Office 2007 Service Pack 2 hasn’t been out a week yet and already little bugs are starting to rear their ugly heads… one of which you might not notice for months if you don’t regularly configure new Outlook clients to connect to your Exchange environment via Outlook Anywhere (formerly RPC over HTTPS). Oh, and the really fun part is the fix isn’t something you do to the client… its something you do to the server. Pretty sweet. Let’s take a look.
The problem shows up as a pretty generic sounding “The connection to Microsoft Exchange is unavailable. Outlook must be online or connected to complete this action.” error when you fire up Outlook for the first time. After some lengthy digging I found Microsoft’s KB969519 article which
describes the issue I’m having, but relates it to a Pre-SP2 performance update in KB961752… this particular performance enhancement patch, as it turns out, is also rolled up into SP2 so the fix is actually the same.
The KB article describes 4 different methods for dealing with the issue; method 2 was the one I chose to implement, but needs a little clarification in my opinion. So far, 5 of the 7 servers I’ve done this to did not have the No RFR Service key mentioned present in the registry (all were Server 2008 servers running Exchange 2007 SP1), and the 2 remaining servers did not have the key exactly worded as mentioned. These two had a key Do Not Refer HTTP to DSProxy with a value of 1 as mentioned in the article and as part of the fix should be reconfigured to 0. For all 7 servers I then manually created the Refer TCPIP to DsProxy key with a value of 1. From here I was a little disappointed as the article mentions you should only have to restart the Exchange System Attendant and its dependent services, however in all 7 cases I found that the server actually needed to be rebooted and the Outlook client restarted before it would actually connect as intended. Another exception I’ve found through testing with the KB article is that this particular behavior does not appear to affect Exchange 2003 servers as the article leads one to believe; not that I’m disappointed or anything.
Now, why Microsoft couldn’t have just built in the DsProxy changes into Exchange 2007 from the very beginning… or at least implemented them through SP1 for Exchange 2007 saving administrators this headache is beyond me; but none the less, I hope this helps.
— Dan Thompson