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Once more: Mercury as a Service under MS Server 2016

Last post 11-10-2017, 12:07 by Greenman. 5 replies.
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  •  09-06-2017, 15:57

    • Joerg is not online. Last active: 11-22-2017, 15:26 Joerg
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    Once more: Mercury as a Service under MS Server 2016

    Hi Guys,

    Are there any news regarding the setup of Mercury 4.8 as a service under MS Server 2016? Has anybody experiences on collaboration of Mercury and Server2016? We finally intend to retire our old MS Server 2003 where Mercury was installed by a third party tool as a Service many years ago. Don't remember what it was. But it worked without problems and we could always access the Mercury GUI via RDP connection with option [-admin] to the session "0" of the server where the GUI appears.

    Now I'm working on a sequence how to move different things from one server to the other, including Mercury. The plan is to make a new dump setup of Mercury 4.8 into similar folder structure at the new server, followed by a copy of the complete Mercury folder from the old server to the Mercury folder on the new server. Then I have to update the pmgate.sys for Pmail (because the new server will get a new IP). Finally I have to ensure, that Mercury starts automatically each time the server restarts.

    I've read also the old threads 46288 and 10266 which dealt with this topic. But they are very old and that's why I'm interested in recent experiences in this regard and most practical ways users has solved it. Maybe a solution is using the MS PowerShell command "new-service" to create a service and "sc" for start options.

    Greetings

    Joerg

    BTW: Checking the old Mercury Service on our Server 2003 turns out that Mercury is always started with commandline option [-sw]. Unfortunately I cannot find a description of possible commandline options for Mercury, neither in the pdf manual nor in the ordinary program help. Where could I find them?


  •  10-09-2017, 10:13

    • Joerg is not online. Last active: 11-22-2017, 15:26 Joerg
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    Re: Once more: Mercury as a Service under MS Server 2016

    Now I have Mercury running again on our new Windows Server 2016 Standard. It was a "try and error" game, but finally it's working again with all of our Pmail user accounts.

    Firstly I've installed Mercury 4.8 as a complete new installation, but in the same folder structure as on the old server. Then I have copied all of the important Mercury configuration files from the old server to the new server. Then I have copied the Pmail user mailboxes. But because I don't want to have these mailboxes as a subfolder within Mercury (like on the old server for many years), I put them into a separate new folder. Finally Pmail program files has been simply copied from the old server to the new server. At the end I've got a Mercury folder, a Pmail folder and a Mailboxes folder which is also containing the Queue folder.

    Within the mercury.ini I have updated all path values. On first manual Mercury start I have further updated the Mercury-Pmail Interface which creates a new pmgate.sys within the Pmail folder. Finally I have deleted the old pmail.cfg. That caused that Pmail, on first start, asked for the location of user mailboxes. Here I could simply assign the new Mailboxes path to.

    So far so good, but now the Windows Service problem was still remaining. Firstly I tried to create a new Windows Service by using the Windows SC.exe command. The service was created successfully but didn't start neither the mercury.exe nor the loader.exe. It seems the program files are not able to communicate with the Windows service system properly. Service removed again. Then I have tried to add a task planner job, which should be carried out automatically on reboot and without user logon. But also this didn't work. Mercury didn't start. Finally I have repeated the Mercury setup process. At the end the setup is asking whether a Windows service should be created. Don't know how the setup is creating a service, but it works. Of course with the well known problems that the GUI is invisible when connected to the server remotely.

    Our workaround is to connect to the server via RDP because RDP is our main administration way. Then we stop the Mercury service and restart it manually. Then the GUI appears and keeps visible within all future RDP sessions.

    So far my last experiences with the installation / taking-over of Mercury on our new Windows Server 2016.

    edit: It should be kept in mind, that Mercury will be terminated in case the RDP session is being finished by User Log-off. In case the manually started Mercury should be kept alive, the RDP session is to be finished by closing it without Log-off. Or Mercury is to be finished and the Mercury Service (without GUI) has to be manually restarted. In that case the remote user can log-off.

  •  11-09-2017, 16:34

    • Joerg is not online. Last active: 11-22-2017, 15:26 Joerg
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    Re: Once more: Mercury as a Service under MS Server 2016

    Hi Guys,

    Since Mercury is running on our Server 2016, I experience a little oddity with the GUI: When Mercury is started manually (the service is disabled as long as we are adjusting and checking things with Mercury on the new server) and minimized, the Mercury icon appears within the SysTray. The icon keeps available from the SysTray for about 3 days and the GUI could be always called by doubleclick on the Mercury Systray icon. But after about 3 days the symbol disappears and we could not longer call the GUI while the program is still running and functioning without problems.

    I have already set Mercury within the SysTray symbol settings to "always visible" but it doesn't help. After about 3 days Mercury is still listed within the list of programs/symbols of the SysTray Symbol Settings but the corresponding Mercury symbol is disappeared left hand of the Mercury program line in this list.

    Finally I could only kill the Mercury process and restart it to obtain the GUI.

    Has anybody an idea?

  •  11-09-2017, 16:56

    • Greenman is not online. Last active: 22 Nov 2017, 16:22 Greenman
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    Re: Once more: Mercury as a Service under MS Server 2016

    The only time I have seen icons disappear from the system tray is when the explorer.exe process is restarted. It certainly has this effect on Pegasus Mail icons, so it may also be the cause of your mercury/32 icon disappearing as well.
  •  11-10-2017, 11:40

    • Joerg is not online. Last active: 11-22-2017, 15:26 Joerg
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    Re: Once more: Mercury as a Service under MS Server 2016

    Greenman:
    The only time I have seen icons disappear from the system tray is when the explorer.exe process is restarted. It certainly has this effect on Pegasus Mail icons, so it may also be the cause of your mercury/32 icon disappearing as well.

    Thanks Greenman. It seems this is an oddity which could only be solved by David when he will test his future version v5 on new Windows Server environments.

    In the meantime I had added my question also in a special german Windows Server Forum, called MCSEboard.de. Unfortunately it seems the most of its users are Microsoft MCSA and MCSE certified professionals whose working in big companies. They immediately recommend to remove programs like Mercury because it is no real server software and longer not maintained by the developer. But such recommendations doesn't help. In our small company we need affordable solutions which could be installed, adjusted and maintained by persons without MCSA/MCSE certificates. An MS Exhange server would be so much overdressed for us...

  •  11-10-2017, 12:07

    • Greenman is not online. Last active: 22 Nov 2017, 16:22 Greenman
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    Re: Once more: Mercury as a Service under MS Server 2016

    Joerg:

    ...  They immediately recommend to remove programs like Mercury because it is no real server software and longer not maintained by the developer.

    That's the easy way out - does not require thinking on their part. A bit like throwing the baby out with the bath water - they don't consider for a moment why the issue might be occurring, not realising that if you understand the cause you may be able to mitigate it, even if they think software is unsupported.

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