon E5645 2.4GHz (12 logical cores), 16GB DDR3, 3x300GB SAS RAID5, Server 2008 R2, nVidia GT560Ti 1GB for Hyper-V RemoteFX acceleration
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Postby evasive » Thu Jan 22, 2009 1:49 am

This is weird indeed but it seems the OS itself is the culprit then, maybe some sort of extra protection inside vista that doesn't allow you to send many SMTP message within a certain timeframe. I have no real idea but I would not be surprised if M$ releases another fix to get rid of yet another oversized security feature of vista to some extent. Has NOD32 buffer overflow protection? Sometimes apps trigger that in their normal operation, have had an issue with McAfee along those lines once.
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Postby filecore » Thu Jan 22, 2009 1:53 am

evasive wrote:Has NOD32 buffer overflow protection?


I haven't the faintest clue. All I know is that I used its internal 'disable antivirus and antispyware' function - although I didn't kill the program itself, it was still running in some manner, waiting to be re-enabled - but since that was the first app that I installed on Vista, about a month ago, and the email problems have only begun in the last week, I very much doubt it's to blame. Same goes for the OS itself being the problem - if that was the case, why wouldn't it have had this problem consistently? I've rebooted the router and modem, cleaned the registry, and looked at just about every setting and program that I can think of. The funny thing is that it works in the VM. This is weird.
Home server: Asus P5Q Pro, Core2Quad, 8GB DDR2, ENGTX260 876MB, Zalman 800w, Antec P180 case, 2x1TB and 2x2TB Samsung Spinpoint F1, Windows 7 64-bit, etc

Work server: HP ProLiant ML350 G6, hexacore Xeon E5645 2.4GHz (12 logical cores), 16GB DDR3, 3x300GB SAS RAID5, Server 2008 R2, nVidia GT560Ti 1GB for Hyper-V RemoteFX acceleration
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Postby evasive » Thu Jan 22, 2009 3:22 am

I you can remember when the problem started exactly you might be able to check your eventlogs on that day and see if anything strange happened or some completely unrelated software got installed or whatever.
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Postby filecore » Thu Jan 22, 2009 3:44 am

Nothing obvious - I think it started at the weekend, so maybe around the 18th/19th, although I'm afraid I don't recall. I looked through the logs but the only recurring entry was the old 4226, "TCP/IP has reached the security limit imposed on the number of concurrent TCP connect attempts", which could theoretically be connected but I doubt it.

One strange thing I did notice is that I have about a billion entries on the 19th for Windows Update installing various hotfixes - each fix has from 10-20 identical entries (timestamped with the same time, right down to the second), reporting "Windows Servicing started a process of changing package KB951978(Update) state from Installed(Installed) to Installed(Installed)". It again seems like a bit of a long shot, but it's possible there is a problem within Windows causing this, which has had a knock-on effect to Thunderbird's connectivity.

At the moment I'm either using my mail client through the VM and sending my work-related attachments from it via a network shared folder, or else using the cruddy webmail interface. I can post copies of my event logs if you think it would help, but I just see the same status messages repeated over and over; nothing special.
Home server: Asus P5Q Pro, Core2Quad, 8GB DDR2, ENGTX260 876MB, Zalman 800w, Antec P180 case, 2x1TB and 2x2TB Samsung Spinpoint F1, Windows 7 64-bit, etc

Work server: HP ProLiant ML350 G6, hexacore Xeon E5645 2.4GHz (12 logical cores), 16GB DDR3, 3x300GB SAS RAID5, Server 2008 R2, nVidia GT560Ti 1GB for Hyper-V RemoteFX acceleration
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Postby evasive » Thu Jan 22, 2009 5:36 am

There is a problem with that exact update and zonealarm:
http://www.broadbandreports.com/forum/r ... rm-PROBLEM

you may want to check if it works again once you uninstall that patch. If it does I suggest you post that info on bugzilla...
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Postby filecore » Thu Jan 22, 2009 10:01 am

Solved!

I'm a plonker. I was using NOD32 on the VM as well as the Vista machine, but I was using different versions because the VM was 32-bit XP and the host was 64-bit Vista! I thought I'd set the same settings but they work differently. That was my first mistake.

My second mistake is one of the oldest in the book - I assumed I had disabled NOD32 from its tray icon menu, but even though it said it was disabled, it was still running - the only way to kill it is by starting in Safe Mode or by uninstalling it completely, neither of which I did.

I eventually navigated to some well-nested options in its advanced configuration interface and disabled all HTTP transit and email scanning (but not local file scanning) - and now everything else works properly!

Let this be a lesson to you all.
Home server: Asus P5Q Pro, Core2Quad, 8GB DDR2, ENGTX260 876MB, Zalman 800w, Antec P180 case, 2x1TB and 2x2TB Samsung Spinpoint F1, Windows 7 64-bit, etc

Work server: HP ProLiant ML350 G6, hexacore Xeon E5645 2.4GHz (12 logical cores), 16GB DDR3, 3x300GB SAS RAID5, Server 2008 R2, nVidia GT560Ti 1GB for Hyper-V RemoteFX acceleration
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Postby evasive » Thu Jan 22, 2009 1:19 pm

LOL. Oh the joy of recognition. I wasn't asking completely out of the blue. I have been banging my head against walls over similar stuff too and several times it boiled down to not checking each and every piece of the puzzle... Thank you for reporting back.
We hate rut, but we fear change.
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Postby filecore » Thu Jan 22, 2009 1:23 pm

No problem. Even when it's quite embarrasing to myself, it may be a revelation to a lesser experienced system user, and anyway it's a warning to a 'more experienced' user like myself not to get too cocky :oops: also, I hate it when you search for your problem on Google and find forum threads on exactly the same topic where the original poster either never reports back - leaving you wondering if a solution was found - or reports back with "Ok, never mind, I solved it" and leaving you wondering what the heck the solution was. Just make a point giving back to the community that helped you out so many times :-)
Home server: Asus P5Q Pro, Core2Quad, 8GB DDR2, ENGTX260 876MB, Zalman 800w, Antec P180 case, 2x1TB and 2x2TB Samsung Spinpoint F1, Windows 7 64-bit, etc

Work server: HP ProLiant ML350 G6, hexacore Xeon E5645 2.4GHz (12 logical cores), 16GB DDR3, 3x300GB SAS RAID5, Server 2008 R2, nVidia GT560Ti 1GB for Hyper-V RemoteFX acceleration
filecore
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