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Optimizing the OWA experience

Improve OWA performance and protect users with custom configurations, some simple HTML code and an EMS command.

Using Outlook Web Access is a great option for Exchange organizations whose users are continually on the move. However, OWA performance may not always be optimal and security can be a concern.

This tutorial details a custom configuration that will improve users' OWA sessions. You'll also learn the risks in allowing direct file access and how to prevent spam.


- When OWA's default configurations aren't good enough
OWA runs fairly well using its default configurations in Exchange. But it could run better. Determining which  virtual directory users should use and simplifying your OWA URL are two ways to improve performance.

- Custom error message redirects OWA users
If users forget to include HTTPS:// in their OWA URL, they'll likely receive an error message. Set up a custom error message that redirects Outlook Web Access users to the appropriate site.

- Locking down direct file access 
Because remote workers can access OWA from different computers, allowing them to access files directly can be a security risk. Fortunately, but there are a couple different security measures you can take.

- Configuration tricks to boost OWA performance
Outlook Web Access 2007's default configurations work well for most users, but what about those who have slow Internet connections? You can modify Gzip compression levels and enable WebReady Document Viewing to enhance OWA performance for those users.

- Block Web beacons and protect OWA users
Web beacons confirm the validity of email addresses and notify you if spam makes it through a user's filter. Outlook blocks Web beacons by default, but OWA doesn't. Learn more about Web beacons and check out an Exchange Management Shell command you can use to filter them.

Brien Posey is a seven-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.

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