Exchange & Outlook UPDATE, Exchange Edition, July 10, 2003

Exchange & Outlook UPDATE, Exchange Edition--July 10, 2003

This Issue Sponsored By

Sunbelt Software

HP & Microsoft Network Storage Solutions Road Show


1. Commentary

- The OWA Evolution

2. Announcements

- Find Your Next Job at Our IT Career Center

- New Active Directory Web Seminar!

3. Resources

- How to Use ExMerge 2000 to Migrate from Exchange Server 5.5 to Exchange 2000 or Exchange Server 2003

- Featured Thread: Dropped Messages

- Outlook Tip: Creating New Forms

4. Events

- New--Mobile & Wireless Road Show!

5. New and Improved

- Capture Email Messages for Legal Purposes

- Submit Top Product Ideas

6. Contact Us

- See this section for a list of ways to contact us.


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==== 1. Commentary: The OWA Evolution ==== by Paul Robichaux, News Editor, [email protected]

In ancient times (say, 1996 or so), Exchange Server 5.5 introduced Outlook Web Access (OWA). Exchange 5.5 uses Microsoft's Active Server Pages (ASP) technology to implement OWA: A user logs on to an OWA server and fills out a Web form. An ASP running on the OWA server accepts the user's credentials and passes those credentials to a domain controller (DC) for authentication. After a successful logon, other ASP pages use Messaging API (MAPI) calls to retrieve email, then format messages for display in the user's browser.

This archaic OWA version was a terrific idea, but the implementation left something to be desired. Exchange 2000 Server includes a completely rebuilt OWA architecture that ties Exchange directly to Microsoft IIS so that OWA's rendering engine can take advantage of the fact that items in the Exchange store are addressable through individual URLs. This change provides a huge performance and stability boost over the earlier ASP-based OWA implementation, but it takes away something that many administrators want badly: customization. If you don't have any ASP pages, you don't have anything obvious to customize. In particular, many Exchange 5.5 sites had edited the OWA logon page to include a corporate logo, security warnings, disclaimers, and the like. Exchange 2000 doesn't have any good way to provide these elements in OWA, although many enterprising folks have found workarounds. Also, in Exchange 2000, the browser handles all authentication, requesting the user's credentials upon demand from the IIS server. This method is easy for users, particularly when you turn on integrated Windows authentication on the server, but it doesn't provide a clean method of applying timeout or expiry settings to open sessions, reducing OWA's security when used with public machines.

With Exchange Server 2003, Microsoft has hit a terrific middle ground. OWA still uses a direct interprocess communications (IPC) link to IIS, but you get a logon page that you can customize--provided that you turn on forms-based authentication, another throwback to Exchange 5.5's OWA version. To enable forms-based authentication, you must run Exchange 2003 on Windows Server 2003 or Windows 2000 Service Pack 4 (SP4) or later. To turn on forms-based authentication in Exchange 2003, open Exchange 2003's Exchange System Manager (ESM) and select the "Enable Forms Based Authentication" check box on the Settings tab of the Protocols\http\Exchange virtual server object (under your target server object). You'll need to restart the IIS Web Publishing service.

After you've turned on forms-based authentication, you can edit the logon.asp file, localized versions of which live in country-specific subfolders under the \program files\exchsrvr\exchweb\bin\auth\ directory. The standard US English page is in the "usa" subfolder; other supported languages include French, Korean, Polish, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish. By carefully editing this file, you can apply several customizations, including the following: - Add your corporate logo. The logon_logo.gif file in program files\exchsrvr\exchweb\img\ is the Microsoft logo. You can replace this file with your own logo (be sure to update the height and width measurements in the logo's tag in logon.asp). - Change the appearance of the logon page according to client type. OWA understands two client types: "premium" (Microsoft Internet Explorer--IE--5.0 and later on Windows) and "basic" (everything else). You can present a different page with different text or images for each client type. - Add security disclaimers. You can even add a page that requires users to select a check box or click a button to indicate their acceptance of a security policy, then use that page to redirect them to logon.asp. If you don't want to write your own code, just add an appropriate statement to the logon.asp file.

Back up logon.asp before you make any of these changes. The file will be overwritten when you reinstall Exchange 2003; I wouldn't bet on the edited file surviving service pack installations, either. And of course (you knew this was coming), Microsoft can't support you if you break something by editing this file or any other OWA file, so be careful.

You can make plenty of other interesting customizations to OWA, and Microsoft's working on a white paper that explains them in more detail. In the meantime, Exchange 2003's OWA trial version ( ) should have enough new features and settings to keep you occupied. Happy exploring!


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==== 2. Announcements ==== (from Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)

Find Your Next Job at Our IT Career Center Check out our new online career center in which you can browse current job openings, post your resume, and create automated notifications to notify you when a job is posted that meets your specifications. It's effective, it's private, and there's no charge. Visit today!

New Active Directory Web Seminar!

Discover how to securely manage Active Directory in a multiforest environment, establish attribute-level auditing without affecting AD performance, enhance secure permission management with "Roles," and more! There's no charge for this Aelita Software-sponsored event, but space is limited--register today!


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==== 3. Resources ====

How to Use ExMerge 2000 to Migrate from Exchange Server 5.5 to Exchange 2000 or Exchange Server 2003

Each week, Microsoft posts several Exchange Server how-to articles to its Knowledge Base. This week, learn how to use ExMerge to simplify migration, and find references for related Microsoft articles.

Featured Thread: Dropped Messages

Several forum readers are having trouble with external email messages mysteriously dropping before delivery. To offer your advice or join the discussion, go to the following URL:

Outlook Tip: Creating New Forms by Sue Mosher, [email protected]

Q: When I click Tools, Forms, Design a Form, I see a Design Form dialog box asking me which form I want to design. How can I create a new form?

A: Unlike Visual Basic (VB) or Microsoft Access, Outlook provides no way to start with a completely blank form. You must start with one of six basic forms, each of which contains a lot of built-in functionality for composing messages, setting dates and times, and performing other common tasks. Make your choice depending on the intended use of the form. For example, if you'll use the form to send messages, start with the message form. If you'll use the form to track the time spent doing something, you might use either the task or the journal form. If you want to be able to link other items to the items created with your form, you might base your custom form on the contact form.

See the Exchange & Outlook Administrator Web site for more great tips from Sue Mosher.

==== 4. Events ==== (brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine)

New--Mobile & Wireless Road Show!

Learn more about the wireless and mobility solutions that are available today! Register now for this free event!

==== 5. New and Improved ==== by Carolyn Mader, [email protected]

Capture Email Messages for Legal Purposes

Yaletown Technology Group (YTG) released email & Correspondence Warehouse 2.0 (eCW), email management software that can automatically capture, archive, and retrieve important email messages according to rules that you define. eCW can store any email message in a centralized set of company profiles that you can later search to retrieve the message. The solution features Outlook support. For pricing, contact YTG at 604-683-8781.

Submit Top Product Ideas

Have you used a product that changed your IT experience by saving you time or easing your daily burden? Do you know of a terrific product that others should know about? Tell us! We want to write about the product in a future Windows & .NET Magazine What's Hot column. Send your product suggestions to [email protected]

==== Sponsored Links ====


Jerry Honeycutt Desktop Deployment Whitepaper


==== 6. Contact Us ====

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