Setup of hMailserver in my lab

I am, or rather used to be, a Zimbra user.  Was nice to have the Zimbra appliance as it was easy to get working.  However since VMware dropped that model, and then dropped Zimbra it has been less useful. And now I have no license and so no email forwarded or dealt with.  And like I suspect many of you email is a tool in your labs that is quite useful.  Backup reports, UPS test reports, are two examples in my lab I need email to get access too.

Some time ago I saw this nice article by Frank. So I thought to use it – and while it was very useful, my hMailserver was not working when I finished the install.  The first issue was no old .NET stuff (3.5) and it tried to install it and failed.  Got a bit of a circle going.   So I installed it myself via Server Manager Roles and Features.  And restarted.  Now when I try and access the UI, I get the error about no database connectivity.  Check the log.  See the error message below.

BTW, the old .NET stuff can be found, so you can install it, in Server Manager, then select your server, and near the bottom of the screen you will find Roles and Features.  You can install what you need through there.  Once done, you will see the .NET Framework 3.5 added to the Roles and Features list.  You can see it below.

Back to the no connection issue.  The logs folder is blank – it does have a folder now, named with today’s date but it is empty.  I try starting the service with no change.

The database folder is blank.  I did choose to use embedded database but I wonder if that didn’t work. I see that there is a database setup icon in the program folder.  I will try it.  I use the create menu and it shows that there is three db choices and they all seem to be external.  It seems that there is no db software, or db itself on the server and that is the issue.

Think I will do uninstall and install again.  Now that .NET is here maybe that will help? The uninstall informed me it missed a few things.  Some program folders in Program Folders (x86) and I deleted them and emptied trash and followed it with a restart.

I did the re-install using run as admin.  No errors this time.  I saw messages about database back-end, and about initialize db. And I can get in this time!

So morale is to get .NET 3.5 installed first.  And restart.  Then do install.  If not, then uninstall, and install old .NET,  and install again.  Think this is a Win2K12 related issue. Think Frank used Win2K8 maybe, or maybe prepped things better then me.

I also had another issue.  When I tested the mail server – I used Log Insight to send a test message since it provides good info when it doesn’t work – and it told me authentication as required.  But I did not think that was right.  But it was.  What I needed to do was to create an IP Range – I called it Inside.

And in that IP range we need to enable / disable things as appropriately. See below what mine looks like.
 Notice above what you can see with the arrows – by default they are all checked.  So I unchecked them and now my test emails worked fine.

BTW, this was done on a Win2K12 R2 server and using hMailserver version 5.6.4-B2283.

Once you can get into the admin UI, then you can continue with Franks article!

Also, when I thought I was going to be working in the log, I found this log analysis web site.  I did not have to use it, but it seems pretty cool. Here is an article I did about making mail clients work with hMailserver.


  • Used this with Win2k16 and 5.6.7.  Still need to do the .NET 3.5 before you install.  It is one of the features of the Windows Features download. Worked good!


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5 thoughts on “Setup of hMailserver in my lab

  1. Oh no! Well, if you want to use Zimbra for free, it’s just three commands, download the next script, give it execution privileges, and run the script – In English here Zimbra is a proper Mail Server, logs, webclient, imap/pop, admin console, etc. Give it a try

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