iOS 9 Outlook App & Lync 2013 App Issues

iphone6After Apple released iOS 9 to the public yesterday. From an Exchange or Office 365 perspective, iOS 9 supports the enhanced calendar features of Office 365 and Exchange 2016 when that is released. Unfortunately, incidents have been reported with the Outlook app and the Lync 2013 App.

Regarding the Outlook App, iOS9 users might not be able to start the Outlook App or the Outlook app will just crash. The far from ideal workaround offered by the Outlook team, is to reinstall the Outlook app.

outlookappcrash

Of course, this also requires users to reconfigure accounts and Outlook App settings, so organizations can expect some calls to the service desk by users who upgraded. Organizations can report on the currently registered iOS8 devices that syned in the last 30 days, using:

Get-MobileDevice | Where-Object {$_.DeviceOS -like 'iOS 8*' -and $_.whenChanged -gt (Get-Date).AddDays(-30)} | Select UserDisplayName, FriendlyName, DeviceModel, DeviceOS, whenChanged

This will product a list of users, the name of their device, the device model and OS and when it last synced with Exchange. This information can be useful when you want to proactively approach users with iOS8 devices.

For Lync 2013 users, there are sign-in issues when they have configured different region and language settings on their iOS device. Those users will be presented the following:

Lync2013SignInIssue1

The issue has officially been confirmed through publication of KB3096704, which states:

“This problem is fixed in the Microsoft Skype for Business for iOS app that will replace Lync for iPhone and Lync for iPad when it’s released. No fix for this issue is scheduled for the current releases of Lync for iPhone and Lync for iPad”.

Since the Skype for Business app is not available yet, this is not good news. Mitigation is possible by matching the region with the language setting (or the other way around), after which you need to reinstall the Lync 2013 app from the store.

With all this in mind, should organizations wish to first test the new iOS against their Exchange environment for potential other issues, you can block iOS 9 from accessing your Exchange 2013 environment, or Office 365 tenant if you must, using the Access/Block/Quarantine feature. First you need to retrieve the reported DeviceOS string for iOS 9 for a device:

Get-MobileDevice | Where-Object {$_.DeviceOS -like “iOS 9*”} | Select DeviceModel, DeviceOSLanguage, DeviceOS

The reported DeviceOS strings then is used to create an ActiveSync device rule. For example, my iPhone 6 reports DeviceOS as “iOS 9.0 13A344”. To block these devices with iOS 9.0 and put them in quarantine, run the following:

New-ActiveSyncDeviceAccessRule -QueryString "iOS 9.0 13A344" -Characteristic DeviceOS -AccessLevel Quarantine

If you would like to know more about the Access/Block/Quarantine option, check out this article.

Outlook 2010 gets MAPI/http support

Office-2010-Outlook-Icon[1]Update: Hotfix KB2899591 pulled in Dec2014 due to possible issues, replaced in Jan2015 by KB878264.

A quick heads-up today as the recently released KB878264 hotfix adds MAPI/http support for Outlook 2010 clients. This will benefit organizations using Exchange 2013 SP1 or later considering switching from RPC/http to MAPI/http. The KB article includes details on additional fixes that are included in this hotfix as well.

You can request the hotfix for x86 and x64 versions of Outlook 2010 here.

Links to background information on MAPI/http, its impact on client performance, and impact on network traffic in an earlier blog post here.

Clearing AutoComplete and other Recipient Caches

Exchange 2010 Logo

Last version: 1.1, March 12th, 2016.

Anyone who has participated in migrations or transitions to Exchange has most likely encountered or has had to work around potential issues caused by the nickname cache. A “cache,” also known by its file extension, NK2 in older Outlook clients, is a convenience feature in Outlook and Outlook WebApp (OWA) which lets users pick recipients from a list of frequently-used recipients. This list is displayed when the end user types in the first few letters.

The potential issue revolves around end users using those lists to send messages, as the list contains cached recipient information. Because this information is static, it may become invalid at some point. Thus, when users pick recipients when sending messages, they may be sending messages to non-existent recipients or invalid e-mail addresses, which create issues like non-delivery of e-mail.

Read the full article over on ENow Solutions Engine blog.

Clean-AutoComplete

Using the script mentioned in the article, which can be used to clear cached recipient information, is straightforward. It requires Exchange 2010 or later and Exchange Web Services Managed API 1.2 (or later) which you can download here. Alternatively, you can copy the Microsoft.Exchange.WebServices.DLL with the script as it will also look for it in the current folder.

The script Clean-AutoComplete.ps1 has the following syntax:

Clear-AutoComplete.ps1 [-Mailbox] <String> [-Server <String>] [-Impersonation] [-Credentials <PSCredential>] [-Type <Array>]

Where:

  • Mailbox is the name or e-mail address of the mailbox.
  • Server is the name of the Client Access Server to access for Exchange Web Services. When omitted, the script will use AutoDiscover.
  • Switch Impersonation specifies if impersonation will be used for mailbox access, otherwise the current user context will be used.
  • Credentials specifies the user credentials to use.
  • Type specifies what cached recipient information to clear. Options are Outlook  (Outlook AutoComplete stream), OWA (OWA Autocomplete stream), SuggestedContacts, RecipientCache or All. Default is Outlook,OWA.

So for example, suppose you want to clear the Autocomplete stream used by Outlook on a mailbox, you can use:

Clear-AutoComplete.ps1 -Mailbox Olrik -Type Outlook -Verbose

ScreenCapTo remove the Autocomplete stream used by OWA on your Office 365 account, you can use:

Clear-AutoComplete.ps1 -Mailbox olrik@office365tenant.com –Credentials (Get-Credential) –Type OWA

Be advised that clearing the Outlook AutoComplete stream will only have effect for Outlook running in Online mode. Outlook caches this information as well in the OST file, leaving the options of running Outlook with the /CleanAutocompleteCache switch, or remove and let Outlook recreate the OST file. The temporary Stream_AutoComplete files*.dat files created under %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook\RoamCache are used by Outlook to speed things up.

Disabling Auto-Complete and Suggested Contacts
Alternatively, you can disable Auto-Complete, the equivalent of unchecking the Outlook option ‘Use Auto-Complete List to suggest names when typing in the To, Cc and Bcc line‘, by setting the following registry key:

Note: In the examples below, you need to modify the version number in the examples corresponding to the Outlook version you wish to apply these settings against. Use 16.0 as indicated for Outlook 2016, but change it to 15.0 for Outlook 2013, or 14.0 for Outlook 2010.

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Outlook\Preferences\
ShowAutoSug=0 (REG_DWORD)

To configure this setting using a Group Policy, use the following registry setting:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\office\16.0\Outlook\Preferences\ShowAutoSug=0 (REG_DWORD)

You can also disable Suggested Contacts folder, the equivalent of unchecking the Outlook option ‘Automatically create Outlook contacts for recipients that do not belong to an Outlook Address Book’, with the following registry key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\office\16.0\Outlook\Contact\CreateContactsForOneOffs= 0 (REG_DWORD)

The related Group Policy setting is:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\office\16.0\Outlook\Contact\CreateContactsForOneOffs= 0 (REG_DWORD)

Feedback
Feedback is welcomed through the comments. If you got scripting suggestions or questions, do not hesitate using the contact form.

Download
You can download the script from my Technet Gallery here.

Revision History
See Technet Gallery page.

 

 

Internal Message Classifications visible in Outlook

Ex2013 LogoMessage classifications were introduced with Exchange 2007 which seems like ages ago now. They are a piece of metadata which you can assign to messages, for example the intended audience or sensitivity of messages. These message can then be treated accordingly by the recipient or you can leverage transport rules functionality and Rights Management Services to act on or protect these messages.

Let’s assume you have created a custom message classification using the following cmdlet:

New-MessageClassification –Name ‘InternalUseOnly’ –DisplayName ‘Internal Use Only’ –SenderDescription ‘This message is for internal use only.’

When you retrieve the list of message classifications using Get-MessageClassifications you will notice three additional classifications:

image

Exchange comes with these message classifications which are used by Exchange internally: ExAttachmentRemoved, ExOrarMail and ExPartnerMail. These should not be used by users, let alone be visible. To make them hidden, the PermissionMenuVisible attribute is set to $false for these classifications. This will make them not show up in Outlook WebApp:image

Now, using classifications in Outlook is less admin-friendly and requires exporting of classification information and configuring Outlook to read these classifications from a file. In short, the process described on TechNet TechNet to use message classifications from Outlook is as follows:

From the Exchange Management Shell, run the Export-OutlookClassification.ps1 script from Exchange scripts folder, e.g.

& ‘C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\v15\Scripts\Export-OutlookClassification.ps1’ | Set-Content ‘C:\OutlookClass.xml’

Next, copy the XML file to a location on the client or networked location which is readable by Users. On the client, make the following registry changes:

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Common\Policy]
"AdminClassificationPath"="c:\\Classifications.xml"
"EnableClassifications"=dword:00000001
"TrustClassifications"=dword:00000001

Note: For the purpose of this example the XML is stored as C:\Temp\OutlookClass.xml . Note that “15.0” is for configuring Outlook 2013, replace with 14.0 for Outlook 2010 and 12.0 for Outlook 2007.

Restart Outlook so it will use these settings. When composing a message you will now see the message classification options appear under Options > Permission:

image

Apart from the message classification “Internal Use Only” we created, you will also see that Outlook shows the internal classifications by their display name. That should not be happening.

When you open up the Outlook classifications export file, you will spot that it contains all classifications, including the internal ones:image

So, what you can do now and what the documentation seems to fail to mention, is that after exporting message classifications you may want to remove the internal classifications “Attachment Removed” (ExAttachmentRemoved), “Originator Requested Alternate Recipient Mail” (ExOrarMail) and “Partner Mail” (ExPartnerMail) from the XML export file. Downside is that message with these internal classifications will not display the related description in Outlook, but that should not be an issue and a better option than users being able to select them.

When you have removed the three entries from the XML file and restarted Outlook, the built-in options will no longer be on the permission menu:

image

So long RPC/HTTP, Hello MAPI/HTTP

Ex2013 LogoMicrosoft published three sessions from the Redmond Interoperability Protocols Plugfest 2013 on Channel 9 on the protocol MAPI over HTTP or MAPI/HTTP which looks scheduled to arrive with Exchange 2013 Service Pack 1.

This protocol is set to (over time!) replace the RPC/HTTP protocol we all know. RPC/HTTP, or Outlook Anywhere, is used by Outlook to communicate with Exchange Server and is most often seen with clients working remotely. With Exchange Server 2013, support for MAPI was dropped and RPC/HTTP became the only protocol. With Exchange 2013 SP1 it seems we will receive an alternative which is set to replace RPC/HTTTP, MAPI/HTTP.

Of course, the information is preliminary and subject to change as Exchange 2013 SP1 hasn’t been released yet, but it won’t harm to get familiar with the planned changes. It also remains to be seen how quick organizations will adopt this new protocol, which I’m pretty sure we will soon see getting supported by Office 365.

MapiHttp in Exchange 2013 SP1
Joe Warren, Principal SDE at Microsoft delivering a presentation covering the Exchange 2013 MapiHttp protocol implementation in Exchange 2013 SP1. Topics: What is MAPI-HTTP?, Why do MAPI-HTTP?, Goal of MAPI-HTTP, Why not rebuild with EWS?, Existing RPC-HTTP, New MAPI-HTTP, What does a MAPI-HTTP request look like?, What does a MAPI-HTTP response look like?, Session Context, Request Types, Sequencing & Protocol Failures. Click here.

Outlook 2013 Client Protocols
Shri Vidhya Alagesan, SDE at Microsoft presenting on Outlook 2013 Client Protocols from a client’s perspective. Topics: Client side view of Outlook-Exchange MAPI-HTTP protocol using WinHTTP, Error Handling & RPC Vs. MAPI-HTTP with sub-topics of Architecture Overview, Outlook & WinHttp, Cookies, Connection Status Dialog, Timeout, Pause/Resume & Protocol Switching. Click here.

Exchange 2013 Protocols
Andrew Davidoff, Senior Software Developer Engineer in Test at Microsoft presenting on the Exchange 2013 protocol families and important protocol updates for Exchange 2013. Click here.

Apart from these sessions on protocol change announced for Exchange Server 2013 SP1, Microsoft also published some other interesting Exchange-related sessions:

Exchange 2013 Web Services Overview
Harvey Rook, Principal Development Lead, and Naveen Chand, Senior Program Manager Lead, deliver a presentation on Exchange Web Services best practices. Click here.

Exchange RPC and EWS Protocol Test Suites
Jigar Mehta, Software Development Engineer in Test provides an in depth overview of the test suite packages for the Exchange RPC and Exchange Web Services protocols. Click here.

Outlook versions supporting Personal Archives and Retention Policies

Outlook 2013 IconIn an earlier article here, I mentioned which Outlook 2010 versions were eligible for Personal Archives.

Now, with the release of Office 2013, and Outlook 2013 in particular, it’s good to get an update on the Outlook versions and their support of Personal Archives and Retention Policies in Exchange Server 2010 or Exchange Server 2013.

The following Outlook versions support Personal Archives and Retention Policies:

Retail Licenses Volume Licenses
  • Outlook 2013 stand-alone
  • Outlook 2010 stand-alone
  • Outlook 2007 stand-alone
  • Outlook 2007 included with Microsoft Office Ultimate 2007
  • Outlook 2013 stand-alone
  • Outlook 2013 included with Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2013
  • Outlook 2010 stand-alone
  • Outlook 2010 included with Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2010
  • Outlook 2007 stand-alone
  • Outlook 2007 included with Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2007
  • Outlook 2007 included with Microsoft Office Enterprise 2007

Few notes:

  • As mentioned here, Outlook 2007 doesn’t support adjusting retention policies;
  • Personal Archives and Retention Policies require an Microsoft Exchange Server Enterprise Client Access License.

Discontinued support of ActiveSync in GMail

TechTarget QuoteFew days ago, Stuart J. Johnston of TechTarget approached me and several other Exchange fellows to ask how we thought the discontinued support of ActiveSync in GMail, part of Google’s “Winter Cleaning” operation, would impact users. You can read Stuart’s article here.

For reference and because Stuart only used a single quote from my (I think) extensive response, I’ve included my take on the situation below. Interestingly, today it turns out Google lost an ActiveSync patent case against Microsoft in a British court. Exchange fellow Tony Redmond did a nice writeup on that case and his personal involvement in that case here.

PS: I’ve already asked Stuart to fix my last name in the quote.

Regarding the discontinued support of ActiveSync in GMail, I think impact on both the Exchange as well as the GMail population varies.

First of all, the measure is aimed at new, free GMail accounts. I don’t know exact numbers, but I can imagine the number of people still not having a free GMail account is relatively minimal. Also, EAS will remain available to paid accounts.

Second, EAS is a means – no end – to synchronize information like mail, contacts or agenda. Consumers will adapt and switch to alternative protocols (or plugins) to synchronize this information between their Google account and their device. I think the effect of the information exchange becoming less efficient and the lack of information push is negligible.

Thirdly, Android and iPhone – covering 85% over the smartphone market – provide apps specifically aimed at GMail or other Google services. For those not using Google’s apps, the end user experience may be affected and all the additional tools required to fully synchronize with desktops won’t help.

Worst off are Windows Phone users or Windows 8 users using the built-in Mail app (Surface RT). While the Windows Phone user base may be relatively small, the Windows 8 user base is growing and they are both forced to use IMAP, which only does mail and there are – AFAIK – no *DAV apps in the Store to synchronize calendar or contact information.

While I do understand Google’s case, which is probably more a cost reduction and (resource) focus shift measure rather than another act in the Google vs Microsoft war, I also believe there might be a fair chance of Google shooting itself in the foot by dropping EAS. Microsoft’s free outlook.com service keeps supporting EAS (not surprisingly) and Microsoft has already taken up on plugging outlook.com as the alternative for Google

Finally, I’m in favor of competition which drives innovation. The whole GMail versus Hotmail/Office365 is no exception. However, it gets annoying when vendors drop functionality end users are accustomed to, making them have to put energy into looking at solutions or alternatives, which may become tiresome at some point.

Important Hotfix for Outlook 2013 Preview

Microsoft released a quick fix for a nasty bug in Outlook 2013 Preview, part of the Office Professional Plus 2013 Preview. The related knowledgebase article is kb2737132.

Note: Despite the warning that goes with pre-release software about not using it in production environments, I assume Microsoft knows people will and decided to produce a hotfix so quickly, which is quite unusual for preview software, also looking at the potential consequences.

The bug causes everything, i.e. e-mail, contacts, appointments and tasks, to be deleted permanently from an Exchange server when using the Cleanup Tools from Outlook. Nothing is recoverable through the Recover Deleted Items option.

To install the hotfix, follow one of the links below, depending on your architecture:

Storing Replies with Received Items

Not directly Exchange related but mail-related, I’d like to mention a function in Outlook which could make organizing e-mail a lot easier, depending on if and how you organize them of course.

Normally, when replying to an e-mail in Outlook, it will store a copy of that message in the Sent Items folder of that account. That is, assuming you have 1 Exchange account set up or multiple in conjunction with the DelegateSentItemsStyle setting as described here.

Now after a while, your Sent Items folder will be full of messages sent over the past period. For received messages you may have created folders and perhaps rules to automatically organize incoming e-mail in projects or customers folders. Wouldn’t it be nice if you can keep those messages with their replies automatically, instead of having to organize your Sent Items by manually distributing its contents over the projects and customers folders?

Well, you can actually, and it’s a setting in Outlook. Open up the File > Options and select the Mail settings. In the right pane, check the When replying to a message that is not in the Inbox, save the reply in the same folder setting:

image

Note that this setting in pre-Outlook 2010 versions is called In Folders Other Than The Inbox, Save Replies With Original Message.

Now when you reply to a message, it will save the reply in the same folder unless the message was in the Inbox.

Note that this setting will apply to all accounts and personal folders.

Office 365 and “There are no items to show in this folder”

Be advised that when accessing shared mailboxes on Office 365 using Outlook in online mode, you may experience an issue with Outlook not properly updating the mailbox view.

Instead, Outlook will return a “There are no items to show in this view” message. The folder in the folder navigation pane displayed the proper number of (unread) items in the folder.

This could be the symptom of an issue which was already solved in Exchange 2010 Service Pack 1 Rollup 5. It seems the Office 365 data centers are not running a current version of Exchange, as today I received the message the Office 365 environment is currently being upgraded with Exchange 2010 Service Pack 2. The message also mentions the upgrade is to be completed at the end of the month.

More information on the issue in knowledge base articles kb2500648, announcing the fix is included in Exchange 2010 SP1 RU5.

Until then, the suggested workaround is to click one of the columns twice after which Outlook will update the view properly. Of course, you could also enable cached mode, if your setup and company policy permits (e.g. not running Outlook on terminal server).