Outlook must be online or connected…
Testing Exchange 2013 means careful planning of what you are going to test in lab, what you need to test al given scenarios and what is required. One of my golden rule is to test multiple versions of clients against given server. So in my recent configuration testing, I created a very simple lab. It has a domain controller, two Exchange 2013 servers, a load balancer and two client machines. All testing I am performing is on intranet and no internet simulation or remote client scenarios are going to be tested. One of my client machine is running Windows 7 and Outlook 2010. The other client runs Windows 8 and Outlook 2013.
After I completed setup of my first Exchange 2013 server and load balacer, I decided to test the clients before diving into setting up second server and DAG.
First test was on Outlook 2010 client. I fired up the Outlook client and proceeded to usual profile configuration wizard at first launch. The wizard found settings and proceeded to last step of logging on to the server. To my surprise, it took longer than usual. Everything was configured correctly so I decided to wait. It took about 40 seconds before Outlook choked on an error: “the connection to Microsoft Exchange is unavailable. Outlook must be online or connected to complete this action.”
Clicking ok took me to next and somewhat familiar screen of profile setup, showing Exchange server and mailbox information. Not surprisingly, for exchange server, it shows guid@smtpdomain of user mailbox. This is new to Exchange 2013. Exchange 2013 creates a connection point comprised of mailbox GUID @ primary smtp address in effort to nearly eliminate the familiar “Your administrator has made a change to your mailbox. Please restart.” message. Refer to “Exchange 2013 Architecture section of this TechNet article (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj150540(v=exchg.150).aspx) for more details.
Now I have to figure out how to make this work since Outlook 2007 and above is supported client versions for Exchange 2013.
Since I had second client machine with Outlook 2013 handy, I proceeded to first test the differences between the clients and see if that made any difference in the initial experience. If I were to tell you that it just worked without the error I was getting in Outlook 2010, will you be surprised?
At this point, it was clear that the issue wasn’t my server or load balancer configuration. The issue was certainly local to Outlook 2010. So on to trustee Bing.com… and what did I find? Outlook 2010 update released on April 2012. While Microsoft knowledge base article KB2596959 referenced in the update doesn’t exactly map to the issue I was having, it caught my attention as it mentioned GUID@DOMAIN.COM.
I immediately downloaded the update and applied it to Outlook 2010 client.
Now, will you be surprised if I tell you that Outlook 2010 had no problem setting up profile correctly after I applied this update?