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Article ID: 240105 - Last Review: October 26, 2013 - Revision: 3.0

This article was previously published under Q240105
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This article is intended to give a brief overview of the Directory Service/Metabase Synchronization process in Microsoft Exchange 2000 Server. More information that concerns this Area of Concentration can be found at the locations noted below.

The function of the Directory Service/Metabase Synchronization process is to transfer configuration information from Active Directory to the local metabase. The metabase is found by default at SystemRoot\System32\Inetsrv\Metabase.bin. This configuration is stored in the local metabase instead of the registry for performance and scalability reasons. In Exchange 2000, all of the protocols (SMTP, NNTP, POP3, IMAP4, and HTTP) run as components of Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS). In other words, Exchange 2000 integrates its services with IIS services.

More information

The metabase is a hierarchical database that is used to store configuration values for IIS and Exchange 2000. It is a storage mechanism as well as an Application Programming Interface (API) set to manipulate the configuration parameters. In IIS 3.0 and earlier, such values are configurable by directly editing the registry. In IIS 4.0 and 5.0, some values are still configurable by editing the registry, but the metabase provides more granularity in the configuration of server properties. Server properties may be set at the computer, Web site, virtual directory, directory, and file level by modifying the metabase.

The Directory Service/Metabase Synchronization process copies entire subtrees from Active Directory without changing the shape of the subtree. This is a one-way write from Active Directory to the metabase; the metabase never writes to Active Directory. It does not add or compute any attribute when copying. The "paths" in the metabase are called "keys." Properties can be set at each key and each property can have attributes that customize that property. All identifiers that are present in the directory service image of the subtree are required in the metabase, including identifiers such as KeyType. In addition, the Relative Distinguished Name of the object in the directory is mapped directly to the key name in the metabase.

Accessing the Metabase

There are several ways to access the metabase. Most of the properties can be changed through the administrative user interfaces (UI) such as Microsoft Management Console (MMC) or Internet Service Manager. However, like the registry, there are some values that may need to be changed that are not available in the UI. To change these values, use the following methods or utilities.

Using MetaEdit or Mdutil incorrectly can cause serious issues that may require reinstallation of IIS or your operating system. Microsoft cannot guarantee that issues that result from the incorrect use of MetaEdit or Mdutil can be solved. Use these utilities at your own risk.

For information about how to edit the metabase, view the various Help topics in MetaEdit. Note that the metabase should be backed up by using the IIS snap-in for the MMC before editing the metabase.
  • Scripts
  • Metabase tools (such as Metaedit.exe, found in the IIS Resource Kit, or Mdutil.exe, found on the Windows NT Option Pack compact disc)
  • Custom Applications
For additional information, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
269586  ( ) XGEN: Metabase Restore Procedure May Require System State Backup

Applies to
  • Microsoft Exchange 2000 Server Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Internet Information Services 5.0
kbnosurvey kbarchive kbinfo KB240105
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