Outlook keep asking for username/password (Hint: user recently changed the password)


Is your Outlook keep poping up with authentication window? Is Outlook asks for username/password everytime it opens?
 
If you or the user changed the password (AD account) recently, Outlook authentication issue is bound to happen. I forgot where I read it (forums or MSKB), there is a simple solution. Changing your password while Outlook is running online mode resolves the issue on my experience.
 
1. Open the Outlook and type the username/password if asks.
2. Click Control-Alt-Delete key on your keyboard. Click on "Change Password"
3. Type your new password.
4. From next time Outlook will not challenge you for authentication.
 
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Script Elevation PowerToys for Windows Vista


I was writing a script which runs a program on Vista machine. It required administrative privileges, so the UAC pop-ups came up whenever I runs the script. I knew Microsoft should have some kind of mechanism to run the script in elevation mode. It turns out to be June 2007 Technet magazine has "Utility Spotlight" article published with the Vista Script Elevation Powertoy. It’s works for me.  

Here the link to the article:

Script Elevation PowerToys for Windows Vista

Here the download for the Script Elevation Powertoy:

Utility2007_06.exe

How to add Primary DNS Suffix, Connection specific DNS Suffix and DNS Search Suffix list to all computers using a Script?


While back, we migrated computer and user accounts to new Active Directory Domain. We wanted all the client computers set the correct Primary DNS suffix, Connection specific DNS suffix and DNS search suffix list. I decided to write a little VBScript that can be added to our current logon script, so whenever user logs in their computer gets the correct DNS suffix values.

I wrote the script to check the current DNS suffix values and change them if not correct. Note: You need to provide correct values for sDNSPrimarySuffix and SDNSSuffixSearchList variables.

Here is the script:

‘******************************************************************************************
‘* This script will add primary DNS suffix and "Connection Specfic DNS suffix search list
‘* into local computer. Change the sDNSPrimarySuffix and sDNSSuffixSearchList strings
‘* to appropriate values
‘*
‘* Author: Anand Venkatachalapathy
‘* Written Date: October 4th 2007
‘******************************************************************************************

Set WshShell = WScript.CreateObject("WScript.Shell")


‘Set Primary DNS Suffix and Search list for domain clients

sDNSPrimarySuffix = "company.com"
sDNSSuffixSearchList = "company.com,corp.company.com,marketing.company.com,europe.company.com"
sDomain = WshShell.RegRead ("HKLMSYSTEMCurrentControlSetServicesTcpipParametersDomain")

If StrComp(lcase(sDomain),lcase(sDNSPrimarySuffix)) <> 0 Then

    ‘Change the Primary DNS Suffix name
    WshShell.RegWrite "HKLMSYSTEMCurrentControlSetServicesTcpipParametersDomain", sDNSPrimarySuffix, "REG_SZ"
    WshShell.RegWrite "HKLMSYSTEMCurrentControlSetServicesTcpipParametersNV Domain", sDNSPrimarySuffix, "REG_SZ"
    WshShell.RegWrite "HKLMSYSTEMCurrentControlSetServicesTcpipParametersSyncDomainWithMembership", 1, "REG_DWORD"

    ‘Change the DNS Suffix Search List
    WSHShell.RegWrite "HKLMSystemCurrentControlSetServicesTCPIPParametersSearchList", sDNSSuffixSearchList, "REG_SZ"
Else
    WScript.Echo "This computer is already set to current DNS Primary Suffix: "  & sDomain
End If

‘End of DNS Suffix Script

‘*******************************************************************************************

WMI Filters in Group Policy (especially for Vista machines)


I had to do a Group Policy modeling for new Wireless settings (uses Certificates and PEAP) for Windows XP and Vista based machines. Obviously Vista OS have to have  a different Wireless Group Policy. I decided to use WMI filters  to filter out Vista machines and started digging. The following are the links where I found some information:

HOWTO: Leverage Group Policies with WMI Filters

Applying WMI Filters

Filtering out Windows XP machines is easy. The following WMI query is a easy answer.

Select * from Win32_OperatingSystem where Caption = "Microsoft Windows XP Professional"

Well what about Windows Vista machines. Oh! Only Troubles!!! For Vista machines, the Caption is stored as "Microsoft Windows Vista® Business" for Business edition. Applying the same WMI query as above doesn’t work.

Select * from Win32_OperatingSystem where Caption = "Microsoft Windows Vista® Business"

I would do this. Apply Vista Group Policy to all NON-XP machines. Yeah! that might work. After little reading, that will not work. Because Windows 2000 machines are not checked with WMI filter. I certainly don’t want my Vista policy to be applied in Windows 2000 machine.

Then I decided to go with OS version number, it didn’t quite work out as I expected. OS version number changes if we apply  a new service pack. That’s not a good idea. But somehow I know I can tweak the query to check only the high version number (e.g, 6 for Vista, 6.0.5724 is the full version number)

Then I found this blog:

How to detect Vista and Longhorn with WMI Filters

So my WMI query for Vista machines are (as it is from the above link),

SELECT Version, ProductType FROM Win32_OperatingSystem WHERE Version >= ‘6’

Voila! It worked. So I created, tested and applied the Wireless GPO for Vista machines in production.

My ONLY fear is Microsoft doesn’t change things in next service pack that affects my current WMI query.

How to book recurring meetings with a resource and Huge group of people?


A user came to me for advice, asking "What’s the best way to book recurring meetings with high number of attendees?" Her problem is first make sure the conference room is available for all the occurrences and rest of the attendees on the same time. It’s really tough job.  Her major problem was some occurrence in a conference room was not available, so the whole meeting request was rejected by the "Auto Accept Agent" from our Exchange server.

Now I have to give her some advice and I did. Before I go on for the advice, I wish Microsoft provides the following feature in Outlook (may be in future). I will check Microsoft Office site to see I can ask for this feature.

From the Meeting Request Window in Outlook, There must be a option to check all the occurrences are  available or not for selected attendee or conference room.

Now the some advices on booking recurring meetings:

– Do NOT ever book "No End Date" meetings, See the referenced picture below

image

– Use Auto-Pick feature (in Scheduling tab). Many users don’t even try this. I would say give it a try.

– Open the conference room calendar in Outlook (File–>Open Other Users Calendar..). Change the view to "Monthly". Check your meeting occurrences manually.

– I saw an admin who books the conference room first. After she gets the confirmation from the conference room (Accepted by Auto Accept Agent in Exchange servers), she invites all other attendees.

– You may add two or three conference rooms into the same meeting request and check the availability at same time. Of course, you have to remove other conference rooms except the "One" from the meeting request later.

Exchange RPC/HTTP aka Outlook Anywhere Troubleshooting


Outlook Anywhere (RPC/HTTP in Exchange 2003) is very useful and secured feature in Exchange. It requires careful planning and understanding. Outlook 2003/2007 may have trouble connecting with Exchange server via RPC/HTTP for many reasons.

I am assuming you already have the infrastructure ready. Let first understand what’s the Outlook setup looks like and what it means.

image

On fast networks: connect using HTTP first, then connect using TCP/IP

If Outlook detects a fast connection, that is >128,
        Try the FIRST attempt using TCP/IP (usual RPC session) to Exchange Mailbox server
        Then fail over to HTTP (RPC over HTTP) to the RPC Proxy server on further attempts

The fast connection by default is >128, set at the Network Card configuration. I am not sure how to change this value. I am sure it can be changed in Registry.

On slow networks, connect using HTTP first, then connect using TCP/IP

If Outlook detects a slow connection, that is <=128,
         Try the first attempt using HTTP to the RPC proxy server
         Then fail over to TCP/IP to Exchange mailbox server on further attempts

Now the troubleshooting the issues.

Outlook is not connecting to the Exchange server. (Connection Errors, "Disconnected" status)

Outlook Anywhere (RPC/HTTP) requires reliable Internet connectivity. If the computer has spotty wireless connection or busy Internet connection, Outlook will not connect. 

Solution: Make sure you have good wireless reception and check you can browse Internet. Try your Outlook Web Access in your browser. Are using "Use automatic configuration script" setting in Control Panel –> Internet Options –> Connections –> LAN Settings? You need uncheck this when you are out of office. Outlook caches proxy setting which causes when you are using Outlook from Home, Hotel, etc.,

Outlook may switched to TCP/IP connection mode and trying to connect to the Exchange server using RPC connection. (Pop ups "Outlook is trying to connect…")

To find this issue, Press and Hold Control button on your Keyboard, click on Outlook Icon on Notification area in your task bar, select "Connection Status". The connection column will show HTTPS (for HTTP connection) or TCP.

This is probably the HTTPS URL is not reachable for some reason. So Outlook tried HTTP on first attempt (setting: On slow networks, connect using HTTP first, then connect using TCP/IP), failed over to TCP/IP connection.

Solution: On Outlook Window, Click File –> Work Offline.  Your Outlook goes into Offline mode. Click File –> Work Office again to turn off the Offline mode. See your Outlook connects to the Exchange or not.  Rebooting your laptop works most of the time.

Laptop wakes up from sleep mode at Home or Hotel and Outlook is not connecting to Exchange server (Pop ups "Outlook is trying to connect…" and goes to Disconnected mode)

Solution: If you are sure your Internet connection fine and you can get to Outlook Web Access page using the same HTTPS URL, try closing the Outlook and reopen it.

If closing and opening Outlook doesn’t work, ONLY solution is reboot your laptop. It works most of the time. I believe some RPC connection/session is hung when you were working at Office and it won’t go away till your reboot. (Log off/Log back in does not clear hung RPC sessions)

Outlook goes into Disconnected Mode after being connected (Pop ups for few minutes and goes into Disconnected mode continuously)

This is tricky. Outlook connected via RPC/HTTP and gets some updates (new mails, read mail count, etc.,), then suddenly Outlook pop ups appear (Outlook is trying to connect to Exchange server..). Outlook goes into disconnected mode and tries to connect again. After a while,  Outlook is on Disconnected mode permanently for a while.

Solution: There is a "Back Off" algorithm in Outlook which stops connecting to Exchange server after frequent attempts for 5 minutes. Outlook will start trying connect to Exchange again in 15 minutes.  You can’t wait 15 minutes, Huh! 🙂  Try this,

Outlook: File –> Connect to Exchange

OR

Go to Outlook Offline mode (File –> Work Offline) and switch to Online mode (File –> Work Offline).

Laptop is restored from Backup after corruption, Outlook never connects to Exchange while user can see the mailbox in OWA

Check the following registry keys, set it if it is not looks like below,

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftRpcClientProtocols]
"ncacn_np"="rpcrt4.dll"
"ncacn_ip_tcp"="rpcrt4.dll"
"ncadg_ip_udp"="rpcrt4.dll"
"ncacn_http"="rpcrt4.dll"

While in RPC/HTTP connection, Outlook Address book search fails but works in second or third attempts

For some reason, Outlook doesn’t have a good connection to the Exchange servers.

Solution: Wait for few minutes see the problem goes away (temporary connectivity issues, Exchange server is too busy, etc.,). Try closing your Outlook, wait for minute and reopen the Outlook.

If nothing else works, call your IT guys. Before you start bugging the IT guys, I would recommend to call your co-workers to see their Outlook is working in HTTP mode or not.  😉