Synchronization Filters

Filed in Outlook 2010, Outlook 2013

I’m not sure when you would want to use this feature, but Outlook allows you to use a filter to select what items you want to synchronize with the Exchange server. Right-click on any folder in your Exchange mailbox and select Properties. On the Synchronization tab, configure your filter as you would any other search filter in Outlook. When you click OK, Outlook will give you this warning message; read it carefully:

 

The next time this folder is synchronized, any new or modified items in the offline copy will be uploaded, all items matching the filter will be downloaded, and items that do not match the filter will be removed from the offline copy. Client rules will not run while offline if there is a synchronization filter on the inbox.

 

Four things are going to happen as long as this filter is in place:

  1. Any changes you make in Outlook will be synchronized to the server whether they match the filter or not.
  2. Anything on the server that matches the filter will be downloaded to Outlook.
  3. Anything already in Outlook that doesn’t match the filter will be deleted only from the cached data in Outlook. It won’t be deleted from the server.
  4. Any client-only rules will not run.

Another consideration: If someone isn’t seeing everything they expect to see in a mailbox folder, check for View filters and Synchronization filters. These can be applied to a primary and a shared mailbox.

 
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Outlook permission errors related to resource mailboxes

Filed in Microsoft Exchange 2010, Outlook 2010, Outlook 2013Tags: , , ,

Computers only do what you tell them, right? Somebody needs to have a talk with Exchange and Outlook about how they work with resource mailboxes. Every resource mailbox I configure seems to behave differently. Here are two problems I saw this week:

You don’t have appropriate permission to perform this operation.

Except that you do. In this case, I had created a new resource mailbox a couple of days before, configured the delegates, and gave the delegates Full Access permissions to the mailbox. (Unlike with other types of mailboxes, granting Full Access permissions does not prompt Outlook to open the resource mailbox automatically. You still have to add the calendar.) When the delegates tried to open a meeting scheduled by another delegate or when they tried to create a meeting directly in the calendar, they would get this error. No amount of fiddling with mailbox or folder permissions helped and the “/cleanfreebusy” switch no longer works in Outlook 2013. Everything seemed to work as intended in OWA. The fix was easy, but far from obvious. Repair the email account in Account Settings and restart Outlook.

Outlook starts in offline mode after removing a resource mailbox

After removing another user as a delegate on a resource mailbox and removing the mailbox from his Outlook client, Outlook would only start in Offline Mode. He could go online without a problem, but next time he started Outlook, it would be offline again. Repairing the email account didn’t fix this problem. The solution was to delete these two folders after backing up any .pst files in them:

  • %appdata%\Microsoft\Outlook
  • %localappdata%\Microsoft\Outlook

If Outlook is in cached mode, it will have to download all of the data from the server, which could take a while, depending on the user’s mailbox size and how much data is being cached. This will also erase Outlook’s AutoComplete cache, but I continually tell my users not to rely on AutoComplete as an address book. If they want to keep an address, they should save it to their Contacts. After doing this, the default signatures for new messages and replies had to be reselected. Not recreated, just reselected.

There is something about resource mailboxes that really messes with Outlook’s head. They’re great tools, but you have to verify everything because their behavior is so inconsistent.

 
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Unable to share a folder “because of permission settings on your network”

Filed in Outlook 2010, Outlook 2013Tags: , ,

In any Exchange environment, Outlook will frequently return this error when you try to share a calendar or some other folder:

Calendar sharing is not available with the following entries because of permission settings on your network:

John Doe (john.doe@mydomain.com)

Do you want to send them a copy of this calendar in an e-mail message instead?
Yes        No

The problem almost never has anything to do with permission settings on the network, and only tangentially has to do with permission settings at all. 90% of the time, you can fix this error by selecting the recipient of the sharing invitation from the Global Address List, rather than from Outlook’s Autocomplete Cache or from your Contacts. If that fixes it, delete the recipient from your Autocomplete and from your Contacts, and you shouldn’t have that problem again.

Until you do.

 
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