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Freeing up nonexistent resource scheduling conflicts in Exchange 5.5

How to fix nonexistent resource scheduling conflicts in Exchange 5.5.

Resources, like conference rooms, can be set to automatically accept requests for their time (as long as there are no conflicting appointments). When used in conjunction with the Event Service, under specific circumstances, the free/busy information can become corrupted and display incorrectly.

Usually this happens when a user attempts to open the conference room calendar by clicking Open on the File menu for Outlook, and then selecting Other User's Folder, instead of sending an appointment request normally. The AutoAccept script for resources publishes both the free and busy information for a resource; if it is accessed directly in this fashion, the free and busy information will be damaged.

To fix the problem, follow these steps.

  1. Log on to the affected conference room's mailbox directly, using the Windows system account associated with it. You must create a new Outlook profile to do this if you haven't already; also make sure Outlook is set up to prompt you for which profile to use when you launch it. (You can always remove the profile later.)
  2. Right-click the Calendar folder and select Properties.
  3. Under Permissions, in the Name list, select Default.
  4. In the Roles list, select None. Click OK.
  5. Under the Tools menu, select Options | Calendar Options | Free Busy Options.
  6. Set the account to publish free/busy information every 15 minutes. This is a decent enough interval of time that the room should still remain consistently updated and yet not fall out of sync.
  7. Log out of Outlook.
  8. From the Run box in the Start menu, type outlook /cleanfreebusy and click OK. This will launch Outlook and force the logged-on profile to clean its free/busy information, which may take some time.
  9. Log out again.

Note that repairing things in this manner purges the free/busy information from the room, so users will need to recreate their schedules. Make sure that they don't open the conference room calendar directly in the future.

Serdar Yegulalp is the editor of the Windows 2000 Power Users Newsletter. Check out his Windows 2000 blog at for his latest advice and musings on the world of Windows network administrators – please share your thoughts as well!

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