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Can you automate adding public calendars to outlook favorites?

Posted on 2006-07-05
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Last Modified: 2011-10-31
Hello,
    I touch and go on about 6 different exchange servers I've installed in the past 2 years for organizations ranging from 22-90 end users. On the smaller organizations it's no problem to manually add the new public folder to favorites in order for it to show under calendars, but on the larger ones it's not really possible to do it all manually in one day due to time constraints and scheduling differences. I end up emailing instructions to the larger oganizations but there's always a confused end user, a stubborn employee, or worse yet the occassional stubborn department within an organization that decides to ignore the email altogether for whatever reason.
    I'd like to be able to force additions of public folders to outlook favorites. Specifically calendars but I wouldn't mind being able to do the public tasks or public contacts either. If anyone knows of a way to force add them through a script or otherwise I'd appreciate it, and if possible, is there a way to delete them as well?

Thanks in advance,
Derrick Foster
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Question by:Dfoster05
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by:Sembee
ID: 17043965
I wish there was.
I have been looking for a method for quite some time and have been unlucky. This is to set a public folder as a contact list - but it is very similar task.

As Microsoft are trying to kill off public folders, I don't hold up much hope for the feature being added. With the new version of Exchange, unless you choose the right option during setup public folders aren't even created.

Simon.
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Author Comment

by:Dfoster05
ID: 17044368
Simon,
I didn't know they were going to kill off public folders, I need to read up a little methinks. So, after I read your posts I got curious, downloaded regmon from sysinternals, and started adding and removing public calendars, then after following a bunch of wild goose chases... <vent> like the fact that when you add/remove a public calendar from favorites the registry tries to access outlook.fav... which seemingly only existed for outlook 2000 back in windows 98 days... also, Microsoft could do a little to clean up code, everytime I move my mouse in outlook there are about 40 scrolling access requests in regmon with the result "key not found" and three that actually do the work, this happens all the time! </vent> but anyhow, I gave up and began digging through my profile under documents and settings.

Lo and behold, 4 minutes later I found %systemdrive%:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\Outlook.xml and began looking through it in notepad. I found the calendars down toward the bottom and played with an entry that looks like this:

<wdLnk>
<ltype>normal</ltype>
<reckey>EF0000001A447390AA6611CD9BC800AA002FC45A02807E9900A68C9270429EB73BE408455BE50000000833CD0000</reckey>
<eid>EF0000001A447390AA6611CD9BC800AA002FC45A02807E9900A68C9270429EB73BE408455BE50000000833CD0000</eid>
<pf-favorite>1</pf-favorite>
<name>IT Outsource Schedule</name>
<storeid>2</storeid>
</wdLnk>

I closed outlook, removed this entry from outlook.xml, and saved the file. I reopened outlook and it was not in my calender views as an "other calendar." I closed outlook, added it back, reopened outlook, and there it was!

Now I don't exactly know what the heck reckey or eid is but I think it's save to say I can use a computer within the organization I'm working with to create the entry into this file by adding it manually, and then... well, now I've just got to figure out the best way to append this line of text to the xml file. I'm going to look through the xml file and see if there's and user specific stuff or if I can make different xml files for different departments within an organization and have static views setup.

Knowing this, if anyone has any comments and suggestions I'd appreciate hearing them. I'm going to mess with this on my own time later on but it's a start for now. Even if MS does away with public folders I know I'll probably still need to do this for awhile to come, plus the other techs I work with are itching to know too.

More later, thanks!
Derrick Foster
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Accepted Solution

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Sembee earned 500 total points
ID: 17044400
The EID is probably the folders unique identifier in hex or something like that. If you were to create a new public folder with the same name, the EID would change.

The fun will come in getting that in to the XML file without disrupting the user's own favourites. You need a way of putting it in to the file - not replacing the file.

That is closer than I have got at any rate.

Simon.
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Author Comment

by:Dfoster05
ID: 17278739
Simon, thanks for the help you did give. I'm closing this out for now, I haven't had a spare moment with everything else going on to look at this but if and when I do I'll update this question with what I find. I talked to our programmer at work about it and he said he knows it's possible to build a program that will search an xlm file for certain lines and insert, manage those entries, but it'd be a matter of building it from scratch as there's nothing really that does that now, without doing more than that for specific tasks. He happens to be my manager too, and with the summer, we've been swamped with overtime gettings projects done, so maybe in a few months I'll come back to this and get a handle on it, hopefully before windows live comes out and everyone upgrades to it, ha!

Thanks for all the help
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Expert Comment

by:OTSSolutions
ID: 37060361
Hello Dfoster05,

Did you able to find the solutions of your issue. I am also wanted to add public folder calender to mail favorite folder for a large organisation.  And the owner does not wanted to train his employee to do this manually.  Provide me also a solution on this if you did it.
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