In Microsoft Exchange Server, System Attendant regulates three basic functions: Maintenance, Monitoring, and Directory Lookups. Basically, it is a collection of sub-components that is meant to control internal functions of Exchange Server and relies to the requests of Proxy Active Directory. The executable file of System Attendant is MAD.EXE that is located at Program Files\Exchsrvr\Bin folder and its components exists as .dll file.
Some of the common responsibilities of System Attendant include mounting database, management of mailbox, examining the Directory Server etc. Since most of the Exchange related services are dependent on it, System Attendant functioning is it positive or negative will affect performance of Exchange Server.
In Exchange Server version 2003, mounting database is not possible until SA service is not active. In addition to this, working of Information Store is also dependent on SA service. In versions prior of 2003, there are various operations that could not be completed if System Assistant is not running.
For Example: There are number of functions in Exchange Server 2000 and 2003 that completely relies on smooth working of System Attendant. Due to any reason if SA is not in consistent state, problems while mounting database on Server are experienced plus error messages can be encountered. Example: Failure of this service can result in error message like:
"Could not start the Microsoft Exchange System Attendant Service on Local Computer.
Error 1053: The service did not respond to the start or control request in a timely fashion."
To work around Exchange Server error 1053, you can take help of Exchange Server Best Practices Analyzer Tool. It checks out if the Exchange Server is configured accordingly for performing defined tasks.
The default User Container is checked out for -Exchange Services, Exchange Enterprise Services, Exchange Domain Servers when the SA starts. In case any group is missing, System Assistant refuses to start. To work around, three groups should be moved to default user container.