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Outlook IMAP Roaming Profile or Local Path AD

Posted on 2013-12-26
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Last Modified: 2014-11-12
I have only tried roaming profile through GP or Local path feature through AD few times for testing purpose from Server 2008 to domain users. But currently I have a requirement where all the users will be having outlook setup as IMAP type and whenever they login from their username to any other computer should have their outlook settings available as well besides their desktop and my documents.

We can't afford Microsoft exchange because we are already paying enough for Gmail services but I have been asked to setup outlook for users instead of going through gmail.
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Question by:ibrahim52
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by:Cliff Galiher
Cliff Galiher earned 500 total points
ID: 39741279
Outlook settings don't roam, even with roaming profiles. You simply cannot do what you want.
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by:ibrahim52
ID: 39741298
but when the entire user directory can roam then why not the outlook settings. I mean what if I have same version of Microsoft office in every computer ?
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Expert Comment

by:Cliff Galiher
ID: 39741379
Whether certain (or any) settings roam for any particular application is up to the application developer. They can mark certain settings as always local. You can open any user's profile folder on a client machine and you'll see three folders. Roaming, local, and locallow. An application can be written to store settings in any of the three, but only settings stored in the roaming folder will roam.

The outlook team decided to not have outlook profiles roam. I don't know why they made that decision. I can only tell you that you can't get what you want. It is just a limitation of outlook.
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by:ibrahim52
ID: 39741690
What if i am using the local path feature in Active Directory ?

You mean there is NO WAY to achieve mobility of Outlook profile in a domain environment. I guess you are right they didn't take this decision because they have Microsoft Exchange for that.
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by:Cliff Galiher
ID: 39742436
Correct. There is no way.
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by:ibrahim52
ID: 39744697
One more week in a hope to have few more views or some workaround and ill close this question cgaliher. Thank you very much. Undoubtedly your comments are really valuable and I really appreciate your quick responses. Thank you.
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by:Qlemo
ID: 39744925
There would be a way by scripting the IMAP account creation (if not already existing), but that would require to have the account info in plain text, or request to enter those (at least the password) if needed once per machine.

The probable reason why Outlook accounts are stored locally only is because security settings (e.g. passwords) are stored in a way only this particular machine (and user) can read. They won't be useful much with other machines. It is the same reason why a RDP file does not contain credential info valid on other machines than the one creating/changing the RDP settings.
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by:compdigit44
compdigit44 earned 1000 total points
ID: 39749174
I can only think of two suggestions...

1) Create a custom Outlook Profile (PRF File) using the Office Customization tool kit  and have the PRF file loaded using a logon script.  http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc179062(v=office.14).aspx

2) Using the PRF idea Publish Outlook from a central location using Citrix or RDP...
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by:ibrahim52
ID: 39755667
Instead of trying the above workaround. Is it possible to host any free email server and simply train the users to setup the outlook in 1,2,3 steps ?

I am asking because I have users who aren't tech savvy, they get panic first and then they call me to come and setup the outlook. Because no users has permanent computers and they keep using their AD user in different computers everyday.

Another thing which I was wondering is the REGISTRY file or a script which could setup the outlook automatically without the users input. I don't mind if the registry has plain password.
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by:Qlemo
Qlemo earned 500 total points
ID: 39755961
EMail account info is stored in the SAM, encrypted. No way to manage that via registry import.

A different email server wouldn't help, at least I cannot see any reason to do that.

Why not using the OCT / PRF way, as suggested by compdigit44 ? You can change the Outlook call to import the PRF file, and the PRF file itself should be created for each user individually.
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by:ibrahim52
ID: 39756282
Let me go through it and give it a try on one of the domain user through GPO and ill post the results over here this week. Thank you very much for your input.
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by:ibrahim52
ID: 39768724
I didn't get, if no user is having any permanent computer to use daily then why am I loading a script file on start up >?
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by:Qlemo
ID: 39768770
Why not? When they log in, something is created on the PC they use, as they need local storage. User info will get stored in the registry, folders created etc. All that can be destroyed on logoff, to leave a clean machine, but still, while they work, all that is there. Importing some settings doesn't change anything about that, but allows them to use Outlook.
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by:ibrahim52
ID: 39768788
I am sorry actually I am still confused, so each user will have a separate login script for their own outlook username and that will load on any computer?
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by:Qlemo
ID: 39768939
Yes, you'll need one especially customized login script per user, resp. a common one calling a user specific PRF file.
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compdigit44 earned 1000 total points
ID: 39769061
Please check out the following link on how to deploy Outlook setting via Group policy and PRF file..

http://www.howto-outlook.com/howto/deployprf.htm#script

Please let us know how you make out....

Good Luck
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Author Closing Comment

by:ibrahim52
ID: 39827766
It wasn't resolved for me but a lot of things I am aware of now and moving ahead with Exchange server.
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