Create a server 2008/2003 GPO for a common/shared offline address book (without Exchange)

Posted on 2012-09-05
Last Modified: 2012-09-16
I have two domains, one with a 2k8 R2 DC; the other domain has a 2k3 DC. All users have Outlook 2010 on Windows 7. We do not have Exchange, everyone uses a combination of pop/imap. What I'd like to do with a group policy (if possible) is create one centralized address book that would be updated/imported or copied to users computers each time the policy is applied at login. I do not want a centralized address book that they are connected to in the sense that if one person made a change it would affect everyone else. Is this possible to do without Exchange and through Group Policy?
Question by:EndTheFed
    LVL 41

    Expert Comment

    I don't understand the difference between having an address book that gets copied to every computer vs. an address book that gets synced.

    You should look at OsaSync, which can sync address books among multiple Outlook users. There is an option for a one-way sync, which might be what you are asking for. There is a free and shareware version.

    OsaSync is the ultimate solution to synchronize  Outlook content between multiple computers!
    With OsaSync PRO you can:

        Share or synchronize Outlook contacts with one or more other computers on your network or via FTP. Every change you make to a shared contact is automatically reflected in the contact on the other computer(s). Synchronization happens automatically, no action by you is required. Just connecting your computer to the network (for instance in case of a laptop) or the internet (in case of synchronizing via FTP) and starting Outlook is enough to have OsaSync process all the changes.
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    OsaSync Lite, if you only want to work with contacts:

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    Author Comment

    I'm sorry if I wasn't too clear about that. Essentially what I was saying is that I don't want the users Outlook 2010 pointing to a file with a UNC path. If Outlook is looking for "\\Server7\Outlook\Contacts.wab" (or whatever format is best for shared contacts) that presents two problems. 1. Laptop users won't be able to access it if they're off network. 2. If one user changes/adds/removes a contact it will affect everyone else.

    I'm looking for any solution (preferably with a group policy) that will allow me to push/copy/one way sync addresses to users just like you can do with Exchange using an offline address book (except I do not have Exchange unfortunately). The reason I'm hoping to do this with a script or the Outlook 2010 GP templates is that I really don't want to install/configure sync software on 200 computers if it's not absolutely necessary.
    LVL 41

    Expert Comment

    It has been a long time since I have used Outlook without Exchange. If you can point to a local contacts.wab file, it is very easy to have a login script copy that file from a server to the user's profile.

    Author Comment

    I can't think of any way to get Outlook 2010 to look for that copied file though. If there's no way to tell Outlook to look for a contact file or import one through GP, then is there some kind of script that would accomplish the same thing? Maybe something in a .bat file or VB/powershell that is capable of importing a contacts file?

    Accepted Solution

    Not exactly what I thought I wanted but I did find a way to sync contacts (one-way/read only) to many users on and off domain, in different domains, without exchange. Found a website that offers a remote LDAP for exactly that purpose. It's called CloudFace: I am not trying to promote their service, I'm not affiliated with them in any way, however after searching for hours trying to find a "hosted LDAP" address book service they were the only one I found.

    Author Closing Comment

    I didn't really answer my original question. I did however find a different method that achieved the same result.

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