Users of Outlook Web App (OWA) who like to use the Chrome browser have run into choppy waters recently. As it turns out, three distinct problems are in play. The first is Google’s deprecation of the showModalDialog method in Chrome version 38 that stops OWA (and the Exchange Administration Center) displaying modal dialogs to input data when objects are edited. The same problem afflicts Microsoft CRM.
Google provides a registry hack as a workaround for the showModalDialog problem. The workaround will stop being effective in May 2015 and the hope is that by then Microsoft will have updated the OWA, EAC, and CRM browser code to stop using the method.
Next up there’s the issue with Lync URLs that the 64-bit version of Chrome seems unable to handle. This is more of an irritation than anything else, but it’s not a great example of interoperability between the browser and Lync.
The most recent issue appeared in early September soon after the release of Chrome 38 when users reported that appointments never showed up on the OWA calendar. The issue appeared in both Exchange 2010 and Exchange 2013 (but not in the more recent builds) and not in Exchange Online in Office 365. The problem was specific to Chrome and did not show up in IE, Firefox, or Safari.
Despite being first reported on September 2, the bug didn’t get much traction with the developers until October 17. I guess time is necessary to mature and stew a bug until it is nice and ready to be fixed.
[Update: November 4 - reports indicate that the fix is present and effective in Chrome build 38.0.2125.111m]
If you are affected by the disappearing appointments problem in OWA, you can follow the steps outlined on this blog to implement a fix for Exchange 2013 mailbox servers (build 15.0.995.29, or CU6) before the official Chrome update appears. As a health warning, I have not attempted to apply the fix myself as none of my Exchange 2013 systems exhibit the problem (I am running some beta code on my servers). Those running earlier versions of Exchange 2013 or Exchange 2010 who need a fix will have to wait for the official code or experiment based on the information provided for Exchange 2013, which might prove to be exciting.
It’s interesting that Exchange Online does not have the problem as this indicates that Microsoft found and fixed the issue in their code recently (my Office 365 tenant is running version 15.0.1049.17). It looks like the fix will be made in both OWA and the browser.
All of this proves that the world of IT is highly interconnected and complex. It’s hard to know to whom a bug belongs. The October 17 fix takes one of the Chrome/OWA issues off the table. It would be nice if the other problems could be resolved soon too.
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