Outlook 2007: Q&As from Connections

Last week's Microsoft Exchange Connections conference in Las Vegas provided me an opportunity to do one of the things I enjoy most—share my enthusiasm about Microsoft Office Outlook, in this case about Outlook 2007. The recent release of the Microsoft Office 2007 System means that volume-license customers and Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) subscribers can now work with the final version, which will hit retail shelves early in 2007.

Conference attendees asked some interesting questions that I couldn't immediately answer, so I thought that this month I'd track down those answers for you.

Q. How can I increase the limit on rules storage in Exchange Server 2007 from the 32KB default?

A. RulesQuota is one of the many parameters available for the Set-Mailbox cmdlet, which configures dozens of parameters on an individual mailbox. The syntax to increase the rules capacity to the maximum 256KB for a mailbox with the alias MyMailbox would look like this: set-mailbox -identity MyMailbox -RulesQuota 256KB

Q. Does Outlook 2007 let you change the organizer of a recurring appointment?

A. Continuing the management of a recurring appointment when the appointment's creator has left the organization is a common problem. Unfortunately, it's one of the few scheduling problems that Outlook 2007 with Exchange 2007 doesn't resolve.

Q. Given that it's so much easier to share mailbox folders with Outlook 2007, does conflict resolution work any differently?

A. Streamlined mailbox folder sharing is one of the big new collaboration features in Outlook 2007, and one that doesn't require Exchange 2007. With the Share command on the navigation pane or folder context menu, sharing a folder is as easy as sending an email message. What's different behind the scenes (and what the user might not realize) is that for non-mail folders, Outlook 2007 by default caches the shared folders locally in the offline folders .ost file. That's a big change from previous versions, in which users with access to a shared mailbox folder always connected directly to the shared folder on the Exchange server, with no local cache involved. Since both Outlook 2007 users (the mailbox owner and the user with shared access) are likely to be working with cached data for a shared mailbox folder, it's certainly possible for conflicts to happen if both have write access to the folder. My testing so far shows that Outlook tries to make an intelligent decision about which change "wins," but when it can't, it puts a conflict message in the Sync Issues\Conflicts folder.

Q. If User A has access to a folder from User B's mailbox and User B's mailbox is deleted, what happens to the cached copy of User B's folder, the one that resides in User A's offline folders .ost file?

A. The cached data is still visible to any user who already has a shared copy of the mailbox. For non-calendar folders, the user can open existing items and, if originally granted write permission, create new items. However, for a calendar folder, any attempt to open an appointment will results in an error message: "Cannot open this item. Cannot open the free/busy information. Microsoft Exchange is not available. Either there are network problems or the Exchange computer is down for maintenance." A similar message appears if a user with write permission tries to create a new item. Ideally, you'd want the user to see a more informative message about the shared mailbox being unavailable, but it could be that Outlook just can't distinguish between a problem with a specific mailbox and general network issues affecting its connectivity.

Q. Is there a way to turn off shared mailbox folder caching?

A. Yes, through Group Policy Objects (GPOs). After you install the Outlk12.adm file (see the URL below), you should see that option in Group Policy Editor under User Configuration, Administrative Templates, Microsoft Office Outlook 2007, Tools | Account Settings, Cached Exchange Mode as a policy named "Download shared non-mail folders." On the download page for the .adm files, note that they're available in multiple languages. The Outlook 2007 .adm files include a detailed description of each option in the language you select for the download.

Microsoft Office Outlook 2007

Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Beta 2

2007 Office System Administrative Templates (ADM)

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