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imported contacts disappear from GAL

I am supporting the headquarters office of a large  company that owns several well-known companies.  The new CTO has asked us to integrate the GAL of each of the operating companies into the GAL at the headquarters.  I've suggested contacts folders and public folders, they will not be accepted as solutions, he wants what he wants and failing to give it to him will just result in unemployment.  So, now that you have the background, here's the problem.

I export the GAL from one of the remote sites and import it using CSVDE (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/327620), but though the imported objects show up in AD they are not appearing in the GAL.  Immediately after I do the import everything is cool, but within about two minutes they vanish!  This does not happen in my test environment, and I'm not finding any information on anyone having asked about it here before....Does anyone have any suggestions as to what the hell I am doing wrong here?  The "Hide from address list" box is definately NOT checked.

Thank You.
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chris_certified-nets
Asked:
chris_certified-nets
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1 Solution
 
SembeeCommented:
When you say that they vanish, have they gone from the active directory, or just cannot be seen in the GAL?

Simon.
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chris_certified-netsAuthor Commented:
Gone from the GAL, still present in Exchange.
My bad, I should have included that detail.
When they disappear from the GAL I can go back to AD, rightclick on the contact object remove exchange attributes, re-add exchange attributes and they come back, for a while.  End of last week it was almost exactly one minute for them to vanish, today they're hanging out longer.......
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SembeeCommented:
The short time between working and then failing leads me to look at things that might refresh - domain, recipient policy etc.

As a test, try creating two contacts manually - one with an email address in one of the other sites and one with an external email address (Yahoo, Hotmail etc).
What happens then?

If nothing to either, then you have to look at the method of creating the contacts.
If something happens to both, then it is likely to be something odd with the domain.
If something happens to just the one (the one with an email address in the other site), then I would start looking for any kind of settings made in an attempt to do something similar before.

It isn't unusual when faced with this sort of problem to find traces of previous attempts to "fix" the issue. It could be one of those that is causing the issue.

Simon.
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kristinawCommented:
*when they 'disappear' from the GAL, if you check their properties in AD, do they still have an smtp address present?
*are you checking their properties from the same client?
*is the client in cached mode?
*once you check the gal and notice they are missing, can you try checking the gal in OWA and see if you can see the items?
*if you go into the esm on one of the exchange servers after this occurs, under recipients click all global address lists, right click default global address list and select properties, click preview, do you see the contacts there?

kris.
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chris_certified-netsAuthor Commented:
Contacts created manually seem to be fine, in fact we have quite a few of them, both in the remote company domains and other external domains (for pagers, blackberries, etc.)

The oniste guy exported some of the existing contacts to look at the difference in the .CSV files and found a field 'ShowInAddressBook' that was not in the one coming from the remote site's AD.  Without that field, the imported contacts don't show up in the GAL at all, with it they stay a minute or so.  Apparently, contacts added without the 'ShowInAddressBook' show up and stay if they are manually added to the GAL (Rightclick, exchange task wizard, establish an email address), but there are several thousand and this does not appear to work in batch mode - if I select more than one contact the only "excahnge task wizard" choices I get are the removal choices, even though none of the contacts have been added yet.
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chris_certified-netsAuthor Commented:
Kris:
Yes
Yes, same three.
No
I'll try that, I've not been testing with OWA
I'll try that too.
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chris_certified-netsAuthor Commented:
update for clarity:
1. I import the .CSV file WITHOUT the 'ShowInAddressBook' attribute, contacts appear in AD but not the GAL.
2. I import the .CSV file WITH the 'ShowInAddressBook' attribute, contacts appear in AD and GAL but vanish from GAL after a very short time.
3. Rightclicking and manually setting Exchange attributes is permanent, however contacts were imported (but unacceptable due to large number of addresses to be imported, unless someone smarter than me knows a batch way to do this?).
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kristinawCommented:
chris,

you shouldn't need to modify the showinaddressbook value yourself. i've created contacts via script numerous times in my lab, and the main attributes that are needed for a contact to work properly are proxyAddress and targetAddress and mailnickname. the showinaddressbook value should get updated after the RUS has run against the newly created/imported object.

see the following near the bottom:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/296479

and here:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/253828/

kris.
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kristinawCommented:
so, it sounds like the RUS is not stamping these objects for some reason?
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chris_certified-netsAuthor Commented:
Ms. K...
So I am importing the file, everyting is being created, then the RUS is buggering me up?  I hadn't thought of that, I was hung up looking at AD rather than Exchange as the source of the problem....  How would you suggest I proceed?  Disable the RUS Permanently?  That would add some significant manual adminstration down the line, wouldn't it?
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kristinawCommented:
NO, you don't want to disable the RUS! the problem looks to be that the RUS isn't hitting these objects. it sounds like the RUS is stamping new objects fine, which would indicate nothing is wrong with the RUS, there's just something peculiar with these objects that causing them not to get picked up by the filter.

When you are creating these contacts, are the 3 attributes I mentioned above, proxyaddress, mailnickname and targetaddress getting populated? if one of those is missing i think it could cause this problem.

Kris.
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chris_certified-netsAuthor Commented:
I am glad you said that, I really didn't want to have to turn anything off...
we are experimenting this morning with those three fields.  They do not appear to be in the export file from the remote domain, so we're populating a small test file manually.  I'll let you know.

Thank You!
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kristinawCommented:
chris,

any results yet? just curious to know the outcome.

thanks,
kris.
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chris_certified-netsAuthor Commented:
testing got reprioritized (it's a Dilbert World...), hope to be testing again this afternoon.  I'll let you know (and I won't abandon the question)...
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chris_certified-netsAuthor Commented:
Kris
You are a goddess.  If you ever come to StLouis, I owe you beer.
The export file didn't have those three fields, when we created them the desired result was obtained.
Thank You Thank You Thank You.
Chris
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kristinawCommented:
Chris,

Watch out, I might take you up on that! (I like beer :)

I suspected that would fix it. Have a good one,

Kris.
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chris_certified-netsAuthor Commented:
We have lots of beer here.
And we have Budweiser products too, if you prefer.
:-)
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