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Apple Mail having trouble communicating with Exchange Server 2003

I have a Windows 2000 SP4 server that is running Exchange 2003.  I have approx. 25 Windows Clients that are having NO trouble accessing and processing mail from their Exchange Mailboxes.  Conversely, I have 8 Mac's that are configured to use Apple Mail to open their mailboxes on the Exchange server.

I have had little to no trouble connecting to the mailboxes via Apple Mail, and for the most part, the users can access and negotiate their mail without disruption.  However, I have a reoccurring problem that pops up every few days that prevents the users from accessing thier mail in a resonable amount of time.  The Apple Mail client will read several different messages such as "fetching mail", "comparing notes with the server", and will often times show their status as "offline".  

The Mac clients also experience an extended period of time where the Apple Mail is "synchronizing mail with the server", which prevents them from opening, deleting, or moving any of thier mail in their mailboxes.  Often this "synchronization" period can last up to 1 hour.  

I am a Windows guy, and I have some very digruntled Mac users on my hands.  I know that I am close, but nevertheless, they are growing increasingly frustrated (and rightfully so).  I am trying to avoid having to go to a situation where they are "popping" the Exchange server, because I would like for their mail to be backed up on the file server.  Please HELP!

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nsdhouston
Asked:
nsdhouston
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1 Solution
 
weedCommented:
In the Mailboxes slide-out panel, are there any funny little icons to the right of their mailbox names? Like a lightning bolt in a circle?

The synchronizing problem may be because of their settings. Like it's storing large files on the server and having to fetch them every time, etc.
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nsdhoustonAuthor Commented:
Resolution?  I am like a duck out of water when I get on a Mac system.  I need some directives here on what to do.
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weedCommented:
I asked some question, you need to provide some follow up answers.
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nsdhoustonAuthor Commented:
Yes, there is an icon tht looks like a circle with a lightning bolt.  What settings need to be altered?
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weedCommented:
The lightning bolt means the account is operating in "offline mode". Is the lightning bolt always there, or just sometimes?
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nsdhoustonAuthor Commented:
Sometimes.  Often it will show the mailboxes with a status of "offline" from the client's apple mail application.  Do you have any ideas as to why I am having this trouble connecting?
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weedCommented:
A mailbox will set itself to "offline" if it goes through a period where it cant reach the server. Are you using DHCP? Does the problem persist if you use the IP addresses of the mail server in the account settings? In the Account Settings do you have it set to synchronize changed mailboxes automatically?
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nsdhoustonAuthor Commented:
The macs are using DHCP.  The IP address (local) of the mail server is in the account settings.  I have also gone around and removed the synchronization feature in the settings as well.  Is the issue a result of the IP addresses being handed out via DHCP?  I assume that it is also worth mentioning that the macs are not on the Domain.  

Sould I look at having them use OWA exclusively?  Or should they Pop the account?

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weedCommented:
If they have the option to POP it, go ahead. It COULD be an issue with DHCP addresses. Somehow they, or the dhcp server isn't properly renewing the addresses, and when trying to access mail, theyre timing out. That could explain the long waits for mail as well. Something to think about. Try giving them all static addresses and see if that clears it up.
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