Exchange 2003 GAL not updating for everyone

Posted on 2009-04-17
Last Modified: 2012-05-06
Ive run into an issue where some users are not able to see recent email accounts that have been added to AD (mail enabled) while others are able to view the new entries.  These new accounts were added hours ago (well past the 20 minute replication period).

For the users that are not able to see the new entries, the Global Address List does not show the new user from Outlook.

Yet, I could see the addition right away.  At the moment, we have a mix of users that can and users that can not see the new GAL entries.

Any help on this would be greatly appreciated.


2003 Server SP2
Exchange 2003 SP2
Outlook 2003
Question by:fraunkd
    LVL 1

    Expert Comment

    Can you check that they (user can not see GAL) user cache mode or not?
    LVL 1

    Expert Comment

    If that user use Cache Mode you should Download GAL (Send and Receive>Dowload Address Book)

    Author Comment

    that's weird - i did not receive alerts that someone had posted to my thread.  

    just to add to my origional post, users that are not able to see the new GAL entries are authenticating to the same DC as myself - and i can see the gal updates without issue.  was wondering if there was a replication issue...


    Author Comment


    the users are all in cache mode.  the send and receive\download address book options were chosen but the user is still unable to see the new address.
    LVL 1

    Accepted Solution

    That user can see new entry in Exchange Web?
    You can try:
    In Exchange Server:
    1.In Exchange Console (Server) choose Recipients>Offline Address Lists
    2. Right-click Default Offline Address Lists and choose Rebuild
    In Client
    1. In Outlook Click Tools>Send/Receive >Download Address Book
    2. Uncheck Download changes since last Send/Receive
    3. Check to Download Full Details and then Click OK to download

    Author Comment

    just to make sure we are on the same page, i'm assuming that Exchage Web = OWA.

    and interestingly enough, the user is able to see the new account in the GAL but only when accessed via OWA.  the new account is not present in the GAL when accessed via Outlook on the LAN.

    in regards to downloading the address book on the client with the specified option unchecked - i've already tried it checked and unchecked with no change in behavior eariler today.

    i have not tried your suggestions on the exchage server yet - but i'm wondering how this can help when the GAL updates are recognized by some via Outlook and by everyone (as far as i know) via OWA.  if the issue with the GAL is that it needs to be rebuilt, then i would think that it would not be working properly for anyone.  really feels like there should be some underlying cause here...

    Author Comment

    The info below helped resolve the issue.  I did not realize that when in cached mode, Outlook only updates the offline address book every 24 hours.  This is why the updates were present in OWA and not Outlook.  And the specific time is going to very from user to user.  This is why some could see the update and others could not.

    All that was needed was:

    Rebuild the offline address book on the Exchange server
    Download Address Book manually from Outlooks send\receive option.
    KB 841273 explains that:

    Outlook in cached mode automatically updates the offline address book on the client every 24 hours. The 24-hour time period is measured from the time that the offline address book was last downloaded successfully. For example, if you complete an offline address book download at 09:00 today, Outlook will start the offline address book download the next day at approximately 09:00. Therefore, different people will receive updates at different, random times.
    Each day, the Exchange computer generates a full offline address book and a differential file from the previous day. The Exchange computer stores the differential file and the full file for the current day and stores only the differential files for the previous days.
    The default setting on the Exchange computer is to generate an offline address book differential file every morning at 04:00.
    By default, the Exchange computer generates the offline address book files every morning at 05:00.
    Unless you notice the last time that Outlook downloaded the offline address book, you may not know when Outlook is scheduled to try the next offline address book download. No indicator in the Outlook user interface advises you of the offline address book download schedule.
    You can now see its virtually impossible to determine when my Outlook client would automatically receive the updated address list.

    The steps I performed to force Exchange and Outlook to immediately synchronize the offline address books:

    One the server - Start Exchange System Manager, expand Recipients - Offline Address Lists. Right click on your address list and select Rebuild. You will be warned that it potentially could take a long time. Click Yes to proceed with the rebuild. Wait a few minutes, but if you have a small Exchange deployment this could finish in seconds.
    On the client - In Outlook click on the down arrow next to Send/Receive to open the menu. Click Download Address Book - OK. Make sure that the Download changes since last Send/Receive check box is selected.

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