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Exchange 2003 pop/smtp email duplicates

Posted on 2004-11-08
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I just setup 1 exchange 2003 server for our business.  Internal email works fine for users in our office, however for staff who live interstate and never come to our office, I have setup pop/smtp for all reps to download emails to a local copy of a pst file in outlook 2003 on there laptops.  This seems to be working with mixed results.  Some reps its works fine, other reps keep getting duplicates of the same emails over and over and over again.  I have changed timeout settings to 10mins and also checked that there is no "Leave a copy of this message" on the server as well on the reps local outlook installations.

I am sure it has something to do with accessing email via pop/smtp but I have no idea how to fix this.  Can someone please help me with this problem.

Also is this the best way to have email setup for remote users?  Reps MUST have emails downloaded to a local pst file on there laptops, so that rules out webmail......and our bandwidth is not big enough to have multiple VPN sessions.  Ive heard good things about HTTP over RTC but I have no idea how this works or how it is setup?  Is this worth persuing or what other options do I have?

Notes:  All reps have laptops running Windows XP Professional with SP2 installed.  Also all reps have Office 2003 (outlook 2003)with sp1 installed.

Cheers

Matt
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Question by:MysticX
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rhettlee earned 800 total points
ID: 12530680
Well for your problem maybe their outlook clients are just configured to "send and receive" with close intervals. If you look at the "send and receive" settings just increase the time you need to automatically send and receive.

Other ways to access their emails are via VPN.. the limitation is that if the ISP of a mobile user is blocking vpn traffic then thats a problem.

But for me the best ways is rpc over HTTP try the link below it will give you basically what you need to set it up:

http://www.amset.info/exchange/default.asp 

that's from sir sembee one of the experts here at this forum.
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by:Sembee
Sembee earned 1200 total points
ID: 12534636
I will also support that RPC/HTTPS is the ideal solution in this environment. The only additional investment you have to make is in an SSL certificate for the Exchange server which will also give you SSL support for OWA.

You could also look at something like the XKEY. This is an Exchange client on a USB memory stick. It uses the OWA interface, but also comes with an offline mode. Everything is contained on the stick, which means that you can use any machine that meets the minimum requirements.

As for your duplications, what do you have between the Exchange server and the Internet? A firewall? Anything else that could be inspecting the SMTP or POP3 traffic (AV, Antispam etc). What may be happening is that the delete tag isn't being written to the messages on the server by Outlook and thus the messages don't get deleted.

Simon.
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by:MysticX
ID: 12538208
Thanks for the posts guys, but I still dont appear any closer to solving the duplication problem.

I use Trend Micro Scanmail version 6 for Exchange 2003 which scans all incoming emails and removes viruses and infected attachments etc.  Also the exchange server is behind a netcomm ADSL Modem/Firewall/Router.

At present we have a 512/128 internet connection but I am looking to have this upgraded to 1.5mbit/256 within the next few weeks.  All our reps interstate have dialup.

rhettlee: When you mentioned the settings of the send/receive, are you just talking about going into the mail account in outlook 2003, going to properties on the exchange setup, going to MORE settings then going to the ADVANCED tab and changing the server timeout from short (1 minute) to long (10minutes)?  Or is there another setting you are referring me too?  Because if its this setting I have already done this.

Sembee: Do you have to buy an SSL certificate for RPC/HTTPS?  Or is this just recommended for security but really not essential?  Do you think using RPC/HTTPS would eliminate these email duplications that are occuring?
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by:Sembee
ID: 12539009
I would purchase an SSL certificate. It makes life so much easier and is much more professional than using your own. You MUST use SSL to use RCP/HTTPS - while it can be done over HTTP it has no security.
SSL certificates are very cheap, take a look at FreeSSL.com - I have implemented loads of those with no problems.

RPC/HTTPS will elimate the duplicates by eliminating POP3/SMTP send and receive. Once the intitial setup has been done it runs fine over dial up lines - it is basically offline folders with an alternative way of collecting the email that doesn't require a VPN.

Simon.
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by:MysticX
ID: 12539428
Thanks Sembee, I just had a look at that site, do you think for the setup I have described that the StarterSSL is ok to use?  Basically we have one office, 3 servers (1 exchange server, 1 domain and one ERP/CRM server), and we have about 25pcs in our office and about 10 roaming users Australia wide.

I think maybe the problems I am having are due to the pop/smtp setup.....so this RPC over HTTPS is looking more and more attractive.  Rather than try to fix this problem, it may be better to go to a different method of email.

So users can still use a local pst file to download all there email to?  Im guessing this is what you meant by an offline alternative.

Finally, I have no idea about how to setup RPC/HTTPS, do you have any good tutes or guides that go step by step on what is required, specifically if purchasing a SSL certificate from FreeSSL.com.
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by:Sembee
ID: 12539639
Starter SSL will be fine. I would get one of their trial certificates to start with - once you are confident that everything is working correctly, then you can purchase the real certificate.
Go and take a look at my web site linked to above by "rhettlee". I have outlined the full setup process there, including how to setup the client, the server and diagnose. It is quite simple, but if you get stuck, search on this site. I have answered loads of questions about the technology, or just ask a new question.

Simon.
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by:rhettlee
ID: 12540229
MysticX: What I mean't was in outlook 2003 when you click tools, send and receive, send and receive settings, and define send receive groups... there's an option there to define the interval of the automatic send/receive settings....

Also try also checking if your reps has more than one email account configured on their outlook.. what i mean is let say on exchange a rep has two SMTP address but one mailbox when you configure their client to access emails from both SMTP address they would still access the same mailbox... thus getting duplicate mails... due to my lack of knowledge in exchange it happened to me once...

But rpc over http is still the best one....
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by:MysticX
ID: 12542679
I think I am going to follow your advice and give rpc over http a go.  I will check it out tomorrow if I have time.

But before I do, how does the SSL certs work for webmail?  So just say one of our reps is overseas and want to access webmail, do they need to install the certificate for it to work or can webmail still be accessed anywhere?

Lastly, if I enable rpc over http to test it out, will this in any way/shape of form mess up the existing pop settings/accounts?
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by:Sembee
ID: 12546584
The whole point of using a purchased certificate is the fact that you don't have to install it. The certificates are just like the ones you get when you connect to your bank, Amazon etc. Therefore the remote staff can use it from anywhere.

Configuring RPC/HTTPS will not do anything to change your existing setup. It will continue to work in the same was as now.

Simon.
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by:MysticX
ID: 12549659
Excellent!  I am still in the midst of doing a huge upgrade for our whole office, once I finish rolling out the remaining desktops I am going to try what you have suggested.  Thank you for all your help Sembee and also rhettlee.  Hopefully everything goes well, if not I will come back to bug you ;)

Cheers

Matt
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by:MysticX
ID: 12551683
Sembee will RPC/HTTPS work on the lan and also at home?  For example for reps who come to our office and hook up to our lan, and then go home to check email on dialup accounts.....will it work with both settings?

At present, when reps come into the office I have an outlook profile called 'office' which connects directly to our exchange server.  When they go home and use dialup, I have another outlook profile called 'home' which uses the pop/smtp delivery method.

Basically both these profiles have email delivered to a local pst file.....both profiles point to the same pst file so at all times both profiles are identicle.

So if I do the setup you have described, will I still need 2 different outlook profiles or will the one profile work both on our lan and also on a dialup account at home?

Thanks again for all your help ;)
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by:Sembee
ID: 12554603
One profile will do everything. The users will not even notice a change.
What you will have to do is run a SPLIT DNS environment so that the same name works in both locations. When on LAN the name (mail.domain.com or whatever) resolves to the internal IP address of the server, and when external it resolves to a public IP address.

http://www.amset.info/netadmin/split-dns.asp

Simon.
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