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Answers to Your Exchange Mobility Questions

Last week's column about Exchange mobility generated a fair amount of email that was just about evenly divided between people who wanted to know what kind of motorcycle I ride and people who asked follow-up questions about Exchange mobility. Ironically, despite my prior planning, I couldn't respond to those messages while I was in Louisiana. The state park where we stayed had voice-only cell phone coverage from Alltel, so my wireless WAN PC card was useless. By design, our cabin didn't have a phone, and Farmerville, the nearest town, doesn't have much of a communications infrastructure. Because I couldn't respond to any of the many mobility-related messages I received, I thought I'd answer some of them in this week's commentary.

A reader named Jim asked how to use Calendar delegation with Outlook Web Access (OWA). The answer: in combination with Outlook. OWA doesn't provide an interface for setting or changing delegate permissions; you must do so first in Outlook. Then OWA users can open other users' Calendars by specifying the correct URL.

Michael Hansen asked how to customize the OWA logon screen to hide the public and private computer buttons so that all users are treated as though they've logged on from public computers. You can set separate timeouts for public and private computers but, currently, the only way to do so is to customize the logon page (logon.asp). This is fairly simple to do if you're comfortable with JavaScript; the Microsoft article "Customizing the Outlook Web Access Logon Page (see the first URL below) walks you through the process. (The companion paper, "Creating and Deploying Outlook Web Access Themes"--see the second URL below--is also interesting.) Bear in mind that whatever customizations you make will likely be overwritten when you install Exchange 2003 Service Pack 2 (SP2), so keep a backup copy of the original logon page just to be on the safe side.

Rod Taylor commented, "For the most part, EAS \[Exchange ActiveSync\] just works. When it stops working, there's next to no useful logging available for troubleshooting, so you're basically shooting in the dark until it starts working again." I agree that EAS typically just works and that in most cases you can simply set it up and forget about it. I also agree that EAS troubleshooting can be a sticky business. However, some good troubleshooting information is available--if you can find it. First, check the Exchange team blog at , which contains posts by Vanitha Prabhakaran and others that cover some nifty EAS troubleshooting tips. Second, several helpful Webcasts are available on the TechNet Web site. I'm hopeful that the release of Exchange 2003 SP2 and its new Direct Push technology will provide better logging functionality.

Matt Johnson said, "I have implemented, then consequently 'unimplemented' our Exchange mobility feature. The reason is the lack of security, device support, and features as compared to Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES)." Ouch! It's true that BES 4.x has some features that Exchange 2003 EAS doesn't, but I think the landscape is going to look a lot different after Exchange 2003 SP2 ships. (For a taste of how SP2's remote device security features will work, see Salman Zafar's post on the Exchange team blog at

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