outlook hangs for about a minute after an unrelated server is shut down

We have exchange 2003 running on serverB. We have shut down serverA to decommision it.
Server A was a DC but was demoted before shut down. Server B is a DC. Some, but not all users are experiencing approx one minute delays when starting outlook.This problem goes away if we restart server A and comes back when it is shut down again.
We have searhed in the outlook settings for any hard refernces to server A and removed them (e.g. archive.pst was listed as being on \\serverA\user_profiles\%username%). This has helped in some instances but there are still some experiencing problems, one in particular with theGlabal address list which hangs for about a minute when scrolling down it at about the half way point.
We have tried re creating the user profile by starting outlook and loading a new .prf file from the command line and this has made no difference.
I supect outlook or exchange is still refering to a file on serverA but have no idea what it is or how to find it.
Any help or clue would be much appreciated.
Who is Participating?
SteveH_UKConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Well, glad you got it sorted.  So it was a user profile specific issue, but not an obvious one.

As you say, typical.
Was server A using a beta release of windows?  Are the domain records still in DNS?  Have the computers been restarted?  Is your other server the PDC?  Is it a global catalog?
Check that in Exchange System Manager, DC referrals does not include your previous server.  This is configured on the server object in ESM, in the properties pages.
Simplify Active Directory Administration

Administration of Active Directory does not have to be hard.  Too often what should be a simple task is made more difficult than it needs to be.The solution?  Hyena from SystemTools Software.  With ease-of-use as well as powerful importing and bulk updating capabilities.

D_HartupConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Have you made sure that the new server is also a Global Catalog?
brookesmAuthor Commented:
Server A was production 2003 server.  No domain record in DNS. Computers have been restarted. There are 4 DCs. The decommisioned server was the schema master but this was tranferred to another server (not the mail server). There is no PDC. There are two global catalogue servers, one being the mail server and the other the Schema master server. I cannot find any reference to DC referrals on the ESM, Am I looking in the correct place?
You need to have a PDC.  Active Directory will not function correctly if all of the FSMO roles have not been assigned appropriately!

In ESM, on the Server properties, it is Directory Access.  If it is set to automatically locate DCs then it will use DNS to find appropriate servers, otherwise you can specify them.  Make sure it either lists the correct servers or is set to automatic locating.
Vishal BreedConnect With a Mentor Program ManagerCommented:
1> Use Exchange Best Practice Analyzer tool (www.exbpa.com).

2> Your Exchange Server is still searching for ServerA. Though you have demoted it follow http://support.microsoft.com/?id=216498 to make sure ServeA is removed from settings this article is reffering to.

3> Also amke sure ServerA is removed as Exchange
seeimredConnect With a Mentor Commented:
There's no mention of where the Public/System folders are. So... Did you replicate and swing over the System Folders from A to B? I'm assuming ServerA was the first one installed to the Org so it would by default hold the System Folders. Users who are running OL2003 in Exchanged Cached Mode or earlier versions in Offline mode would be looking to the System Folders for the OAB to download.

And if you remove the System Folder home server from Exchange before swinging them to another server, it's going to cause Free/Busy problems on top of everything else.
brookesmAuthor Commented:
Thank for those suggestions. I have looked into them and the results are....:

SteveH UK:
1: All FSMO roles are on server C. I did not know the PDC emulation role was active until checking for this particular problem.
2: EMS on mail server set to automatically discover servers.

vishal breed:
1: Exchange BPA run. No problems found.
2: Server A (DC) was demoted successfully before it was shut down
3: Server A was never a exchange server so not relevant.

Server A was never an exchange server.

Can you tell us what versions of Windows Server A and B were/are running, including service packs.  There is an issue in that clients tend toward newer versions of Windows, ignoring older versions.  Can you confirm that your live DCs are running the latest versions of Windows that you have using in your domain?

Also, can you right-click, with the CONTROL key pressed down, on the Outlook icon and select Connection Status while it is starting.  Is Outlook attempting to initiate an RPC/HTTP(S) session first and then failing and resorting to TCP/IP, or vice versa.  This connection screen will show you what Outlook is attempting to do.
brookesmAuthor Commented:
All Servers are running 2003 SP2, fully patched.

The connection status are all TCP/IP.
If you click Reconnect on the Connection Status window, does it show nothing for a while, or HTTP and then falling back to TCP/IP?

Also, are your clients configured to use Outlook Anywhere / HTTP/RPC?  If so, what is the connection preference for fast networks?  Is it HTTP first or TCP first?

Also, you may want to get clients (if they use cached Exchange mode or are configured for offline access) to download the full offline address book (under Send Receive).  You may also want to try deleting the Exchange profile for a user and recreating it, or recreating an alternative one.  If you are doing this for testing, don't use offline or cached in the first instance as it will download the whole mailbox!

You may also want to try this approach on a client machine using a different user profile (username logon) to see if the problem is linked to the user profile.
brookesmAuthor Commented:
Thanks for suggestions SteveH UK:

I think we have the answer.

First to answer your ideas/questions.

Clicking reconnect is instant and does not show HTTP.

No clients use Outlook Anywhere.

No one uses Cached mode.

The problem is with the user profile.

The reason was found in the registry entry's where outlook stores its journal files.

HKCU\software\microsoft\office\ <version> \outlook\journal\Item Log File         = \\serverA\admin_staff_profile_redir\username\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\offitems.log
HKCU\software\microsoft\office\ <version> \outlook\journal\Outlook Item Log File = \\serverA\admin_staff_profile_redir\username\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\outitems.log

<version> is either 11.0 or 12.0 for Outlook 2003 or 2007
serverA   is the name of the server that was decommisioned
username  is the name of the user.

The solution (tested on three users up to now) is to edit the registry entry to change the name of the server to the location where the users profiles are now stored.

I assume Outlook attempts to find the journal files and times out after about a minute and reverts to some other mode of operation where it does not need a journal.
A useful eror message from outlook would have helped but I suppose thats asking a bit much from those wonderful Microsoft people.
brookesmAuthor Commented:
More background info:

The problem with the registry entries also affected other (mainly Microsoft) applcations but not quite so severely as they also had absolute references to the location on Server A where they stored stuff. There is about 50 entries in HKCU for every user so we have invested in 'Registry Crawler' to enable bulk search and replace the errorneous entries in the users regitry's.

Thanks you all those who suggested things to try to solve our problem.


Mark Brookes
brookesmAuthor Commented:
Problem ultimatly solved by the original proposer, the assistance given did eliminate other potential problems and was very helpful.
I'd opt to turn off Journaling in  Outlook. It was a good idea but no one actually uses it. Which is also why I never think of troubleshooting it.
brookesmAuthor Commented:
Nice idea but...

I had a look at turning journaling off but it appears that you cant actually 'turn it off', you can just choose to not use it. We do not use (and never have) but Outlook still insists on trying to locate the journal files wherever the profile / registry tells it to.

Question has a verified solution.

Are you are experiencing a similar issue? Get a personalized answer when you ask a related question.

Have a better answer? Share it in a comment.

All Courses

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.