Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Double Booking in Exchange 2003? Look to BES Versions

Gentle Reader,

As a blogging calendar geek Ms. Calendars sometimes gets requests from the field. When they are useful to the general calendar-server managing public, she publishes them.

So it has come to pass that a question came in:

You mentioned on your site about the "perennial exchange problem of double-booked meetings". I thought I would drop you a line to see if this qualifies. We have Exchange 2003 and Blackberry Enterprise Server 4.1.3. Our users run Outlook 2003. We get these periods where users claim they are getting double booked meetings. More often than not we see one as tentative and one as accepted in the same time period. Do you have a resource that clearly explains why this happens? Is BES the culprit? Thanks in advance. Rick
Double bookings are really not unusual in Outlook. Microsoft itself has a guide on How to troubleshoot missing and duplicate appointments in Outlook. It is a work of singular genius: wonderfully complete in what could be causing the problem, and mostly silent on solutions or protocols to solutions (in contrast to Russ's latest blog entry), all the while referring you to other links which will hopefully keep you from realizing you are being given the runaround.

Just because we make a good living out of working with Exchange does not mean we're going to drink the Kool-Aid or praise the manure as BBQ.

But it does advise keeping abreast of your software updates, and that did turn out to be the problem.
In the end the problem has been solved by updating to BES version 4.1.6. The release notes go over the brand new BlackBerry Calendar Synchronization Tool. And to see what effect this will have on your Exchange server, see Technical Note: Impact of using the BlackBerry Calendar Synchronization Tool. So keep an eye on your BES servers, folks.
In general, we've noticed pretty big changes going on in CDO on E2K3: see here and here. With two years of E2K7 migrations under our belt, we're encouraging folks to migrate into E2K7 rather than E2K3.
We have another report of calendar weirdness from the field, this one with BES and E2K7, which we are pretty sure is related to the known problems with cached mode and the incremental change system. We'll blog on that later.
In general, if you notice weird behavior on your calendars, start with your BES server and work back from there. BES is the source of most calendar headaches we hear tell of.

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