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Outlook can't find the mail service provider

Posted on 2004-03-26
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Last Modified: 2013-11-30
I have two identical terminal servers. Both run w2k, and office 2k, patched to the same level; our exchange server is running w2k, Exchange 2000.

When users on one terminal server quit outlook having added/changed/deleted an item in their calendar, they get the message

    "Unable to update public free/busy data. Outlook can't find the mail service provider. To check your profile settings, double click the Mail icon in Windows control panel. Or, try to log on to your mail system again"

The appointment change is saved; there is no problem getting mail.

Now, the odd thing (apart from the unusual use of a comma in the last sentence of the error message) is that if these users connect to the other server, everything works fine. I've run outlook.exe /cleanfreebusy but am told "Unable to clean your free/busy information on the server." I've deleted the local cache of their profiles on the effected server, but that made no difference...

Any ideas?
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Question by:p_reah
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by:jamesreddy
ID: 10687713
Have you checked your DNS settings on the server that does not work?  Compare the DNS entries to the server that does.  I'm willing to bet that there is a missing entry in the DNS addresses.  
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by:p_reah
ID: 10687819
Well THAT was a quick response!

Sorry, that would have been useful info wouldn't it.
 I've already checked the DNS settings, and they approach the same servers in the same order. All the servers have the same entries. I've added an entry to hosts and lmhosts too (in despiration). I can ping and net use to my heart's content. It gives me the same error as the users, and I'm enterprise / domain / local admin, so I don't think it's a rights problem.
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by:jamesreddy
ID: 10687923
OK.  I didn;t catch the terminal services stuff first.  Have you checked the Terminal Services network settings on both servers and matched them to be identical?  TS is capable of assigning SEPERATE networking settings to TS clients than to regular clients.  Maybe the TS server that does not work has an incorrect DNS entry.
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jamesreddy earned 125 total points
ID: 10687949
What version of Outlook are you running?  I saw a note on Microsoft's site that indicates that error can be fixed on Outlook 2002 by installing Office Service Pack 3.
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by:p_reah
ID: 10688187
We are running Office 2000.

I ran the SP3 update, and it went through. After the reboot everything seems to be working fine.

I guess the answer to "So, have we patched both servers to the same level?" should have been "no" rather than "yes"

Thanks for the swift solution, I've only been working on this all day.
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by:jamesreddy
ID: 10689633
Glad it worked.  :)
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