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OWA and Microsoft Outlook Calendar inconsistencies

Calendar entries will not appear properly in Outlook Web Access if Outlook is configured to store its data to a .PST file instead of to the mailbox account.

Microsoft Outlook allows you to specify the location to which email data is stored -- in either your Exchange Server mailbox or a personal folder (.PST). However, Calendar entries will not appear properly in Outlook Web Access if Outlook is configured to store its data to a .PST file. Here, Microsoft MVP Brien Posey provides a solution to this Outlook Calendar problem.

Scenario

Imagine that you're on a business trip.

While away, you decide that you want to book a meeting with your staff for when you get back. You log into Outlook Web Access (OWA) and click on the Calendar option. As you begin searching for a good date and time for the meeting, you realize that appointments are missing from your Calendar.

On Monday morning, you go into the office and open Microsoft Outlook -- there are the appointments that were mysteriously absent when you logged on remotely through OWA.

Assessment

The problem I just described isn't related to a strange system glitch, but rather to how Microsoft Outlook stores data. Outlook allows you to specify the location to which new messages should be delivered. You can choose to have your email placed in your Exchange Server mailbox or a personal folder (.PST).

What you may not realize though is that when you choose the email delivery location, you are also choosing the default repository for other types of data, too -- such as Contacts, Tasks, and Calendar entries.

If you choose to have your Microsoft Outlook email delivered to a .PST file, your Exchange Server mailbox doesn't become null and void. It isn't Outlook's default data repository anymore. But it's still OWA's default repository. OWA is always configured to use your Exchange Server mailbox -- regardless of what Outlook is configured to do.

Solution

So let's go back to our original scenario in which Calendar entries were visible through Microsoft Outlook, but not through OWA.

In a situation like that, Outlook is probably configured to use a .PST file, while OWA is configured to use the Exchange Server mailbox. So when you log onto OWA, it won't be able to find your Calendar entries because they are stored in an inaccessible location.

The solution to this problem is to make sure that anyone in your office who uses OWA does not configure Microsoft Outlook to deliver new email to a personal folder.

The technique for doing so varies among versions of Outlook, but in Microsoft Outlook 2003, you would:

  1. Select Outlook Tools -> E-Mail Accounts. This will open the E-Mail Accounts Wizard.
  2. Select View or Change Existing E-mail Accounts and click Next.
  3. This new screen contains a dropdown list labeled Deliver New E-Mail to the Following Location. Make sure that this option is set to 'Mailbox – username,' not to a personal folder.

About the author: Brien M. Posey, MCSE, is a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional for his work with Windows 2000 Server and IIS. Brien has served as CIO for a nationwide chain of hospitals and was once in charge of IT security for Fort Knox. As a freelance technical writer he has written for Microsoft, TechTarget, CNET, ZDNet, MSD2D, Relevant Technologies and other technology companies. You can visit Brien's personal Web site at www.brienposey.com.

MEMBER FEEDBACK TO THIS TIP

Many of us deliberately configure a .PST file as the default store because we want our email local and we want to avoid the quotas on the Exchange Server. Additionally, there are many folks who run an Outlook profile that contains both an Exchange and POP account.

The problem is that we do want our default calendar to be the one that synchronizes with the Exchange server. How does one set that up? I suppose that if I set the default delivery location to be "Mailbox – user," then all of my POP accounts' email will also get dumped into the Exchange server.

If I do the latter, is there a workaround for keeping the POP email out of the Exchange Server inbox that doesn't include setting up rules and pushing email back and forth? Thanks.
—Kevin G.

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Sorry, I don't know of a workaround that accomplishes what you want to do.
—Brien Posey, tip author

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What if the issue is the other way around, i.e., the appointments appear in OWA but do not show up in Outlook? The user does not use .PST files. Even when I opened the account from my computer with a new profile, I still did not see the appointments in Outlook which show up in OWA.
—Rick M.

******************************************

I've done some digging and I can't seem to find anything on this problem. You might have to contact Microsoft's Product Support Service.
—Brien Posey, tip author

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Does this also affect ActiveSync calendar?
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