Public folders in Outlook Mobile Access (OMA). Contacts are stored in public folder.

Posted on 2007-03-26
Last Modified: 2013-12-05

I have got mobile active sync working with exchance server 2003 (SP2) with the help of EE (notably Simon). Now I have a new related request.

When using OWA the staff of the company access their contacts through a public folder. There is a public folder called Company contacts.

How can I access this using Windows Mobile as I was unable to work out how to do it.

Thanks in advance.
Question by:afflik1923
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LVL 104

Accepted Solution

Sembee earned 500 total points
ID: 18793256
The simple answer is that you cannot.
In case you haven't noticed, Microsoft are trying very hard to kill off public folders, and the lack of support for them through mobile devices is one way that they are trying to remove them. In E2007 you cannot even get at them through OWA.

You will need to look at third party tools, the one I usually suggest is


Author Comment

ID: 18793349
Boo hoo, so after all the hard work with getting it working, there has to be yet another thing rquired to make it work how they actually want it to work.

Can't believe that they cannot be accessed in e2007, that's ridiculous don't you think?
I've tkaen a brief look at your link and looks interesting, but is there a different way then that the contacts should be stored within Exchange.

If you have company wide contact books, how can you make this synchronise with each user of Outlook. There surely MUST be some way to do this with exchange out of the box. Surely that is a feature that everyone wants to use????

LVL 104

Expert Comment

ID: 18793366
What you are talking about with regards to a company wide address book is a CRM. Exchange is not a CRM by any stretch of the imagination.

Microsoft have made no secret of their desire to kill off public folders. They have tried two or three times. There is supposed to be some elements of public folders coming back in E2007 SP1 which may help, but we keep being told to look at alternatives. Sharepoint 3.0 is getting closer, but things go oddly quiet when you ask Microsoft to provide an alternative for some of the things public folders do.

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Author Comment

ID: 18793431
Oh how annoying! So I guess this might end up throwing me back to Blackberry Exchange server.
Do you know off hand though with Blackberry exchange server if there is a method of having a shared address book.

Then further to that is there a way to get that address book to synchronise with the company address book?

Also is there a standard way of exporting the contacts from the public folder and then importing them into a persons private contacts.

Why do MS seem to make some things needlesy difficult, it often seems to be the way.
LVL 104

Expert Comment

ID: 18793566
BES has the same problem.

I have heard rumours that public folder access will be available in BES 5, but that isn't due until next year sometime (there isn't even a BES 4.x that works with E2007 yet).

The contacts folder in Contacts in Outlook and any Contacts folder in public folders are the same format, so you could simply copy items between them. Obviously the problem is maintaining the two folders which is where a third party tool comes in.

While it may seem that MS are making things difficult, some of this stuff is very difficult to setup. I have spoken to some of the people making the decisions on what is and is not supported in OWA on various browser versions for example, and they have to weigh up lots of options.
Then you get the issues about support on device as well as Exchange - take push for example - that required a new version of Windows Mobile 5.0 and an Exchange service pack - that doesn't happen overnight.
Finally you get the issue of how many people are actually using public folders in this way. For my own clients it is probably 10:1, with probably half of the 1 using mobile devices.


Author Comment

ID: 18794382
OK this might be incorrect information but a friend is telling me that the solution is that a particular user can share their contacts with others and therefore if you took one user as the person to have all the contacts and then other people accessd this persons contacts (in the same way one accesses other peoplels calandars) then this would be a solution.

I have my doubts from what you have said, particularly from the mobile device as there does not appear to be any options to view someone elses contacts.

(But I think you can do this in OWA but changing the username and if you have permission you can view them).

what is your take on this Simon. Is there not some way it can be acheived like this?

LVL 104

Expert Comment

ID: 18794408
You share the contacts. You can also access a shared folder in OWA with some URL manipulation (
However on the mobile device it isn't possible. ActiveSync only syncs your personal contacts - it doesn't sync any other contact folders.
OMA is restricted heavily. The only other lookup is the over the air lookup to the GAL.


Author Comment

ID: 19184805
Hi Simon.

Thanks for all your input on this matter which I am now finally moving forward on.

PLease note I have started a new related thread on the subject.
Again thanks for your input.

New thread

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