Mac Mail nightmare with Exchange Server - Please Help!

jiggamoose used Ask the Experts™
Mostly PC's in our office but we have about 4 Mac's.  We run SBS 2003 with Exchange Server.

Our Mac Users are using OS X 10.4.7 - Mail version 2.1

I have Exchange enabled with IMAP access.

Apple Mail works but it is often painfully slow - taking forever to show messages, or frequent connection timeouts, or goes offline

I really have no idea what else to do to solve the problem - I have gotten the users to reduce the size of their mailbox, I have entered in the server's IP address instead of full name etc etc.

The users would prefer to use Apple Mail - they are not interested in using entourage or OWA.  

Has anyone else experienced these issues and if so, would you have any suggestions for improving the performance of Apple Mail?

Any help would be appreciated!


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Do you have all the latest patches installed for your SBS server and Exchange server? There is another recent post here in which the Mac connectivity problems were solved by updating the Exchange server.



Everything is fully patched and up to date.

Unfortunately I don't think that appears to be the problem.

Thanks though

There are also some suggestions here:

Among the suggestions there (quoting from MacFixit):

Deleting cache and .plist file Deleting the following folder:

    * ~/Library/Mail/Caches/Mail

and this file:

    * ~/Library/Preferences/

may provide faster performance in some cases.

Turning off SSL Turning off the Secure Socket Layer (SSL) option in's preferences (Click "Server Settings..." for the desired account) appears to resolve performance issues with IMAP servers in some cases. Note, however, that this will disable access to some servers that require this option to be turned on.

MacFixIt reader Chris Janton, for instance, writes:

"When connecting to the IMAP server using SSL on port 993 all sorts of odd behavior - slow, not completely quitting, etc.

"If you turn off secure mail (back to port 143) the bad behavior seems to go away, at least I haven't observed the odd behavior."
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I'll try those suggestions and let you know how it goes.

thanks for the help.

I went through the same thing.  However, I have a PC and a Mac sitting side-by-side.  I prefer Mail but end up using Outlook because I am on the PC way more.  The reason that Mail is taking so long is probably because Spotlight is indexing the mail store on the Exchange server.  Open the Spotlight preferences in your System Preferences panel and uncheck Mail.  See if your speed issues don't resolve after a restart.

Of course, Spotlight is one of the reasons that Mail is so usefull for me. So, I leave it on.  I know that the Apple literature and even the account setup wizard shows a connection method for Exchange, I've never been able to get it to work.  I've only been able to get IMAP to work.


Hi Manic,

I'll try the spotlight thing, never thought about that.

The connection to the exchange server IS via Imap.  That's the only way to do it, as far as I know.
You might be able to connect with OWA. That works quite well with Entourage.


OWA is no problem.  Works fine.  The users however would MUCH prefer to use the Native Mail program unfortunately.

From a quick Google search, it appears that does not have the facility to connect to the OWA server, although Entourage does. I use Entourage at home to connect to our Exchange server via OWA and it works fine. (I don't like using OWA through a web browser either). If your users have Office 2004 on their Macs, they might try using Entourage for their mail.
I thought Entourage was bot an option as stated in your question.


It's not obviously my first option or 2nd option - but if I can't get a reliable solution to fix the problem - I can't go on forever with these performance issues.

Strung was helpful and deserved the points.


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