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Symantec Mail Security for Microsoft Exchange experienced a critical failure

Created: 02 Sep 2007 • Updated: 21 May 2010 | 4 comments

That's what I get in my email whenever I reboot the Exchange 2007 server.  It goes through the shutdown process and then hangs (hanging defined as no mouse cursor, no keyboard response, etc.).  There are no indications in the event viewer as to what it's hanging on.

In troubleshooting I tried to shut down the Symantec Mail Security service (the primary one) before shutting the computer down, but it timed out.

The system event log shows a stop command successfully sent, but then I get the error 1053: service did not respond in a timely fashion.

The services.msc shows the service "Stopping" but that's all.

I killed the process savsmsmsesrv.exe and then attempted shutdown but it still hung up.

Since the service is giving me a hard time I thought I'd try and eliminate that first.  Any ideas?

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swade's picture

DL385 server has known issue on reboot.  This is the most likely cause, but I have to wait a week for another downtime.  I'll update this if it doesn't.

cfcsupport's picture
We are having the same issue with Exchange 2003 on a Dell server. We are also getting category 12 Brightmail errors in the event log as mentioned in this article: Symantec Support emailed us the article below, which I can't find on their site so I posted it here. We tried that but we still get the email on reboot (we actually get it an hour after the reboot). This didn't stop the message from coming so their conclusion was that it is a harmless error message. We have tested it and everything is functioning as expected.


You receive an email from Symantec Information Foundation Mail Security for Microsoft Exchange regarding a critical failure



Imported Symptoms:  

The subject of the email you receive from SIFMSMSE is "Symantec Mail Security for Microsoft Exchange experienced a critical failure." There is no information in the Application or System event logs regarding an error.


SIFMSMSE is installed on Exchange 2000 Server, Exchange Server 2003 or Exchange Server 2007.


The message  is created when SIFMSMSE restarts unexpectedly (during a reboot for example) and the store is still mounted.



Create a dependency so that the SIFMSMSE service depends on the Microsoft Information Store and the System Attendant services starting successfully.

WARNING: In the next steps you will edit the Windows registry. Back up the registry before you make any changes to it, because incorrect changes to the registry can result in permanent data loss or corrupted files. Modify only the registry keys that are specified.

The following documents explain how to back up the registry:

How to back up, edit, and restore the registry in Windows XP and Windows Server 2003

How to back up, edit, and restore the registry in Windows 2000

Follow these steps to set the dependency:

1.   On the Windows taskbar, click Start > Run.

2.   In the Open box, type the following command:


3.   Press Enter.

4.   In the Registry Editor, in the left pane, go to the following key:


5.   In the right pane, right-click DependOnService, and then click Modify.

If the DependOnService value does not exist, create a new REG_MULTI_SZ (Multi-String Value) named DependOnService.

6.   In the Value Data box, type:



7.   Click OK.

8.   Exit the Registry Editor.

9.   Restart the computer.

Once this is created the critical email will no longer appear.

Consultant1360's picture
I tried this registry update as well, restarted the server and I still am receiving this email.  It also is breaking my Health Monitor on my SBS 2003 server.  Everything seems to be working okay but it is not a message you want to see, especially when this is for a client.
Greg K's picture
Same issue here.  Made the modification, rebooted (several times) and I still get the email message.