RPC over HTTPS- Outlook 2003 goes into Offline mode.

Posted on 2006-11-08
Last Modified: 2008-01-09

We've got a few remote sites connecting to our Exchange server (2003 SP2)
using RPC over HTTPS in Outlook 2003.

We've been noticing that some of the Outlook clients are slipping into offline mode-
probably a couple of times a day.  The clients are running with Cached Exchange mode

The problem's easy enough to fix i.e. we just right click on "Offline" then untick "work offline",
and it connects again straight away- but it would be great if we could prevent it from happening
in the first place.  

Question by:farfo
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LVL 39

Expert Comment

ID: 17904080
Hi farfo,

You can change the server timeout;

Control Panel > Mail > Show Profiles > Select Your Profile > Properties > Email Accounts > View or Change existing email accounts > Select MS Exchange Server > Change > More Settings > Change "Seconds until server connection timeout" to 90 seconds.

Of course, it would be far more prudent as to investigating WHY you are having dropouts in the connection, the above is just a band-aid

Hope that helps,


Expert Comment

ID: 17904096
This is normal behavoir.
It will time out, and you will be disconnected.


Author Comment

ID: 17904143
Thanks red and nitadmin.

Nitadmin- do you mean that even if there's no underlying problem, clients connecting using RPC over HTTPS
will timeout regardless?

I'm hoping this isn't the case, as it means that users will need to continually close / reopen clients
or hover over the status button to bring the client back online when it times out.

The maximum timeout you can set using red's approach is 999 seconds which is only about 17 minutes.  I'd like users to be able to open their clients once in the morning and leave it minimised all day.
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LVL 39

Accepted Solution

redseatechnologies earned 400 total points
ID: 17904183
>>even if there's no underlying problem, clients connecting using RPC over HTTPS
will timeout regardless?

That is incorrect.

It is losing connection due to a link issue between you and the exchange server - you could confirm this by bringing an affected machine in and watching it on the LAN, it will not disconnect.

Losing the link could be from lag (although 30seconds is a lot of LAG!), a fault at either end (probably the server end if it is all clients), or something obscure.

If you upped the maximum timeout to say 150 or 300 seconds, it should be enough for there to be a link issue and for it to recover.  I think that 17 is excessive, but you need to realise that this settings means it CAN LOSE CONNECTIVITY FOR UP TO 17 minutes before going offline - it doesn't mean it will stay online for 17 minutes then crash

You could, although I don't recommend it, change it from automatic to manual, and force it to be online (although this would be somewhat pointless)


Author Comment

ID: 17904248
Thanks Red.  

From what you've said I think it may be a bandwidth related issue.  
Unfortunately we don't have the biggest internet pipes available where I am so it may
be something we just have to put up with.

I think I'll increase the timeout to 150s to start with to try and get rid of what I feel are
"false positives" being reported by the client.  The sites affected don't experience internet
connection outages otherwise- so it may just be that RPC over HTTP is a bit touchy.
LVL 39

Expert Comment

ID: 17904260

>The sites affected don't experience internet connection outages otherwise- so it may just be that RPC over HTTP is a bit touchy

I think it is just that outlook is more noticeable, if the net drops out for 35 seconds, the odds of a user trying to access something at that time is relatively low (it is for mine anyway) and even if they are using it, if it starts working again within 30 seconds, they would generally write it off as a non-event.  They are probably not even registering it as a problem, let alone reporting it to you, especially if you have thin pipes already :)



Author Comment

ID: 17904268
Good point.  Thanks again.

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