SBS 2003 plus ProLaw is a Very Bad Thing

I have a client who is running ProLaw.  Back in February, we replaced his aging SBS 2000 server with a spanking new SBS 2003 server.  It all worked great, except for one thing.  If Exchange was set to launch the Information Store and System Agent at startup (as is normal), the system would hang FOREVER at “Applying computer settings”.  I’m not talking about 30-40 minutes; I let it run one time, and it took 10 hours.

Numerous searches (thanks Google!) lead down many dark paths, but no answer.  Many pointed to APC or antivirus, but those were dismissed as being N/A, or taken care of already.

At the time, we found a work-around by setting those two services to Manual, and then remembering to start them anytime the server was restarted (or the power went off, or there was a full moon, or the elves went on strike).  While this was less than perfect,  it did save the client some money.

Finally, we got the go-ahead to give MS Support a call.  And, after two hours, the answer was found.

The ProLaw Exchange Agent.

For those who don’t use ProLaw, the Exchange Agent takes events that are entered in ProLaw and pushes them out to the responsible person’s Outlook folder.  It is pretty slick.  The problem is that it is a COM+ application, and the default for the COM+ service is Manual.  So, the Exchange System Agent would try to mount the information store, but it had to wait for the ProLaw agent to start.  The ProLaw agent couldn’t start, since it was set to manual, and the whole system got buggered.  So, a dependency was created in the IS to start the COM+ service, and voila! Success!

I really hope we never bomb Bangladesh.

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6 Responses to SBS 2003 plus ProLaw is a Very Bad Thing

  1. Chris Pick says:

    Thank you so much, I just took over the IT manager responsibilities at this law firm. The exchange issue has been haunting me for the last 3 months. I found : which you commented on about a com issue (which I did see referenced in the syslog). So I was amazed to see Prolaw as the subject. We use prolaw, and that is the exact issue we are having. THANK YOU SO MUCH.

  2. Ben says:

    My pleasure. So glad I could be of help.

  3. james ribeiro says:

    can you explain how you got prolaw to stop getting com+ catalog errors

  4. Ben says:

    Sorry; I haven’t run into that one. You could try re-registering the COM+ component; other than that, I would recommend calling tech support.

  5. Kris says:

    You should’ve called ProLaw support… It’s been a known issue with them since 2004. The funny part… MS fixed the issue with SP1, and then broke it again with SP2…

  6. Over the past few years, I’ve seen more ProLaw firms moving to virtualize their servers, but the Exchange Agent can certainly be tricky to implement and troubleshoot. ProLaw support can be helpful in that regard, but many of my ProLaw clients have had problems getting timely support from Thomson-Elite. Fortunately, it’s possible to find a ProLaw consultant who can assist with these kinds of issues more quickly.

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