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How to configure outlook settings on multiple computers using RPC over HTTP

Posted on 2011-09-15
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Last Modified: 2012-05-12
Currently, outlook 2003 clients sitting on XP Pro machines (in windows 2008 domain) are connecting to an externally hosted exchange server via RPC over HTTP for messaging.
I am not certain if the exchange server is 2007 or 2010.
I need to replace several Windows XP workstations with Windows 7 & and Outlook 2010.
Is there a way to speed up the configuration of the new workstations and avoid having to manually modifying every setting?
Do I need to create a common profile of some sort and then modify things like user name/e-mail address?
Is there a way to migrate outlook settings from outlook 2003 to 2010 and if so how is this achieved?
I would appreciate if someone could point me in the right direction so I don't have to waste hours on something that can be automated to some extent.
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Question by:stevenvel
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21 Comments
 
LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:maxsmith5k
ID: 36541684
You can have the settings automatically pushed out to the clients using group policy, or you can packet the settings with the Outlook deployment using the Office Configuration Tool (OCT).  Here is a technet article on it:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc179036.aspx
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LVL 76

Expert Comment

by:Alan Hardisty
ID: 36541688
If you have the domain hosted, the hosting company might be able to let you have a .PRF file for each user, which tells Outlook exactly what settings are required and all you have to do in open the .PRF file and Outlook gets automatically configured.

Some useful reading in case they can't / don't provide the PRF files for you:

http://www.outlook-tips.net/2011/2763/outlook-profile-file-prf/
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Author Comment

by:stevenvel
ID: 36541745
That's great thank you for your comments, just checking docs.
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Author Comment

by:stevenvel
ID: 36541832
Just to clarify,
I am not using open volume licensing so does that count out OCT?

I love the idea of using PRF files, I will look in to this.
I checked the link and the downloads are for outlook 2003
If I can't get PRF files sent to me how do I create them uisng outlook 2010?
Or
If they are created in outlook 2003 can I use them with outlook 2010?
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LVL 76

Expert Comment

by:Alan Hardisty
ID: 36541836
More reading for Outlook 2010 PRF files:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc179062.aspx

Don't think you can use an Outlook 2003 .PRF file with Outlook 2010.
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Author Comment

by:stevenvel
ID: 36541922
It appears I can't use OCT to create PRF because I don't have volume licensing.
Microsoft recommends not using eralier versions of PRF.

If I create an outlook 2010 profile by manually entering exchange details (perhaps use a real account from one user to test sync with exchange) can I expect to to find a PRF file when I do a windows search?
Then use this PRF and just modify user name and email address for each computer?
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LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:maxsmith5k
ID: 36542005
even if you don't have volume licensing, you should still be able to push the settings out using group policy.  that would be my recommendation.
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LVL 76

Expert Comment

by:Alan Hardisty
ID: 36542008
That's not very helpful of MS :p

If you create an Outlook Profile - you won't find a .PRF file anywhere sadly.

If you have Outlook 2007 / 2010, you can use Autodiscover to configure the accounts automatically with just the email address and password, so your best bet is to ditch Outlook 2003 and then you should have a much easier time, assuming that your hosting company has Autodiscover configured properly for you.
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Author Comment

by:stevenvel
ID: 36542043
Because I am not up to speed with group policy I will look at getting a copy of PRF's.
If I can't get PRF's I will look at getting some assistance with group policy.
I will provide feedback ASAP.
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LVL 4

Accepted Solution

by:
maxsmith5k earned 500 total points
ID: 36542066
@alanhardisty:  i'm sorry if you didn't feel that was helpful, but i provided an article earlier in the thread on how to do it.  I didn't want to provide the same link again.  :)
Autodiscover is a good suggestion and perhaps the easiest, if configured.
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LVL 76

Expert Comment

by:Alan Hardisty
ID: 36542073
Here is one you can try - you will need to amend the contents to match your environment (I have put the bits you need to change in UPPER CASE).

Rename the file to whatever.prf and it should be happy (getting around the extension list of allowed files on EE)

Alan
Sample.txt
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LVL 76

Expert Comment

by:Alan Hardisty
ID: 36542078
@Max - I was referring to Microsoft not you (in response to "Microsoft recommends not using earlier versions of PRF.") - sorry - you have the same initials!!  Blame your parents ;)
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LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:maxsmith5k
ID: 36542095
@alanhardisty - hahaha.  Sorry.  :)
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LVL 76

Expert Comment

by:Alan Hardisty
ID: 36542133
No worries :)  Sorry if I was a little misleading.
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Author Comment

by:stevenvel
ID: 36542203
Autodiscover, I must admit I completely overlooked this as an option, I hope this has been setup properly, I will check.
Thankyou Alan for the sample PRF.
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LVL 76

Expert Comment

by:Alan Hardisty
ID: 36542275
Autodiscover won't work for Outlook 2003 - it wasn't invented when 2003 was created.   It will work for Outlook 2007 and 2010 though.
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Author Comment

by:stevenvel
ID: 36542433
Yep, thank you
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Author Comment

by:stevenvel
ID: 36558182
I tested autodiscover with OL 2007 and it looks like this will do the trick - It configured user account automatically. I stopped at the point of logging on and doing a sync with exchange.
I will check with outlook 2010 by synching with exchange and will report.
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LVL 76

Expert Comment

by:Alan Hardisty
ID: 36562667
If 2007 works - 2010 should also without any issues, but waiting for your confirmation.
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Author Comment

by:stevenvel
ID: 36573713
Autodiscover did the trick.
Very simple.
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Author Closing Comment

by:stevenvel
ID: 36573733
Thank you
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