How does outlook handle a blank Autoconfig.xml file?
Posted on 2013-01-24
We had an issue last weekend with our web provider freaking out due to an unusual high number of requests for the autoconfig.xml file. Our exchange box was down for extended maintenance, so apparently all of the outlook clients started hitting our public facing web host to retrieve a new autoconfig.xml in order to verify settings, etc. The host's firewall blocked our access for requesting a file that doesnt exist too many times.
as a "favor", our web host created a blank autoconfig.xml file to allow the server to serve up the requested file and not bog down the server with 404 errors. They stated the problem was solved because they added that file, but I suspect its more likely that since exchange is functional, the workstations arent requesting the file so from their end they THINK they fixed it.
At this time its not causing any issues because the exchange server is up, but there is scheduled maintenance this weekend and I'm concerned that as soon as exchange drops, workstations will start referring to that blank file and I have absolutely no idea what the repercussions will be.
What happens when outlook hits an absolutely blank (as in 0 byte, no contents whatsoever, not even header/formatting data, etc) autoconfig.xml file? Will this cause problems for my workstations, or will they ignore the absolute lack of data and carry on with the original config?