can i monitor outlook talking to exchange?

i have 4 latops configured exactly the same, 3 of wich are working fine.  we have a sonicwall firewall and vpn client.  all of the laptops connects via the vpn client which is not a problem, but 1 of the laptops when i open outlook once connected sits on trying to connect for ages but eventually connects after about 10 minutes where as the other 3 laptops work fine and connect with inside a minute or so.  what would be the best way to diagnose this problem?  i have added our server name and ip address to the hosts file on the laptop.  when connected internally all 4 laptops work seamlesley. the laptops are using windows xp pro and office 2003, the server is running sbs2003 premium edition.
brad2000smithAsked:
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Rob WilliamsConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Slow connections, especially outlook, file shares and Internet browsing are most often related to DNS. Windows has primary and secondary DNS entries but they don't always work in the correct order. For example in an office your office DNS would be first. The ISP should not be present as a secondary, but if it is, it will often cause slow logons and name resolution.

It may be that the vodaphone card is acting as the primary DNS source when plugged in, even if it is not connected. It would then take a while for it to time out and try another DNS entry. You should be able to move it in the binding order.

As for at home, make sure it is receiving the correct DNS entries from DHCP. Also if the home subnet is the same as the office, the Host file entry may be causing a conflict, though it should only come into play if you try to access that resource by name.

Best bet, is to have office and home subnets different. For the record if connecting by VPN this is compulsory.
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ormerodrutterConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Thats a strange situation. I think we need to go through some elimination process.....
1. Your Outlook connects to server internally so there is no DNS problem.
2. Your laptops connect through VPN successful so the setup is right.
3. Outlook eventually connects on that offending client so the setup is right.

What is the internal bandwidth for that offending user? I mean, does he/she has a reliable/fast internet connection (you can forget if its normal dial-up)?
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mcse2007Connect With a Mentor Commented:
from the client experiencing the problem, regardless of the connection type (e.g dial-up or ADSL), connecting outlook directly with exchange through VPN is not a good practice because of the distance of the client and the server.

Try, configuring outlook to go 'work offline'  (e.g when you open outlook you have the option to CONNECT, WORK OFFLINE, CANCEL). tell your trouble outlook user, when he/or she connects to exchange through outlook by VPN use select "work offline'  then advise him/or her to press the 'SEND/RECEIVE' button to update the inbox and sent item folder -  configuring it this way will eliminate your issue guarantee regardless of the connection type of the VPN it goes through.

hope this helps

cheers, mcse2007
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Rob WilliamsConnect With a Mentor Commented:
On the problematic laptop check the binding order of the network adapters. To do so go to control panel | network connections | on the menu bar choose advanced | advanced settings | Adapters and bindings
Try moving the VPN adapter to the top of the list, click OK and reboot the machine.
This may help with DNS name resolution and speed up the connection.

Another, faster secure way to use outlook is by configuring your Exchange server to allow the clients to use rpc/http. This does not require a VPN connection and allows a secure connection with the server. VPN's can be problematic from some locations.
http://www.amset.info/exchange/rpc-http.asp
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brad2000smithAuthor Commented:
thanks for your suggestions, but after further investigation I have noticed that the laptop runs extremely slow, not just outlook when connected to another network  Once I unplug the Vodafone card it kicks back in to life and responds as it should.  (the vodafone card is data card that is used to connect when remote)I took the laptop home and plugged it into my network home which is using 10.0.0.x rather than 192.168.0.x which is what is being used in the office, and again the laptop goes haywire this is even before the VPN is connected and I was logged in as a new user that I created called laptopt.  is there any reason for this?  could it be the entry i created in the hosts file? the laptop is configured to get its tcp/ip information from DHCP.
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Rob WilliamsCommented:
Thanks brad2000smith.
Cheers !
--Rob
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