Windows Server 2008 SMTP Service logging

I was working on installing Windows Server 2008 x64 edition.  I discovered the SMTP Service wasn’t logging.  SMTP was working and emails were going out.  My install is ‘custom’ and installs just the modules we needed.  Turns out, there is a small dependency on the ODBC logging module so the SMTP service logging would work.  More importantly iislog.dll.  Here are the instructions to fix and reproduce the behavior.


To correct it.  I’m assuming you have the SMTP Service already installed and it’s not logging.


1) Install ODBC Logging module (role service in Server Manager)


2) Stop / Start the SMTP Service


3) Verify your SMTP service is configured for logging.  It’s not on by default.


4) Try a local telnet test (assuming the telnet client is installed)


5) Look at your log folder.


To Reproduce the logging ‘behavior’


1) Install Windows Server 2008 (obvious step)


2) Install the basic web server components. (static content with anonymous user)


3) Install telnet client and SMTP services


4) Enable logging on SMTP instance


5) try a telnet test locally


6) Verify the smtpsvc folder isn’t in the location you configured for logging (default is c:\windows\system32\logfiles)


7) Add the ODBC logging module (no iisreset is required) *Or in my tests there wasn’t

8) Stop / Start the SMTP service (net stop smtpsvc && net start smtpsvc)


9) Try another telnet test


10) Verify the SMTPSVC folder is present.


Hope this saves you some time, it took me a while to find the right mix. 


Thanks a bunch to Bernard Cheah who helped point me in the right direction


Steve Schofield
Microsoft MVP – IIS.

9 thoughts on “Windows Server 2008 SMTP Service logging

  1. Thank you,

    this “bug” ist still in 2008 r2. Why need ODBC-Logging when just logfiles needed?

    This post helped me out!

  2. I am searching for how to get the SMTP service to write to a database. I get the following error in system events:
    IIS ODBC Logging failed to connect to data source SMTP. Error text is [[State=28000][Error=18456][Microsoft][ODBC SQL Server Driver][SQL Server]Login failed for user
    How do I set the username and password?

  3. Thanks, how does a company the size of Microsoft let this kind of shoddy work get out to the world amazes me. 2 hours tracking this down … oh well keeps me in work.

  4. You said “Enable logging on SMTP instance” – How? I don’t see any option for this.

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