Thursday, June 11, 2009

Free/Busy not working in Outlook 2007 (Exchange 2007)

Zyg interrupted my Friday development meeting and asked why a client could not see Free/Busy in Outlook 2007, but saw F/B in OWA. He drops this on us without even bribing us with coffee and bagels. Someone says the Exchange Availability service has problems. But that makes no sense. OWA uses the availability service (pointing directly at the CAS servers). Outlook 2007 does too. Well sort of. It uses the autodiscover to find the availability service. I bet autodiscover was not correctly configured. I was wrong - it was DNS. Here is how we figured it out:

Use Outlook 'Test E-mail Autoconfiguration'
Outlook 2007 has a tool "Test E-mail Autoconfiguration" to identify the current autodiscover URLs. You can find this tool by launching Outlook 2007, then holding the Ctrl key and right-clicking on the Outlook icon in the system tray while clicking your heels together. In the form, enter an email address and password, uncheck Use Guessmart and Secure Guessmart Authentication and click Test. We looked at the log tab and saw AutoDiscover is failing -

or there was a problem with the autodiscover URL. The errors 0x800C8203 and 0x80072EE7 pointed to DNS - either DNS did not resolve the name or there was no web server at that URL. (We hope it's just a name resolution.) We checked by configuring logging in Outlook: Tools, Options, Other, Advanced, Check logging. We restarted outlook, opened a meeting, then refreshed free busy. (BTW, remember to turn off logging after you are done!) We saw:

Fix the problem in DNS

DNS. Ugh. I’d rather talk to my teenagers about sex, drugs, and the merits of doing their homework than wrestle with DNS. But the problem was simple - add a Forward Lookup Zone, then add a CNAME record. We used “DNSmgmt” (Start-Administrative Tools – DNS)

Forward Lookup Zone: Right-click on your existing forward lookup zone and select a New Zone. A wizard will walk you through the steps. The goal is to redirect ‘autodiscover.domain’ to ‘servername.domain’. You do this in five steps:

  1. Select Primary zone for the zone type;

  2. Store the zone in Active Directory

  3. Set the replication to all DNS servers in AD (this is just for internal requests)

  4. Enter the FULL NAME, e.g. autodiscover.ex2007.sumatra.local

  5. Allow both nonsecure and secure dynamic updates (this minimizes the possibility of Exchange giving you a hard time should you resign your Certificate.)

Create a new CNAME: Right-hand click on your newly created autodiscover zone and select New CNAME

  1. Browse the fully qualified domain name, traverse the DNS tree, and look for the Host (A) record in the DNS (e.g., it might be (same as parent folder).

  2. We did not add a name to the CNAME record. Click OK and you are done.

  3. Wait a few minutes until the DNS changes are sent throughout the organization.

And that worked.

1 comment:

zyg said...

Zyg is promising to bring the coffee and bagels for the June 19 meeting and thanks the efforts of the Development Team.