Outlook for Mac in Coexistence Environment

Currently I’m upgrading an Exchange 2013 environment to Exchange 2016. In general this upgrade runs very smoothly and is almost seemless for user. It’s a complete different story when you’re coming from Exchange 2010.

So far I got only positive feedback and no issue were reported. Until a bunch of shared mailbox have been migrated.

Users complained they cannot access these mailbox anymore. First I couldn’t reproduce the issue, until I got another important detail:

All these user are using Outlook for Mac and indeed I could reproduce the behavior.

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How to hunt down an EAS bug

In the past month I had to troubleshoot a lot of EAS related issues. This is always a complex process and you as an administrator have to collect a lot of data and provide them to your vendors. After providing these, you often feels like a ping-pong ball. Especially when multiple vendors are involved.

Based on two examples I want to explain, how I was able to proof some misbehaviour of EAS clients. Meanwhile both have been acknowledged by the vendor as a bug:

With iOS 10 this feature can trigger a meeting forward to multiple recipients using SmartForward command.

When a user marks an item read or unread, the flag does not get synced to the mailbox.

For troubleshooting I used the following tools:

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Outlook:No free/busy in scheduling assistant

Every now and then I hear complaints about Free/Busy information retrieval issues. There are a lot of reasons for such issues, but the interesting part by these issues is that accessing the shared Calendar is not a problem. Only when users set up a meeting and using the Scheduling Assistant, they suddenly see only the beloved hash marks:

FBScheduling_01.PNG

Using OWA the user was able to retrieve Free/Busy information using Scheduling Assistant.

And this happens usual to VIPs like the CEO or CIO. So I started troubleshooting with highest priority and found an easy fix.

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Why using MAPIBlockOutlookExternalConnectivity is a bad idea

A while ago we had a special request: For a dedicated AD site, only a subset of users should be able to access their mailbox with Outlook for Windows from outside the corporate network. My first thoughts were this is not possible. I wasn’t aware of any setting to limit Outlook Anywhere or MapiHttp external access on user base.

But we were told by a PFE that there is a way:

Combining MAPI over HTTP configurations and internal or external connections

There is always something new, you can learn!

We did some testing and the results were very promising. So we were able to fulfill the request.

But the description of Set-CASMailbox for the parameter MAPIBlockOutlookExternalConnectivity and the article doesn’t reflect all consequences and soon we received a lot of complains, reports about connectivity issues with devices and applications other than Outlook for Windows.

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History of a calendar item

There are always issues with appointments, meeting requests and meeting series with delegates or mobile devices. Sometimes appointments disappear, got shifted or updates don’t make it to all involved parties.

In the past I opened a case with Microsoft and get these issues analyzed. But this is very time intensive and often the affected users are VIPs, which want to have as quick as possible a report about what happened.

I spent some time on this topic and I wrote about it here. I also wrote my script to pull all the relevant data from mailboxes in a way, which is much faster and has more capabilities. You can read more about this script here. This script was recently updated to translate the properties PidLidClientIntent and PidLidChangeHighlight in a human readable format. You can read more about it here.

In this post I will go through the history of a calendar item. There will be several changes and I will show what happened with each change. I know that this post has a lot of pictures, but to get an understanding what exactly happens, pictures are sometimes a better way to explain something.

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Troubleshooting Exchange with LogParser:MAPI Client Access logs

A while ago I wrote the post Troubleshooting Exchange with LogParser:RCA logs, which describes how you can parse RCA logs using PowerShell and LogParser.

With the new protocol MAPI over HTTP also new kinds of logs were introduced. When it comes to connectivity or performance issues, those logs might help you to find the root cause.

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Outlook 2016 prompt for credentials

Looks like this is somehow an ongoing task:

Narrow down Outlook prompts for credentials. And it seems a new root cause comes into play each time. So like in the latest issue after I upgraded to Click-to-Run Office 2016. After my upgrade and on the first start I got immediately prompted for credentials. First thought was this is related to my machine or account. But my co-worker also got it and we could reproduce it constantly everytime you logon to the machine after a complete logoff.

Update June, 2017:

Good news that this particular issue is also fixed for Outlook 2013 already in October, 2016. Somehow I missed this one, but here it is:

You need to apply KB3118367.

Update September, 2016:

This issue is fixed and currently available in the September update in the First Released for Deferred channel:

https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/office/mt465751

“Fix an issue where, when connecting to Exchange Server 2013 that is enabled for MAPI/HTTP, the user is prompted for credentials instead of being silently logged in with the user’s desktop credentials.”

The good news is that this is related to 2 consecutive failed requests. The bad news is, I found the same issue in Outlook 2013.

This was confirmed by the Outlook team and currently work on a fix for Outlook 2013 is ongoing.

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