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Outlook 2010 Stopped Connecting to Exchange

Posted on 2013-01-03
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I have one computer in the office running Outlook 2010 that stopped connecting to my Exchange 2003 server.  I tried deleting the Outlook profile and creating a new one, but even with the new profile I receive he message "Cannot open your default e-mail folders.  Microsoft Exchange is not available.  Either there are network problems or the Exchange server is down for maintenance."   I tried setting up a different user and I get the same result so the problem is definitely with Outlook on this machine.

There are no network issues on this machine and the Exchange server is not down.

I tried to repair Office and I get the same result.  I tried turning off encryption and nothing changes.  The mailbox(es) can be accessed via OWA without any issues.
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Question by:DarrinZuroff
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by:Manpreet SIngh Khatra
ID: 38740763
If the OWA is accessible from the same server you should check for PING and Tracert to Exchange and ensure its working

I would also have checked if i can access the Exchange or other servers share

- Rancy
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by:wc1954
ID: 38740863
When I have seen this I have noticed that the email account setup has the wrong server address under server settings. You should confirm that it is correct for this user.
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by:DarrinZuroff
ID: 38740886
All of the Outlook settings are correct and the Exchange server is reachable from the laptop in question.  When I create a profile Outlook resolves the name from the Exchange server so I knot they are talking, but when Outlook attempts to open the mailbox I get the error message I indicated above.
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by:lboykenee
ID: 38741206
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by:tmoore1962
ID: 38741207
Does the account work from another workstation?  that will tell if the issue is on the workstation or in the exchange account.  What is the path for the ost file??  If not on the workstation or in the default location does user have full permissions to the folder containing the ost?  If it does work from another workstation, you may have to 1. create a new profile for the user in windows - log on as another user and then rename the user profile in question to something like xxuserxx then log back on as the user to recreate the profile.
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by:DarrinZuroff
ID: 38743941
Is there a way to completely reset Outlook 2010 to first use status besides creating a new Windows profile?  There is a command line switch in 2003 and 2007 to do this but it appears to have been removed from 2010.  I have read that deleting the Outlook profile resets Outlook to first use but apparently that isn't the case.  I received the first use setup wizard but Outlook still would not connect to Exchange after creating the profile.  Outlook resolves the name of the user from Exchange but will not connect to the folders.
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by:Manpreet SIngh Khatra
ID: 38750129
Can you please tell which command are you speaking about and most of the command lines still exist

- Rancy
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by:DarrinZuroff
ID: 38751117
"Outlook.exe /firstrun"   I tried it in 2010 and it was not a recognized parameter.

There has been a change in the behavior.  Outlook somehow started working again, a day later it would not connect again but a short time later without doing anything it connected again.

I have confirmed again that he is not experiencing network issues as Outlook is the only thing affected.  At this point I am going to schedule a time with the user to reset his Windows profile and see if that makes a difference.

I forgot to mention previously that this user has a very large mailbox at 19GB and his .OST file is a whopping 30GB, but the default .OST size limit in Outlook 2010 is 50GB so I don't think that should be an issue.
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by:Manpreet SIngh Khatra
ID: 38751468
To Reset Outlook 2010 to First Run Settings DO THIS - IT REALLY WORKS

1. Use the command line switch /profile xxx

2. Outlook will report that there is no such profile and prompt for another.

3. Click "New" and name a new profile.

4. Presto!  Go ahead and enter your new mail account settings under the newly created profile.

5. One more step: using the command line switch /profiles open start Outlook and select your new profile as the default by expanding Options and selecting "Set as default"

http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/office/forum/office_2010-customize/how-to-reset-settings-on-outlook-2010/6db3ab52-9014-4f8a-8a14-11c5e5a6103f

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/deva/archive/2010/05/28/troubleshooting-outlook-command-line-switches-for-outlook-2010.aspx

/profile profilename
Loads the specified profile. If your profile name contains a space, enclose the profile name in quotation marks (")

/profiles
Opens the Choose Profile dialog box regardless of the Options setting on the Tools menu

- Rancy
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by:DarrinZuroff
ID: 38751547
I already tried the /profile profilename option but I have the same connection issue after creating a new profile.
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by:Manpreet SIngh Khatra
ID: 38751624
Does OWA work fine all the time ?
is the Exchange have multiple DB if so can we move a mailbox

- Rancy
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by:DarrinZuroff
ID: 38751722
I can at least say that OWA works when Outlook cannot connect.

I do have multiple databases, however the issue is the mailbox size.  Being that it is 19GB it would take a very long time to move and since the mailbox belongs to the CFO it would be difficult to schedule for the downtime, especially not knowing exactly how long the move will take.  I thought about the possibility of a corrupted item in his mailbox but I don't have a clue on how to confirm that.

I am planning on upgrading to Exchange 2010 sometime in the 3rd or 4th quarter this year so the migration may take care of any corruption issues, however it will be awhile before that happens.  I know I am branching off onto other topics here, but the other thought was to reduce his mailbox size but I don't have a good way to do that because we do not have an e-mail archiving solution in place and he need access to all messages offline so a PST file won't work.  I don't want to save the PST on his local drive and risk losing data due too a hard drive failure.
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by:Manpreet SIngh Khatra
ID: 38751847
I thought about the possibility of a corrupted item in his mailbox but I don't have a clue on how to confirm that - 19GB mailbox with any folder having above 5K itself is an issue

Damn these folks if they dont have even a bit of common sense as to how he can access 19Gb without issues :(

If your waiting till EOY i would say plan for Exchange 2013 as it should be more in productions till then and more stable

Good shot - Take Data to PST using Exchange and place one on some file share and give him a second copy on local drive also if any issues you can restore from backup

- Rancy
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by:DarrinZuroff
ID: 38752575
I'm not sure where else to look here, but I just received a call from a different user running Outlook 2007 with the exact same issue.  This user's mailbox is only 1GB so it is fairly large but still an acceptable size.  I went through the same troubleshooting steps and he is receiving the same connection error.  OWA works, in fact he is currently using OWA to access his e-mail.  I tried creating his profile on my computer running Outlook 2007 and his mailbox  opens, however when I create a new profile on his computer I get the same error message "Cannot open your default e-mail folders.  Microsoft Exchange is not available.  Either there are network problems or the Exchange server is down for maintenance."

The odd thing is even though I can access his mailbox on my computer, we also have a TS Web server and his mailbox will not load there either.  I am grasping at straws here but since his mailbox is at a more manageable size I am going to move it to a different database tonight to see if that improves things.

As I was about to click the Submit button to save this reply the user called me and told me he just launched Outlook and it connected to his mailbox.  I tried one last time to open Outlook before I left his office, and 15 minutes later he tries without changing anything and it opens.  Same behavior as the original user who had this problem.  Am I missing something??
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by:DarrinZuroff
ID: 38752594
I forgot to mention that I am going to restart my Exchange server tonight just in case there is something quirky happening on the server.
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by:Manpreet SIngh Khatra
ID: 38754840
Could possibly be something on the server ... so will await your update

- Rancy
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DarrinZuroff earned 0 total points
ID: 38754983
I feel like I had a breakthrough this morning.  I received a call from my third user complaining about the same issue so at that point I knew it had to be related to Exchange.  

After digging some more I think I finally found it!

First of all, I found this in my Exchange server's event viewer:

Event Type:      Error
Event Source:      MSExchangeIS
Event Category:      General
Event ID:      9646
Date:            1/8/2013
Time:            8:03:13 AM
User:            N/A
Computer:      EXCHANGE1
Description:
Mapi session "/O=COMPANY/OU=DOMAIN/cn=Recipients/cn=USER" exceeded the maximum of 32 objects of type "session".

Apparently it has something to do with adding a large additional mailbox to your profile while running in cached mode which causes you to  exceed the maximum allowed MAPI connections (set to 32 by default) to Exchange 2003.  Exchange then drops the connection and since the the default server's MAPI life is 2 hours you have to wait that long before you can connect again.  This explains all the symptoms I have been seeing.

I did not change any Exchange settings, but for now I disabled "Download Shared Folders" in Outlook as the article suggests so we will see if that takes care of the issue.  Below are links to the two articles I found.

http://techierambles.blogspot.com/2008/09/outlook-2007-stuck-disconnected.html

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/842022
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by:Manpreet SIngh Khatra
Manpreet SIngh Khatra earned 500 total points
ID: 38755083
Yes we can create some registry and get this above 32 Objects ..... but that simply would mean next time the error could be for 50 Objects ..... so we will change once but will modify if much need be

I guess its more of users earlier RPC connections arent getting closed due to some network latency or user using multiple devices to access their mailbox

- Rancy
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by:DarrinZuroff
ID: 38755671
Unchecking "Download shared folders" did not work because the user experienced a disconnect after I disabled it.  I am confident the problem my users are having is related to the MAPI connection limit but now I don't know the best direction to take or how to find out why they are exceeding the maximum MAPI connection limit.  I am reluctant to change settings on Exchange so I would like to find out what is happening on the client side first.  In the case of the disconnect from this morning, the user has three devices connecting to Exchange.  An IPad, IPhone, and a laptop running Outlook 2007.  He has had the three connected for quite awhile and never had Outlook issues until today.  Looking back in my Exchange log I am seeing Event 9646 show up quite a bit so I am thinking it is related to multiple devices connecting to Exchange.  I can do two things on my Exchange server to possibly help: 1. Increase the maximum allowed MAPI connections.  2. Decrease the MAPI session life from 2 hours to a shorter time.  

The problem is I don't know what the global impact will be by changing these values.  If I do have to change these settings in Exchange, how can I find out what I should change them to without causing additional problems on the server?
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by:DarrinZuroff
ID: 38756511
I elected to decrease the MAPI session by decreasing the TCP keepalive time to 5 minutes as doing so is actually recommended by Microsoft via this article.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/315669

This may not fix the client-side issue but it will tell the server to close idle MAPI sessions after 5 minutes instead of 2 hours.

I am still trying to figure out why so many sessions are being created from the client.  I had one case of 41 Oulook logons for one user when I looked it up in Exchange System Manager.  I am wondering if there was a recent Office update that changed something because this issue just started about a week ago.
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by:Manpreet SIngh Khatra
ID: 38763524
I wouldnt set the limit so short .... i would if you say take 2 steps

Set to close any idle session to 25-30 mins
Set the ObjectMessage to 40

Is the Chimney disabled on NIC's ?

- Rancy
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by:DarrinZuroff
ID: 38763622
Just so I understand, is there a negative impact to setting the idle session timeout to 5 minutes?  The procedure to change the setting is the same as what is indicated in the MS article explaining how to harden the TCP/IP stack against DoS attacks on servers connected directly to the internet, but maybe that doesn't apply to Exchange?

I already changed it to 5 minutes and so far I haven't had any issues, but if a 5 minute timeout could potentially create issues I will lengthen the timeout period.

Is chimney the same thing as Checksum Offload?  If yes, then it is enabled.

Checksum Offload
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by:Manpreet SIngh Khatra
Manpreet SIngh Khatra earned 500 total points
ID: 38764122
is there a negative impact to setting the idle session timeout to 5 minutes? - I simply say its too less a time

Yes its the same and ideally this is set to None but let me share more data on this

http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/winserverhyperv/thread/d90e5265-de70-4ea0-9396-401a0eacdde7
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/951037
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/912222

Please go through and if doubts do let me know ..... just for your understanding

- Rancy
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Author Closing Comment

by:DarrinZuroff
ID: 38848301
By doing research I found the cause of the problem I was experiencing.
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