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How do I setup Resource Mailboxes for our conference rooms in Exchange 2003 SBS?

Posted on 2010-09-08
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
I have followed the directions in other posts and it's just not working for me. I am trying to setup a couple resource mailboxes in Exchange 2003 to allow our organization to book different conference rooms.

I have setup the resources as instructed here: http://www.msexchange.org/tutorials/Booking-Resources-ExchangeServer-2003-Outlook-System-2003.html

When I go to book the resource I don't get any message saying it conflicts with another appointment. I get the "no information" bar under the scheduling tab. I also have the options set to auto accept and auto decline the appointment under the resource's setup.

At one point it seemed to be working when I tried to book a resource that was already booked. I got an alert saying I was unable to book due to that conflict. But I am unable to get things working.

I'm not sure what other information I can provide to help resolve this. I will leave it to the experts on this one. I've spent a week playing around with it a little each day.
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Question by:theBlaine
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Author Comment

by:theBlaine
ID: 33631118
I am more than happen to share screenshots, configurations, etc.. This seems like such a simple thing to setup, but I am struggling!!
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Accepted Solution

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sunnyc7 earned 250 total points
ID: 33631260
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Author Comment

by:theBlaine
ID: 33631290
I have checked out both those links and the first one is the actual step-by-step I went through. The problem I'm having seems to be very specific. I can see the resources and I assign them as a resource in the Meeting Requests, but I am not getting notified when if the time is already booked. I can book 5 appointments for the same time slot using the same resource and Outlook/Exchange is allowing this.

Even when I click on the "scheduling" tab in the Appointment request window, I can see that it's booked, but I am not being prevented from booking the same time slot again.

For testing I have change the free/busy setting to update the server every 1 minute instead of the default 15 minutes.
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LVL 28

Expert Comment

by:sunnyc7
ID: 33631294
close outlook

outlook /cleanfreebusy
--
also use OWA accounts for testing. that way you wont get bogged down by outlook issues.

thanks
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LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:geniph
ID: 33631524
Are you using Direct Booking, or the Auto Accept agent? I had a lot of trouble getting the conflicts to properly reject when the users were using direct booking, but once I switched to Auto Accept, and had the users select the room as a Resource each time they schedule a meeting, the conflicts generated a rejection.

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa997184%28EXCHG.65%29.aspx

Warning: don't try to use both direct booking and the auto accept agent. Pick one, and train the users accordingly.
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Author Comment

by:theBlaine
ID: 33631690
sunnyc7:
Are you asking me to open Outlook with that argument? Moving forward I will use OWA to log in as the resource to make these changes. Should I do the cleanfreebusy once then use OWA? Or just use OWA? I'm unclear if I should do that first to clean anything up before I start using OWA. Will I be able to set the permissions and the free/busy settings from OWA?

geniph:
I will download the Auto Accept Agent and do some testing. It is likely I will not be able to test this until tonight.

I will report what happens after trying these suggestions.
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LVL 28

Expert Comment

by:sunnyc7
ID: 33631708
a) Just use OWA for testing. See if it works.

b)
Those switches you run as

start > run > outlook /cleanfreebusy

Try out those switches and see if it rectifies the problem from outlook.

--
I'm unclear if I should do that first to clean anything up before I start using OWA.
>> you can use OWA for testing first. If OWA works, then use those switches to clean-up the profile data in Microsoft outlook.

Will I be able to set the permissions and the free/busy settings from OWA?
>> No. You will have to do that from outlook.

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Author Comment

by:theBlaine
ID: 33631780
sunnyc7:
When I create a new resource I need to set the permissions and free/busy options. If I can't do that in OWA, then am I correct in saying that after I make a new resource, log into Outlook client as them to set the options. Once the options are set, use OWA for all the testing?

I will do some OWA testing tonight and will report in the morning. Thanks again!
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LVL 28

Expert Comment

by:sunnyc7
ID: 33631791
OWA testing is advisable as you are free of desktop / outlook issues there.

Please post back with screenshot errors.
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Author Comment

by:theBlaine
ID: 33673073
Sorry guys, I was out sick. I will test these today and report.
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Author Comment

by:theBlaine
ID: 33705341
I finally got around to testing the Auto Accept Agent. It seems to work, but it's not giving me the desired results. Here is what's it's doing. I can add the conf room as a resource to the meeting request. I click on the scheduling tab and I can see that the resource is ALREADY booked for that time slot, but if I continue to try and book that time slot Outlook allows me to. Then about a minute later I get a DECLINED response from the "resource". Though it sorta worked, it still allowed me to create the appointment. Now I would need to contact everyone with a new time. I need to make this pretty much fool proof.

At one point, it worked perfectly without any agents. If I tried to book a time slot for a resource that was already booked, Outlook actually gave me an alert preventing me from creating the appointment because the resource was booked.

I need to PREVENT users from trying to book a time slot for a resource if it is already booked. I know it's possible, like I said earlier, I had it working at one point, but I have no idea what I did to make it work... or what I did to make it NOT work a few minutes later.

I will be monitoring this more closely and I apologize for the earlier delay, I am working on this in my "spare" time... reading the 51 page manual for the agent took a little longer as I don't normally have spare time.

If there is anything I can provide to help, let me know!
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Author Comment

by:theBlaine
ID: 33774315
Nothing huh? I suppose I should close out this question as not being answered.
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LVL 2

Assisted Solution

by:geniph
geniph earned 250 total points
ID: 33774341
If the users are correctly using the Scheduling tab when making a meeting, they should see that a resource is already booked. Some things do take a certain amount of user education.

We just went through this, switching our main conference rooms from direct booking to resources using the Auto Accept agent. Yes, I'd like it better if it prevented them from booking the resource in the first place instead of sending them a reject message a few seconds later, but we have gotten around that by educating the users to utilize the Scheduling tab to view available times BEFORE putting a room in as a resource.
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Assisted Solution

by:theBlaine
theBlaine earned 0 total points
ID: 33780858
I was doing all my testing using Outlook 2010, I read yesterday that by default Outlook 2010 has Direct Booking turned off. Can be tweaked by the registry (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/982774). I had this working at one point without the Auto Accept Agent. I am going to run a couple tests today now that I have made this registry change. My General Manager says it's working fine for him using Outlook 2007.

I will report what I find. At this point I think I'd rather go to Exchange 2007 which is supposed to handle Resource Booking much better. But if I can confirm this is working then I'll be fine. Seems silly such a simple thing is so difficult to setup... or at least difficult for me ;-)

I have uninstalled/removed Auto Accept Agent at this point.
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