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Outlook does acknowledge new mail without user interaction

Posted on 2007-12-03
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Last Modified: 2011-04-14
The best way I can describe this issue is mail will arrive to a user's mailbox successfully but Outlook won't display it without click another folder such as the Sent folder. My own for example does this. I can send myself email from an outside account and it arrives if I login to OWA but in Outlook clients it does not. This is an SBS environment and all are directly connected via LAN.

I confirmed the following: The computers were not set to disable network adapters to conserve power; I made sure Outlook was set to automatically detect the connection state, and I made sure Exchange picks up and delivers the mail as stated above. It looks like a client side problem but ALL of the clients are experiencing the issue. I drilled through Exchange System Manager probing for an option that would make me go AH HA! but I didn't find it. Any help is appreciated, thanks in advance.
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Question by:MSJoe
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by:Sembee
ID: 20399419
Outlook/Exchange works on a push basis. Exchange tells Outlook something has changed and Outlook goes and looks. When you click on a folder Outlook gets an update from the server - which includes new messages. Therefore if something is blocking that traffic, you will see what you are seeing. Usual cause - a firewall. If the Windows Firewall is enabled check that it has the relevant exclusions.

Simon.
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by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
ID: 20400509
How did you join originally the workstation to the domain?  Because in an SBS environment, Outlook configuration is handled automatically.  If you didn't join the workstation using http://<servername>/connectcomputer you should fix this by following the steps I've outlined here:  http://sbsurl.com/rejoin

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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by:MSJoe
ID: 20402631
Thanks Simon, and thanks Jeff for replying. I did have a problem as stated in one of my other tickets about the SBS computers not being joined correctly but I did rectify that issue. Simon I did think of a firewall being the issue so to exclude that from being an issue I set a policy to turn off the Windows Firewall. Other than that there are no additional security software products installed on the workstations aside from Symantec Anti-Virus but I also recently installed that and only installed the Anti-Virus module. (IE I did not install the End Point Security or the Symantec Firewall Client). There are additional firewalls but they are on the perimeter of the network and the Exchange server (SBS 2003) is on the inside of that along with the computers which are directly connected via switches.
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by:MSJoe
ID: 20413489
Is it wrong for thinking switching between Outlook folders triggers the client/server to communicate? I can confirm a firewall isn't the issue.
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by:Sembee
ID: 20416114
Switching between folders triggers a communication because Outlook looks at the server to get an update on the folder status.

Simon.
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by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
ID: 20416742
MSJoe,

It may be helpful for you to either enable logging or just watch the connection to see it's status... to watch the connection, open Outlook and then hold the CTRL key down while Right-Clicking the Outlook Icon in the task bar.  This will allow you to access the "Connection Status".

All lines should show "Established" in Status, TCP/IP for Conn, and Async for RPC.  

Jeff
TechSoEasy

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by:MSJoe
ID: 20422263
Jeff I did that and each line stated "Established". I sent mail to myself from the outside and saw the connection stay "Established" although the new mail did not arrive until clicking another folder. I was thinking of enabling Exchange logging of some kind but I was unsure which logging would pin point this. Most of the Exchange logging from my knowledge is to determine or log issues revolving around the transport of mail not client activity but I am sure I am wrong. I just need a point in the right direction if Exchange logging can help me figure this out.
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by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
ID: 20427278
Try using EXInsight instead of Exchange Logging... it's much better for that.  www.exinsight.com  (trial works for 15 days).

But I'm guessing this is an Outlook issue.  You've never confirmed if you actually joined the workstations correctly.  You stated, "I did have a problem as stated in one of my other tickets about the SBS computers not being joined correctly but I did rectify that issue." yet I cannot find your previous question that you are talking about so I don't know what you actually did to "rectify that issue".

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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by:MSJoe
ID: 20427792
http://www.experts-exchange.com/OS/Microsoft_Operating_Systems/Server/SBS_Small_Business_Server/Q_22958531.html

On that thread you pointed me to a document stating how to rejoin computers. I followed the document so that issue is fixed. I rejoined all of the workstations which resolved a bunch of issues, but still the grind goes on. I will try exinsight and get back to you. Any recommendations on how to best use the tool for my current issue?
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by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
ID: 20428110
As I said, I don't think it's actually an Exchange issue, but rather an Outlook one.  The thing that EXInsight will give you is a live view of every connection and transaction between Exchange and the Outlook Clients (as well as between Exchange and any SMTP server it's receiving email from.

I can't tell you specifically what to look for though.

Usually with tools like this, I tend to just watch and see what doesn't seem to fit... but obviously that's not very efficient.  :-)

Anyhow... since I think it's an Outlook issue, you can try recreating the user's Outlook Profile.  The best way to do this is to copy the current one (to back it up) and then delete the original.  Do this with Outlook closed, click START > Right Click Outlook > Properties > Show Profiles.

Also delete their .ost file.  
C:\Documents and Settings\%username%\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\Outlook.ost

Then log off the computer and log back in and open Outlook.  This should allow SBS to auto-configure Outlook's settings and rebuild the local off-line cache.  If you open Outlook and it asks you to configure the username and mail server then your ConnectComputer rejoining didn't bring across Outlook's .prf file, which is located here:

C:\Program Files\Microsoft Windows Small Business Server\Clients\sbsdefault.prf

That file comes from \\SBSSERVERNAME\Clients\Setup

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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by:MSJoe
ID: 20428155
I will see what I find with the tool. I know it sounds silly but 90% of troubleshooting is looking for something that doesn't fit any how but you know that.

I already did "Anyhow... since I think it's an Outlook issue, you can try recreating the user's Outlook Profile.  The best way to do this is to copy the current one (to back it up) and then delete the original.  Do this with Outlook closed, click START > Right Click Outlook > Properties > Show Profiles.

Also delete their .ost file.  
C:\Documents and Settings\%username%\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\Outlook.ost

Then log off the computer and log back in and open Outlook.  This should allow SBS to auto-configure Outlook's settings and rebuild the local off-line cache.  If you open Outlook and it asks you to configure the username and mail server then your ConnectComputer rejoining didn't bring across Outlook's .prf file, which is located here:

C:\Program Files\Microsoft Windows Small Business Server\Clients\sbsdefault.prf

That file comes from \\SBSSERVERNAME\Clients\Setup".

I did this by taking a brand new computer out of the box and joining it correctly and letting SBS do all the work. It doesn't make any sense. :(
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by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
ID: 20428230
"but 90% of troubleshooting is looking for something that doesn't fit" which is why Sesamee Street is one of my favorite shows!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FClGhto1vIg

:-)
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by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
ID: 20428244
So, if a new computer was configured correctly... then what kind of switch do you have between the workstation and server?

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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by:MSJoe
ID: 20428524
Cisco 500s....
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy earned 500 total points
ID: 20432363
Well... those are managed switches... something that I would rarely see in an SBS-based network, but certainly capable of blocking traffic.

So, for sure you need to look at the switch's control panel and see if there are any ports 1024-65535/TCP/UDP which are filtered.

You can also run "netstat -ano" at the command line of a workstation to make sure there are active LISTENING ports for Outlook.  Before running that, run "tasklist" to see what Outlook's PID is so you know which listening port is being used.

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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Author Comment

by:MSJoe
ID: 20445442
Ok I did login to my switches and check, and as far as I can see there is no filtering going on. No VLans, no SmartPort configurations, and I don't see a filtering section but you may have meant a VLan. A weird configuration with VLan could do something weird with traffic to loop back through switches but that isn't the case here. There are manageable, but they aren't managed yet....

I did do "netstat -ano" and I got this.

 TCP    10.150.100.92:1504     10.150.100.6:1026      ESTABLISHED     3028
 TCP    10.150.100.92:1508     10.150.100.6:1301      ESTABLISHED     3028

As a test what I did was sent myself a message again as a test and it arrives in OWA, but it doesn't show in Outlook until I click a folder like "Sent Items". I did the same test over a few minutes and after the initial message they rolled in without interaction at all.

I can't say the root cause was a bad network cable but I have been replacing lines to the switches all day during maintenance and the problem seemed to clear itself up totally after that. Maybe cross talk due to a badly shielded cable?
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