As someone who writes a tremendous number of articles about Exchange Server and Microsoft Outlook, I tend to receive lots of email from administrators looking for answers to common Exchange- and Outlook-related questions.
I receive a lot of duplicate inquiries, especially regarding Outlook, so I wanted to publish answers to several frequently asked questions.
Why do my users see a message indicating that Outlook is not connected to Exchange?
Brien Posey - There are several different factors that can cause this problem. Common causes include:
- The user’s computer could not contact a domain controller. Thus, the user was logged in using cached credentials;
- The mailbox database containing the user’s mailbox is not mounted;
- Either the clock on the Exchange Server or on the user’s computer has fallen out of sync from the rest of the domain. Clock sync problems cause Kerberos to malfunction, which lead to various other problems;
- The user’s computer is not correctly resolving the Exchange server’s name
The initial Outlook connection failure isn’t usually a big deal. Computers with slow network connections, or that have lots of processes configured to launch at Startup may initially fail to connect to Exchange, but will establish a connection a few minutes after Outlook opens.
Some users report that spell check is not working. What’s the problem?
Posey - The most common cause of this problem is that the user is accidentally composing a message in the signature area. Outlook is not configured to spell check the signature area by default.
Spell check may also fail if the computer has mismatched versions of Microsoft Word and Outlook installed. For example, installing Outlook XP and Word 2003 might lead to this problem.
Why are some Outlook users receiving duplicate email messages?
Posey - A couple different factors can lead to this problem. If Outlook is connected to Exchange Server, then the problem is likely related to a corrupt message in the user’s inbox. You can use the Exchange Queue Viewer to delete the offending message, but it doesn’t let you drill down to an individual mailbox. The Submission queue handles messages for all mailboxes.
Try using the Message Tracking tool to see what’s happening when the duplicate message is resent. This will yield clues to the source of the problem.
If you can’t narrow down the root of the problem using the Message Tracking tool and the Queue Viewer won’t let you delete a corrupt message, try deleting and recreating the user’s mailbox. When you move the user’s mail back into the newly created mailbox, make sure to not include a copy of the message that’s being continually resent.
If Outlook is connected to a POP3 server rather than an Exchange server, the problem is almost always related to an incorrect configuration setting. Outlook normally connects to a POP3 server, downloads existing messages, then removes the messages from the server. However, most POP3 servers have an option to leave a copy of messages on the server. If this setting is enabled, it can cause Outlook to download duplicate messages every time it connects.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Brien Posey is an eight-time Microsoft MVP with two decades of IT experience. Before becoming a freelance technical writer, Brien worked as a CIO for a national chain of hospitals and healthcare facilities. He has also served as a network administrator for some of the nation’s largest insurance companies and for the Department of Defense at Fort Knox.