Exchange & Outlook UPDATE, Outlook Edition, August 27, 2004


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1. Commentary
- OWA and Windows XP SP2

2. Resources
- Tip: Displaying a Profile Name in Outlook 2003

3. New and Improved
- Schedule Resources in Real Time
- Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!


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==== 1. Commentary: OWA and Windows XP SP2==== by Sue Mosher, News Editor, [email protected]

After spending some time on the phone with Microsoft Product Support Services (PSS) recently, I mentioned to the support technician that I was about to deploy Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) to my network machines. The technician cautioned me to keep an eye on Outlook Web Access (OWA) performance. OWA uses pop-up windows for some of its functionality, and SP2's version of Internet Explorer (IE) includes a Pop-up Blocker.

I looked into the subject a bit more and was happy to find the Microsoft article "Description of the known issues with using Outlook Web Access on a Windows XP SP2-based computer" ( ), which details the effects of SP2 on OWA. I also learned a lot from a post at jeffdav's WebLog ( ), a blog site by Jeff Davis (a member of the Internet Explorer team at Microsoft). If your organization uses OWA on the local intranet only, you don't need to worry about the Pop-up Blocker issue. IE automatically considers sites in its Trusted Sites and Local Intranet zones to be safe and doesn't block pop-ups for those sites. But if users access OWA from over the Internet, you might need to make some adjustments.

As the Microsoft article I mention above explains, the Pop-up Blocker's default filter setting of Medium blocks certain Exchange Server 2003 and Exchange 2000 Server OWA features. These features include new mail and reminder notifications, the New Folder command, the New Message button in the Find Names dialog box, and the "Send Mail to Contact" button on the Contact form. In addition, many context-menu commands (including Reply, Reply to All, Forward, Create Rule, and Move/Copy to Folder) for individual items in table views are blocked. Oddly, the Move/Copy button on the toolbar works fine. The "Open in New" context-menu command for folders is also blocked. The Microsoft article claims that the Attachments button in the Item dialog box doesn't work, but I found out otherwise. The first time I clicked this button, I received a blocked pop-up notification, but the second time I clicked it, it worked.

That's when I started looking into the information that Jeff Davis provides about the different Pop-up Blocker filter levels: High, Medium, and Low. I found that if I changed the UseTimerMethod value in the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\New Windows registry subkey from 0 to 1, the Attachments button worked the first time. Typically, though, you won't want to change the subsettings for Pop-up Blocker filter. A better solution for OWA users who have control over their own Windows registry is to put the OWA URL in IE's Trusted Sites list or add it to the Pop-up Blocker's whitelist.

Temporarily turning off the Pop-up Blocker for the OWA site is another solution. If users connect to OWA via XP SP2 kiosk computers, they might be able to use this solution by clicking the Pop-up Blocker information bar that appears at the top of the IE window when a pop-up is blocked. Another option for users who log on with forms-based authentication would be to choose the Basic OWA interface rather than the Premium interface.

In addition to Pop-up Blocker issues, the Microsoft article documents some script errors (especially those related to name checking) that users might encounter and mentions that OWA for Exchange 2003 will no longer recognize the Secure MIME (S/MIME) control after you deploy SP2. The scripting errors disappeared when I added the OWA site to the Trusted Sites zone, but I was unable to find a workaround for the S/MIME control issue.


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==== 2. Resources ====

Tip: Displaying a Profile Name in Outlook 2003 by Sue Mosher, [email protected]

Q: I have two profiles and choose one when I start Microsoft Office Outlook 2003. How can I get Outlook to display the profile name--maybe in the banner area--to remind me which profile is loaded?

A: In Outlook 2002 and earlier versions, an easy way to show the profile name is to change the name of the top group in the Outlook Bar to show the profile name instead of Outlook Shortcuts. This technique works because the Outlook Bar shortcuts are specific to each profile.
The new navigation pane in Outlook 2003 relegates the Outlook Bar to obscurity. You can still view it as a collection of shortcuts (by clicking the Shortcuts icon at the bottom of the navigation pane) but not as a bar. Unless you plan to use the Shortcuts list as your main Outlook 2003 navigation tool, however, you need to look elsewhere for some way to display the current profile name.
To find out which data is profile-specific in Outlook 2003, I checked the files in the \documents and settings\%userprofile%\application data\microsoft\outlook folder. I learned that three types of files are profile-specific:
- the .nk2 nickname file for resolving addresses
- the .srs file for send/receive settings
- the .xml file, which contains navigation bar Favorite Folders and Outlook Bar shortcuts The nickname file never appears on screen; Outlook just uses its information when you resolve addresses. However, both the .srs and .xml files affect the UI, so you can use either the send/receive settings or the Favorite Folders list to create a profile-specific label.
If you want Outlook to display the profile name all the time, rename one of the search folders in the Favorite Folders list to use the name of the profile. A new profile always includes the Unread Mail and For Follow Up search folders, so these folders are good candidates for renaming. If you don't need to see the profile name all the time, you can rename the primary send/receive group. Choose Tools, Send/Receive Settings, Define Send/Receive Groups. Select All Accounts, then click Rename and give the All Accounts send/receive group a new name, such as Sue EXS Accounts (to match my Sue EXS profile). After you make this change, you can check the profile name by choosing Tools, Send/Receive to see the list of send/receive groups. This technique also works in Outlook 2002, which has profile-specific send/receive groups.
See the Exchange & Outlook Web page for more great tips from Sue Mosher.

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