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Common troubleshooting step : SharePoint 2007, SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2013 Alerts issue

  1. Check whether the account is subscribed for alerts and it has a valid email account. This should be the first thing to check if the problem persists for some users not for all
  2. Check if those users have at least read permission for the list. Because the first mail should go out for every user without security validation but the next ones won’t be delivered unless the user has at least read permission.
  3. Go to Central Admin > Operations > Outgoing email settings > verify that SMTP server is mentioned correctly
  4. Test the connectivity with the SMTP server.

Start Run > type “cmd” > telnet <SMTP server name> 25 ( We connect SMTP server to the port 25)

If response is

220 <server> Microsoft ESMTP MAIL Service, Version: 6.0.3790.3959 ready at date and time

Try sending email from your SMTP server. Type below on telnet screen.

ehlo <server>
Now you should see
250 <server> Hello [IP Address]
Now a test mail can be sent from that SharePoint server.  Type below:
mail from: xxxx@SharePoint.com
You should see below output:
250 2.1.0 xxxx@SharePoint.com….Sender OK
Enter the recipient email address. Type recipient details. This should be a valid address:

rcpt to: someID@domain.com
Output should  be:
250 2.1.5 someID@domain.com

We just need email data now. Type below details:


Output should be:
354 Start mail input; end with <CRLF>.<CRLF>

Now we need to type email data:
Subject: this is a test mail
This is test mail body
I am testing SMTP server.

No Enter then type “ . “ and enter again.
Output should be:

250 2.6.0 <<server>1234@<servername>> Queued mail for delivery

Just quit telnet by typing “quit” . You would see

221  0.0 <server> Service closing transmission channel


  1. Lot of organizations use a white list to only permit certain servers to send using the SMTP host on their internal email infrastructure. Make sure (especially if this is a new system), that it’s IP address has been added to the SMTP server’s list of allowed servers.


  1. Check alerts are enabled for your web application:

Stsadm.exe -o getproperty -url http://SharePoint-web-App-URL -pn alerts-enabled


This should return <Property Exist=”Yes” Value=”yes” /> . If Value is no or its unavailable then set it using below command:

stsadm.exe -o setproperty -pn alerts-enabled -pv “true” -url http://SharePoint-web-App-URL
Note: If its already enabled, try turn off and turn on it back.


  1. Verify if the Windows timer service is running or not
  2. Check the Timer job and Properties

    MOSS 2007 Central Administration > Operations > Timer Job Definitions (under Global Configuration)
    SharePoint 2010\2013 > Central Administration > Monitoring > Review Job Definitions

    Check if “Immediate Alerts” job is enabled for your web application.


  3. Set the immediate-alerts property.

To get the property try below

stsadm.exe -o getproperty -url “http://Your-SharePoint-web-App-URL” -pn job-immediate-alerts

The expected output is:
<Property Exist=”Yes” Value=”every 5 minutes between 0 and 59″/>.

If you don’t get this, run the following command to set its value.

stsadm.exe -o setproperty -pn job-immediate-alerts -pv “every 5 minutes between 0 and 59″ -url http://Your-SharePoint-web-App-URL

 11. As part of very important troubleshoot step you should try:
a. Run below SQL query to the content db

< Select * from Timerlock>

b. This will give you the name of the server which is locking the content database and since when. We should not have our database locked. Lets unlock the database
c. Logon to server which is locking the Content Database and then restart the Windows Timer service. After some time the lock would be released from Content Database. If database is not unlocked, Stop the timer job for some time while the database is not unlocked
d. Once the lock will be released then try to send some alerts


  1. Also lets try to re-register the alert template. To do so run below command:
    stsadm -o updatealerttemplates -url http://Your-SharePoint-Web-App-URL -f  “c:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\web server extensions\15\TEMPLATE\XML\alerttemplates.xml” -LCID 1033


13. Last but not the least; try to clear the configuration cache.

  • Stop the SharePoint Timer Service in Administrative Tool/Services.
  • Go to the cache folder. Drive:\ProgramData\Microsoft\SharePoint\Config
  • Find the folder that contains the file Cache.ini
  • Open the Cache.ini file, delete all content in the file and type 1, save and exit.
  • Delete all the XML configuration files without deleting cache.ini file in the folder so that you can verify that the folder is replaced by new XML files when the cache is rebuilt.
  • Start the SharePoint Timer service

Hope this will help you

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