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Free Busy "No Information" starting January 1, 2007

Posted on 2006-11-28
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Last Modified: 2008-02-07
OK, this one is weird.  We have had our Exchange 2003 server/organization setup for 2 years now.  We just started noticing that starting January 1, 2007, all user's Free Busy information is listed as No Information (//////).  I thought at first it was the default of only showing so many months ahead, but the default is 2, and it is less than 2 months from Jan. 1, 2007.  This is showing up for every single user so no one can plan ahead, which is gonna be big trouble as these last days go by this year.

The server is Exchange 2003 SP2.  Nothing has been updated on it for months now, and this was never a problem in the past.

I have already tried just the /CleanFreeBusy fix for Outlook, but that does not help.  It seems to be something in the server causing an issue.

This is a HIGH priority, so a lot of points given.  Please help!!  I cannot find anything.
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Question by:studrick
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Expert Comment

by:Stacy Spear
ID: 18030018
MS forcing you to upgrade to 2007! :)

Just kidding, but I have the same symptom, I can't see anyone's FB beyond Dec 31, also set to 2 months of FB. So maybe this isn't really a problem, just a quirk.
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Author Comment

by:studrick
ID: 18030107
That's what I was hoping, maybe a patch or something that needed to be run.  But I find nothing about it in the MS Knowledgebase or anything here.  Please, anyone, any ideas???
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Expert Comment

by:Sembee
ID: 18031276
Two months of free/busy information means one month back and one month forwards. Increase the publish time and you will be fine.

Simon.
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Author Comment

by:studrick
ID: 18031378
OK, that made me start thinking.  I think what it possibly does is 1 month back only, regardless of what you change your free busy schedule to.  I put in 12 months as my schedule, and it went up to Oct. 31 and started ////// out at Nov. 1st.  So, that would in a since be 12 months total if you start at 1 back.  But, I also think it doesn't care what day it is in the month, it only counts by month numbers.  So, even though its not quite the very end of Nov., it cut off at Nov. 1st, as I always see it cut off at the 1st of the month.  I am going to do some more testing just to make sure.
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Author Comment

by:studrick
ID: 18031486
OK, after typing this out to explain to my boss, I changed my mind above and now think the following......

OK, I think I might have a handle on this Free/Busy Information (FBI for short) in Outlook/Exchange.
 
I already knew by default that Outlook publishes 2 months of FBI.  You can change this by going into Outlook > Tools > Options > Calendar Options button > Free/Busy Options button, then making the change for the number of months to publish.  Well, someone responded to my post about the default of 2 months meant 1 month back and 1 month ahead.  After doing some testing, I think I have it.
 
It seems is that it only looks at the actual "month number" and not that amount of days (guess that should be more obvious since the option above asks for "months"), and that cut-off point is always the 1st of the month.  So, with a default of 2 months, that means the current November 2006, and then December 2006, with the cut-off being January 1st, 2007.
 
None of this is totally confirmed as of yet, but we will definitely be able to confirm it once we roll into December.  That means it should publish December and January, and now cut-off at February.
 
So my main question now to ExpertsExchange, is there a way to bump this default to more than 2 months?
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Accepted Solution

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Sembee earned 500 total points
ID: 18031816
You can change the free/busy publish time using group policy.

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?kbid=867504

Simon.
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