Exchange & Outlook UPDATE, Outlook Edition, April 30, 2004

~~~~ This Issue Sponsored By ~~~~

Ecora Software

Windows Scripting Solutions


1. Commentary
- Casting a Quiet Vote through Office 2003

2. Resources
- Tip: Saving Tasks in a Shared Mailbox

3. New and Improved
- Synchronize Outlook with Your Tungsten Device
- Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!


~~~~ Sponsor: Ecora Software ~~~~
Tired of using screen shots and Excel spreadsheets to keep system configuration information up to date? Enterprise Auditor relieves the pain of collecting thousands of configuration settings and generating needed reports. Use Enterprise Auditor to keep your manager and the dreaded auditors happy with current reports for IT audits, corporate network security assessments, tracking changes, detailed disaster recovery documentation, and more. This is not just for Windows and Exchange! It also covers Citrix, IIS, SQL, Linux, UNIX, Oracle, NetWare, Cisco, and more. Let Enterprise Auditor take the drudgery of creating reports out of your life - you deserve it! Take 15 minutes to run a free trial and see the results for yourself! Enterprise Auditor just might make you a hero.


==== 1. Commentary: Casting a Quiet Vote through Office 2003 ==== by Sue Mosher, News Editor, [email protected]

One of the most far-reaching benefits of fulltime (or frequent) Internet connectivity might be the ability to transmit near-realtime reports from users to application developers. Most users of Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 have seen this functionality at work in Office Watson (aka Windows Error Reporting), an error feedback mechanism that sends Microsoft information about program crashes. These reports have helped Microsoft pinpoint and prioritize fixes for the most serious errors: those that halt the application.

Office 2003 introduced the Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP), a richer reporting mechanism than Office Watson. You can opt in to the CEIP during Office installation, or you can use the Help, Customer Feedback Options command to opt in to or out of the CEIP (you can opt out at any time). In general, the CEIP reports back to Microsoft once a day, through a small binary file. The CEIP uses a randomly generated number to identify the reporting machine, and all information that the mechanism collects is totally anonymous.

The CEIP tells Microsoft about what's going right in the application, as well as revealing more about what's going wrong. For starters, according to Ben Canning, a lead program manager in the Microsoft Office team, the CEIP reports information about all errors, not just crashes. This behavior lets Microsoft zero in on problems that occur more frequently than expected (both in terms of how many customers receive the error and how often individual users see it). Depending on the nature and severity of the problem, Canning said, Microsoft might fix code to avoid the problem or to suppress the error message or might push down a new, more informative error message that will help users avoid the problem in the future. Microsoft also can use the CEIP to deliver new Help information to participants' systems, completing the feedback loop.

Canning added that this level of error reporting, coupled with data about how long each application session lasts and whether it ends normally or in a crash, gives Microsoft metrics (e.g., mean time-to-crash, average number of nonfatal errors) that help the company measure the stability of each release. Canning confirmed that the CEIP can also help answer one of my burning questions: Do Outlook users really live in Outlook all day? Canning reported that apparently the answer is yes. Among the largest segment of CEIP users, Outlook runs for more than 8 hours at a time (although a large spread in actual times exists).

The CEIP holds huge implications for future versions of Microsoft applications. Microsoft has the potential to gather information from millions of real-world users, and that information could reveal whether customers are actually using a particular feature and whether Exchange Server users outnumber POP and IMAP users, as well as help Microsoft identify performance and reliability concerns.

Because the reporting is by machine, not by user, Microsoft doesn't know exactly how many Office 2003 customers have opted into the CEIP, but Canning said the best estimate so far is 20 percent. He stated that Microsoft is talking up the CEIP with its largest corporate customers as they contemplate their Office 2003 rollouts, touting the programs long-term contribution to product reliability. Organizations might want to enable CEIP participation by users so that they can "cast their votes" for which errors Microsoft fixes first and which features it continues to enhance. Office 2003 includes a Group Policy setting that you can use to opt systems into the CEIP; look for the setting in the Microsoft Office 2003 administrative template under Help\Help|Privacy Settings\Enable Customer Experience Improvement Program. For more information about the CEIP, see the URL below.

Continuing Software Improvement at Microsoft


~~~~ Sponsor: Windows Scripting Solutions ~~~~
Try a Sample Issue of Windows Scripting Solutions
Windows Scripting Solutions is the monthly newsletter from Windows & .NET Magazine that shows you how to automate time-consuming, administrative tasks by using our simple downloadable code and scripting techniques. Sign up for a sample issue right now, and find out how you can save both time and money. Click here!


==== Announcements ==== (from Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)

Try a Sample Issue of Exchange & Outlook Administrator!
If you haven't seen Exchange & Outlook Administrator, you're missing out on key information that will go a long way towards preventing serious messaging problems and downtime. Request a sample issue today, and discover tools you won't find anywhere else to help you migrate, optimize, administer, and secure Exchange and Outlook. Order now!

Discover the Basics of Active Directory Fundamentals
In this free Web seminar, we'll look at the logical concepts as they relate to domain, trees, and forests and the physical concepts of domain controllers and sites. We'll also explain the relationship between Active Directory and the Domain Naming Service, as well as cover some operation functions. Register now!

==== 2. Resources ====

Tip: Saving Tasks in a Shared Mailbox by Sue Mosher, [email protected]

Q: Several users in our office share a mailbox. If I create a new contact in the Contacts folder for that mailbox, then choose Actions, "New Task for Contact," Outlook saves the task in my Tasks folder, not in the shared mailbox. How can I get Outlook to save the task in the shared mailbox?

A: Outlook generally assumes that unless you create an item in a specific folder, it should file any new item in the default folder for that item type. As you've realized, this default behavior can cause unexpected results when you're dealing with more than one mailbox.
At least three workarounds exist for this problem. First, instead of using the "New Task for Contact" command, try dragging the contact to the other mailbox's Tasks folder. When you release the mouse button, a new task request will appear with the contact's name already entered in the Contacts box at the bottom of the form. To convert this task request to a regular task, click Cancel Assignment. A second workaround is to create the task directly in the other mailbox's Tasks folder, then click Contacts at the bottom of the task form and select the contact from the other mailbox's Contacts folder. A third option is to use the "New Task for Contact" command as you usually would, but don't click "Save and Close" after you complete the information on the task form. Instead, choose File, "Move to Folder," then select the other mailbox's Tasks folder.
See the Exchange & Outlook Web page for more great tips from Sue Mosher.

==== Events Central ==== (A complete Web and live events directory brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine: )

Sign Up for 2 Great Roadshows About Security and Exchange
Don't miss 2 free roadshow tours covering hot security and Exchange topics. Learn how to simplify your life with Windows Server 2003 and Exchange Server 2003 and protect your infrastructure and applications against security threats. Coming to your city soon. Register now!

==== New and Improved ==== by Carolyn Mader, [email protected]

Synchronize Outlook with Your Tungsten Device
Chapura announced that its PocketMirror Professional XT 3.1.7 can now synchronize Tungsten T3 and Tungsten E devices with Outlook Contacts, Calendar, Tasks, and Notes. PocketMirror Professional XT lets Tungsten T3 and Tungsten E device users make better use of the extended personal information manager (PIM) applications that come with those devices. PocketMirror Professional XT also lets users change Outlook's default folders to any preferred folders and synchronize Microsoft Office Outlook 2003's Business Contact Manager (BCM) Business Contacts folder with the Contacts application on Tungsten TE and Tungsten E devices. Pricing is $49.95. Contact Chapura at 251-470-1963 or 800-242-7872.

Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!
Have you used a product that changed your IT experience by saving you time or easing your daily burden? Tell us about the product, and we'll send you a Windows & .NET Magazine T-shirt if we write about the product in a future Windows & .NET Magazine What's Hot column. Send your product suggestions with information about how the product has helped you to [email protected]

==== Sponsored Links ====

Comparison Paper: The Argent Guardian Easily Beats Out MOM

Microsoft(R) TechNet
Microsoft(R) TechNet Webcasts: essential guidance, industry experts

Microsoft Security
Knowledge Improves Security. Visit


~~~~ Contact Us ~~~~

About the newsletter -- [email protected]
About technical questions --
About product news -- [email protected]
About sponsoring Exchange & Outlook UPDATE -- [email protected]


~~~~ Contact Our Sponsors ~~~~

Primary Sponsor:
Ecora Software -- -- 1-877-92-ECORA


This email newsletter is brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine, the leading publication for IT professionals deploying Windows and related technologies. Subscribe today.

View the Windows & .NET Magazine Privacy policy at Windows & .NET Magazine a division of Penton Media Inc. 221 East 29th Street, Loveland, CO 80538, Attention: Customer Service Department Copyright 2004, Penton Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.