Exchange & Outlook UPDATE, Exchange Edition, July 1, 2004


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Windows & .NET Magazine


1. Commentary
- Troubleshooting OWA's "Loading" Message

2. Resources
- Featured Thread: Upgrading Exchange 5.5
- Outlook Tip: Sending Contact Information with Email Messages

3. New and Improved
- View Your Exchange Data Store
- Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!


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Editor's note: Share Your Exchange Discoveries and Get $100
Share your Exchange Server and Outlook discoveries, comments, or problems and solutions for use in the Exchange & Outlook Administrator print newsletter's Reader to Reader column. Email your contributions (500 words or less) to [email protected] We edit submissions for style, grammar, and length. If we print your submission, you'll get $100.


==== 1. Commentary: Troubleshooting OWA's "Loading" Message ==== by Paul Robichaux, News Editor, [email protected]

I use Outlook Web Access (OWA) 2003 a lot. When I'm on the road, using OWA is often more convenient than unpacking and deploying my laptop and launching Outlook. I'm not alone: As OWA approaches Outlook's desktop version in functionality, more people are using the Web version as a primary client, particularly in organizations that are using the new functionality in Windows Server 2003, Exchange Server 2003, and Outlook 2003 to consolidate Exchange sites. As a result, I've received an increasing number of questions about OWA, in particular about one common problem: When a user launches OWA, it just sits there displaying the message "Loading...". This problem can happen for one of several reasons, most of which are relatively easy to identify and troubleshoot.

The first possible cause is that WWW Distributed Authoring and Versioning (WebDAV) verbs are being blocked between the browser and the OWA server. You should use Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) to protect your OWA sessions, so this type of blockage usually occurs at a proxy server on the client's network or on the firewall at which the SSL session terminates. The simplest workaround for this problem is to use the Basic OWA client, which you can select via the radio button on the OWA 2003 logon page. You can use OWA segmentation to force the use of the Basic client for all users, although doing so means that users will lose a significant amount of OWA functionality. You could also trying to fix the proxy or firewall so that it doesn't block WebDAV verbs, but that isn't always possible.

Another potential cause of the "Loading" problem is that users haven't specified a language preference for Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE). Without a specified language, OWA can't tell which version of the interface to deliver, and instead of guessing, it just petulantly sits there. To fix this problem, have users specify the language you want them to use.

A couple of other possibilities exist if you're still using the ancient Microsoft Proxy Server 2.0 or if you've hit a particular bug; the Microsoft article "Troubleshooting OWA when the contents frame displays 'Loading'" ( ) discusses these less-likely problems and how to fix them. In addition, the article provides some extreme actions to take if the more typical solutions don't work. The first of these actions is to reregister the msxml.dll and msxml3.dll processing libraries on the Exchange server--something that wouldn't typically strike me as being particularly useful. The other recommendation is to remove and recreate the Exchange virtual directories--not something to approach lightly.

Of course, because OWA depends on Windows and Microsoft IIS, these troubleshooting tips are just a few of many possible procedures. What's your favorite troubleshooting tip? Let me know and I'll summarize the best ones in a future column.


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==== 2. Resources ====

Featured Thread: Upgrading Exchange 5.5
A forum reader is asking for information and advice about upgrading from Exchange Server 5.5 on Windows NT to Exchange Server 2003 on Windows Server 2003. If you can help (or just want to join the discussion), go to the following URL:

Outlook Tip: Sending Contact Information with Email Messages by Sue Mosher, [email protected]

Q: When I forward a vCard in Outlook 2002, neither the Categories field nor any associated flags accompany the card. How can I send a vCard with this information?

A: Unfortunately, Outlook 2002's support for vCards is incomplete. Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) Request for Comments (RFC) 2425 and RFC 2426 govern the vCard format. RFC 2426 defines a Categories field that can hold a comma-delimited list, but Outlook doesn't support such a field. Also, nothing in the RFC corresponds to Outlook's reminder flags for contacts.
To work around these limitations, you can send an Outlook contact item instead of a vCard. To do so, go to the Inbox and click Actions, New Mail Message Using, Rich Text to create a new Rich Text Format (RTF) message. To insert the contact by using the regular Outlook editor, choose Insert, Item, then select the contact you want to add. To insert a contact by using the WordMail editor, you must copy the contact as an attachment by dragging the contact from the Contacts folder into the body of the message. If you use the latter method, you should include instructions in your message telling the recipients that if they want to add the contact to their own Contacts folder, they can drag it from the mail message to the folder.
If you're sending to someone outside your Exchange Server organization, you need to perform a few other steps to make sure they'll get an RTF message. Choose Tools, Options, Mail Format, then click Internet Format. Under Outlook Rich Text options, select Send using Outlook Rich Text format (this step isn't necessary for earlier versions). Also, before you send the message, double-click the recipient address and make sure that it's marked for rich text.
See the Windows & .NET Magazine Exchange & Outlook Web page for more great tips.

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==== 3. New and Improved ==== by Angie Brew, [email protected]

View Your Exchange Data Store
Tek-Tools released Profiler for Microsoft Exchange Server, a Web-based reporting and analysis solution that provides a consolidated, centralized view of Exchange servers in relation to the entire storage network. Profiler for Exchange helps you identify and avoid problems by letting them view the size of each data store, the size of public folders, the total size of mailboxes on the server, the size and owner of each mailbox, and information sent and received in messages and attachments. You can clean up mailboxes by getting rid of duplicate files and putting old messages in secondary storage. Pricing starts at $3000. Contact Tek-Tools at 972-980-2890.

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