If you would like to read the other parts in this article series please go to:
- Address Lists in Exchange 2007 (Part 1)
- Address Lists in Exchange 2007 (Part 2)
- Address Lists in Exchange 2007 (Part 3)
An exchange address list is a collection of addressees that can be browsed by multiple types of exchange recipients to retrieve one another. An address list in Exchange 2007 is either a Global Address List, a custom Address List, or an Offline Address Book. In the first part of this article series I talked about Global Address Lists, in this second part of this article series I covered custom Address Lists and how you can create and manage them. In the previous part of this article series I covered the server-side of Offline Address Books in more detail, and in the finishing part I would like to come back to the client-side of Offline Address Books.
Offline Address Book – Client Side
Microsoft Office Outlook is the client application that can use an Offline Address Book, generated by Exchange. Ever since Microsoft Office Outlook 2003, cached mode configuration is enabled by default, which will enable Outlook to synchronize the content of an Exchange mailbox to a local .ost file, and the offline address list from Exchange to a collection of .oab files on a client’s computer. By using an offline address list, Outlook does not have to connect to the global catalog to resolve names, or to view a recipients properties. Outlook does however connect to the global catalog to retrieve information that is not available in the offline address list, like group membership, organization hierarchy information, and any custom property in Active Directory added by an administrator. It is not possible to add any custom property directly in the offline address book. When Outlook shows a status of Offline or Disconnected, you will only be able to see the information that is synchronized in the offline address list.
To check if Microsoft Office Outlook is using a downloaded offline address book, you can launch Microsoft Office Outlook, select the Address Book symbol in the toolbar, as shown in Figure 1, and then in the Show Names from the list, right-click Global Address List, as can be seen in Figure 2, and select Properties.
Figure 1: Adress books selection Outlook 2007
Figure 2: Global Address List Properties
As can be seen in Figure 3, a local path is shown, which means that Outlook is using the downloaded offline address book. When you go to that location, you will notice the different .oab files as mentioned before, and shown in Figure 4.
Figure 3: Microsoft Exchange Address Book Provider = OAB
Figure 4: .oab Files
As you can see the folder contains in the given example 6 .oab files, which is normal when having a full-details offline address book. In case you choose to download no-details offline address book, only five files will show up.
It is possible to change the location where the .oab files will be stored, by following the method as described in knowledge base article Q841273:
- Click Start, click Run, type regedit, and then click OK.
- Locate and then click the following registry subkey:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows Messaging Subsystem\Profiles\Profile_name\13dbb0c8aa05101a9bb000aa002fc45a
- On the Edit menu, point to New, and then click String Value.
- Type 001e660e, and then press ENTER.
- Right-click 001e660e, and then click Modify.
- In the Value data box, type the path of the folder where you want to store the offline address book files, and then click OK.
- Exit Registry Editor.
If you see a server name, like the one shown in Figure 5, Outlook is going online and does not use any download offline address book.
Figure 5: Microsoft Exchange Address Book Provider = Global Catalog
By default, when running, Outlook will update the OAB every 24 hours. You can change this behavior by customizing or creating a new Send/Receive Group. Open Outlook, select Tools, Send/Receive Settings, and select Define Send/Receive Groups as can be seen in Figure 6.
Figure 6: Define Send/Receive Groups
In Figure 7 you can see how you can create a new Send/Receive Group by selecting New, give the group a name like OAB (Figure 8), and define its settings and when you want the group to synchronize the OAB.
Figure 7: Name New Send/Receive Group
Figure 8: Send/Receive Group Settings
It is possible to manually force an update of the OAB in two ways. One way is to exit Outlook and restart it. Another way is by selecting Tools, Send/Receive, and then choose Download Address Book as shown in Figure 9.
Figure 9: Download Address Book
Disable download and usage of OAB when using Outlook in cached mode
Sometimes it might be necessary to prevent Outlook from downloading any OAB, thereby forcing Outlook to always connect to a Global Catalog server to retrieve information. This can be done for both Outlook 2003 and 2007, by removing for any version any existing .oab files, and then adding the following registry keys:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Outlook \Cached Mode
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Outlook \Cached Mode
After restarting Outlook, Outlook will not attempt to download any OAB.
Public Folder or Web Distribution
As covered in part 3 of this article series, you can choose ever since Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 if you want the OAB to be available for your clients using public folder distribution or using web-based distribution. Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 and older can only download the OAB using public folders, Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 and can also connect to a client access server for downloading the OAB using BITS.
To check if Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 is downloading the OAB using public folder distribution or web-based distribution, you can use the tool Test E-Mail Autoconfiguration, that you can access by clicking Ctrl and then right-clicking the Outlook symbol in the system tray, as shown in Figure 10.
Figure 10: Starting Test E-mail AutoConfiguration
After entering the correct e-mail address, and the users’ password, you will see which settings that have been returned by the Autodiscover web service, including the path to download the OAB. As can be seen in Figure 11, public folder distribution is used.
Figure 11: OAB URL
Troubleshooting OAB – Client Side
OAB is not up to date
When you notice that you are missing exchange recipients from your OAB but these recipients are visible when connecting online, you need to check if the following two events have occurred:
The server responsible for generating the OAB, must have updated its OAB
The Outlook client must have downloaded the updated OAB from the server
Error 0x8004010F ‘The operation failed. An object cannot be found’
Figure 12: Outlook Send/Receive Progress Error 0x8004010F
When Outlook 2007 gives you the following error message as shown in Figure 12, you might check any of the following conditions:
Use Test E-mail AutoConfiguration to see if the client should connect to a URL or to a system public folder to download the OAB. If Autoconfiguration was unable to determine your settings, as shown in Figure 13, configure the autodiscover web service first;
Figure 13: Autoconfiguration was unable to determine your settings!
Check if the client can connect to the given web distribution URL, or given public folder server;
Check if the client its mailbox belongs to a mailbox database that has been set with a default offline address book (as discussed in part 3 of this article series), if the value is missing, set the value using the Exchange Management Console or using the Exchange Management Shell as shown in Figure 14.
Figure 14: Set-MailboxDatabase -OfflineAddressBook
An exchange address list is a collection of addressees that can be browsed by multiple types of exchange recipients to retrieve one another. An address list in Exchange 2007 is either a GAL, a custom Address List, or an Offline Address Book. In the first part of this article series I talked about GALs, and how you can create additional GALs, and what you need to consider to make sure your users get the intended GAL. In this second part of this article series I came back to custom Address Lists and how you can create and manage them. In the third part of this article series I’ve covered Offline Address Books in more detail server-side, in the finishing part I came back to the client-side of Offline Address Books.
If you would like to read the other parts in this article series please go to: