Sunday, October 19, 2008

Problem with Autodiscover on Exchange 2007 SP1

I have run into this problem with an Exchange Server 2007 SP1 implementation running on Windows Server 2008 x64. I also noticed some forum posts where people had the exact same issue on Windows Server 2003 x64, however I cannot verify the solution method described here would help if you're on Windows Server 2003 x64. 

Although the main problem is with the Autodiscover web service, you may experience crashes in Outlook 2007 with Scheduling Assistant or errors with Out of Office Asisstant (OOF). Also Offline Addressbook (OAB) downloads may not work properly. When used with Outlook 2007, all these features depend on Autodiscover, so they fail when Autodiscover has a problem. In my case, users noticed that they were not able to "Add Attendees" when trying to create a meeting request with Scheduling Assistant. Outlook 2007 was crashing when they selected an attendee from the addressbook. After a brief research, I also noticed that Out of Office Assitant was also failing with "Your Out of Office settings cannot be displayed, because the server is currently unavailable" message. My attempts to download Offline Address Book were also unsuccessful. Download attempts did not succeed, but they ran forever and did not produce an error message either.

I will not list all the boring troubleshooting details here, but I want to mention that I deleted and recreated Autodiscover virtual directory with "Remove-AutodiscoverVirtualDirectory" and "New-AutodiscoverVirtualDirectory" commandlets in Powershell. These commands ran without any issues, but they did not help. 

Also I ran "Test-OutlookWebServices" commandlet on Exchange Server and received the following error at the fourth step:

PS] C:\Windows\System32>Test-OutlookWebServices |fl

Id      : 1003
Type    : Information
Message : About to test AutoDiscover with the e-mail address Administrator@xyz.com.

Id      : 1007
Type    : Information
Message : Testing server EX01.xyz.com with the published name https://EX01.xyz.com/EWS/Exchange.asmx & https://mail.xyz.com/EWS/Exchange.asmx.

Id      : 1019
Type    : Information
Message : Found a valid AutoDiscover service connection point. The AutoDiscover URL on this object is https://EX01.xyz.com/autodiscover/autodiscover.xml.

Id      : 1006
Type    : Information
Message : The Autodiscover service was contacted at https://EX01.xyz.com/autodiscover/autodiscover.xml.

WARNING: An unexpected error has occurred and debug information is being generated: Object reference not set to an instance of an object.
Test-OutlookWebServices : Object reference not set to an instance of an object.
At line:1 char:24 
+ Test-OutlookWebServices  <<<< |fl

Because Outlook "Test E-mail AutoConfiguration" ended with a "certificate error" I also re-created the SSL certificate and enabled it for all services. No need to say, none of these actions resolved the problem. 

I was able to find the actual problem source and solution at Technet Forums. (At http://forums.microsoft.com/TechNet/ShowPost.aspx?PageIndex=0&SiteID=17&PageID=0&PostID=3760137, to be exact.) Apparently, the problem was caused by a bug in ".NET Framework 2.0 SP2". It simply was not playing nicely with Exchange Server 2007 SP1. Even though you don't explicitly select to install this .NET 2.0 Service Pack 2, it is installed as a part of ".NET Framework 3.5 SP1" setup. With this information, I searched for .NET Framework 2.0 SP2 in Programs and Features, but failed to find it. So I uninstalled .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 instead and restarted the server. However this did not help. Finally, I found that the .NET 2.0 SP2 was displayed as "Update for Microsoft Windows (KB948609)" in Windows 2008 Programs and Features. After I had uninstalled this update, all of my problems disapperared. I was able to verify that Out of Office Assistant, Scheduling Assistant and Offline Address Book downloads were fully functional. In addition, all error messages disappeared from "Test-OutlookWebServices" test in Powershell and "Test E-mail AutoConfiguration" test in Outlook. 

I had to spend long hours searching the web and testing every possible solution to find the actual one. Hope this post will reduce your troubleshooting period. Please use the Comments link below if want to say something about this post.

15 comments:

Ziggy said...

Did you expierenced problems with all outlook 2007 clients or just some clients?
Our problem looks simular to yours but we have only some clients with these problems. This makes it hard to point to the exact cause of the problem. Beside that we are using Windows server 2003 with Exchange 2007. Hope you can gif me some more information about this ... problem :-)

Regards, Ziggy

Ilker Aydin said...

In my case, all Outlook 2007 clients were affected since they could only use the Web based services. On the other hand, when tested with Outlook 2003, everything was working properly. This also verified that the web based services was the source of the problem. I have seen forum posts where people had similar problems with Exchange 2007 SP1 running on Windows 2003 x64. However I cannot verify if the solution in this post could also fix similar problems on Windows 2003.

Anonymous said...

I have to say thanks and give some additional info that fixed my OOF/autodiscover issues. Not only your info on the .net problems but also this info: http://krva.blogspot.com/2008/01/owa-2007-error-440-login-timeout.html
and this:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/320202
I removed the .net all the way down to 2.0 sp1 then followed the MS document to reinstall IIS/Exch2007. Fixed everything great!
My system: single forest, svr 2k3R2x64, exch2007, outlook2007.

Katski said...

Thanks so much for writing about this. Microsoft have now released a hotfix for this issue - see http://support.microsoft.com/kb/958934. I haven't applied it yet, just waiting for them to send me the update.

Ilker Aydin said...

Katski, I am glad to hear that you found my post helpful. Also thanks for the information about Microsoft's hotfix. Please let us know the results when you install the hotfix.

Regards, Ilker

Anonymous said...

This was a great help and thanks for the information. I uninstalled the Windows Update KB and all my problems went away. Many Thanks!!

Anonymous said...

Only uninstall Windows Update KB and all is now OK (Windows Server 2008 Small Bussiness). GREAT !!! Many many Thanks!! You ARE BETTER THAN MICROSOFT SPECIALISTS !!!

Anonymous said...

Good god man, realize that you are my savior :D. I was looking for a solution all day and thanks to your post I'm finally out of the woods :-). If it weren't for you, I'd probably still have been looking in a few days. Respect to you my friend!

Regards,
Bart Schoonvliet

Anonymous said...

We have a similar problem with OOF and SA but with only some users. We created a new test user in AD (no e-amil) and had one of our toubled users logon and launch Outlook 2007. OOF and SA worked fine. I then copied the troubled users original AD account and logged in myself. OOF and SA did not work. Im sure it’s a permissions issue but why is it only effecting some users? Not sure where to look next.

Garrett B said...

uninstalling KB948609 worked! thanks a ton!

Clayton said...

Man, you are AWESOME! I don't know how many hours I have spent on this issue before running across your post. When I read it, it was like I wrote it myself. That's how close it was to my situation. I downloaded the three .NET patches and our Out of Office Assistant and Free-Busy info has not had a problem since. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Anonymous said...

this appears to be the hotfix from MS

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/952883/en-us

the date on the article was june 8th so well after you guys all had your issues.

Hope it's helpful (you might need .net2 sp2?..)

Anonymous said...

Uninstalling KB948609 worked! Thank you sooo much! :)
___
SBS2008 / Exchange 2007

Anonymous said...

Perfecr Man! After searching and recreating Virtualdirectories for hours, that did the Trick! Thanks a lot!! Cheers, Alex

Anonymous said...

Thank you!! This problem was the bane of my existence for several months. Thankyouthankyouthankyou!