"Problem Messages" - what's happening?

Paul Hutchings paul.hutchings at mira.co.uk
Mon May 11 11:13:53 IST 2009

Thanks, I think that's gone to you now - I'm still receiving the
"Problem Messages" reminder/summary despite having deleted them - how do
I stop this?

Paul Hutchings

-----Original Message-----
From: mailscanner-bounces at lists.mailscanner.info
[mailto:mailscanner-bounces at lists.mailscanner.info] On Behalf Of Julian
Sent: 11 May 2009 10:29
To: MailScanner discussion
Subject: Re: "Problem Messages" - what's happening?

On 11/05/2009 09:44, David Lee wrote:
> On Sun, 10 May 2009, Mark Sapiro wrote:
>> On Sun, May 10, 2009 at 10:44:01AM +0100, Paul Hutchings wrote:
>>> Hmm OK seeing a few of the below in my Postmaster inbox.
>>> Doing a grep of the logs shows this:
>>> May  9 17:03:19 relay postfix/cleanup[7749]: 8BE611FCC8:
>>> message-id=<06A07D7DB16C417C8990A7FACEE37518 at Desktop>
>>> May  9 17:09:19 relay MailScanner[7940]: Making attempt 2 at
>>> message 8BE611FCC8.A5E8C
>>> May  9 17:09:19 relay MailScanner[7940]: Expanding TNEF archive at
>>> /var/spool/MailScanner/incoming/7940/8BE611FCC8.A5E8C/winmail.dat
>> [...]
>>> May  9 17:27:30 relay MailScanner[9522]: Warning: skipping message
>>> 8BE611FCC8.A5E8C as it has been attempted too many times
>>> May  9 17:27:30 relay MailScanner[9522]: Quarantined message
>>> 8BE611FCC8.A5E8C as it caused MailScanner to crash several times
>>> May  9 17:27:30 relay MailScanner[9522]: Saved entire message to
>>> /var/spool/MailScanner/quarantine/20090509/8BE611FCC8.A5E8C
>> I suspect the problem is the TNEF decoder is timing out trying to
>> decode the TNEF (winmail.dat) part of the message. The part is likely
>> corrupt.
>> You could verify this by retrieving the message from the quarantine,
>> saving the winmail.dat attachment and then trying to expand it with
>> /usr/bin/tnef which is the default decoder.
> To confirm the problem and possible workaround: I, too, have just 
> started seeing a tiny number of such instances.  It recurred even of 
> quiet machines.  But I don't think it is the timeout (at least, nor 
> directly).
> In my "MailScanner.conf" we have historically had:
>    TNEF Expander  = internal
> Quick fix: When I switched this to use the "/usr/bin/tnef" version, 
> the emails (rescued from quarantine and replaced into the MS inbound 
> queue) seemed to go through OK.  I got the correct setting from a 
> ".rpmnew" file which seems to be:
>    TNEF Expander  = /usr/bin/tnef --maxsize=100000000
> A little deeper:  When I ran them through MS in debug mode (with TNEF 
> setting "internal") I got:
>    In Debugging mode, not forking...
>    Trying to setlogsock(unix)
>    Building a message batch to scan...
>    Have a batch of 2 messages.
>    Can't call method "path" on an undefined value at 
> /usr/lib/MailScanner/MailScanner/TNEF.pm line 178.
> Not the "Can't call ..." line.
> The MS run took less than four seconds.  I had initially suspected 
> TNEF timeout, but it seems to be something different, related to the 
> "internal" setting of "TNEF Expander".
> That 'Can't call method "path"...' doesn't appear in the "maillog" 
> file (which, in retrospect, is a pity, because that would have been a 
> more obvious clue to follow).
> Anyway: summary:
> 1. Problem seems to coincide with "TNEF Expander = internal".  For 
> end-users, using "/usr/bin/tnef ..." seems to be a workaround for the 
> moment.
> 2. For those who sometimes look a little deeper in the "why", MS in 
> '-debug' mode seems to indicate a perl coding error which doesn't get 
> shown in the 'maillog' file.
> Hope that helps.
Please can you send me a copy of the message that triggered the fault? 
Zip up the raw queue file and mail it to me at 
mailscanner at ecs.soton.ac.uk please.


Julian Field MEng CITP CEng
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