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Outlook Sorted by Category View Exhibits Jumping Behavior after Exchange 2013 Migration

Posted on 2014-02-12
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Last Modified: 2014-10-02
After migrating from Exchange 2007 to Exchange 2013 users are experiencing an issue with Outlook when mail is sorted by category.  While in "by categories" view and clicking through non-categorized mail it will eventually yank focus back up to the top of the inbox.  It doesn't jump to the first message, but actually up to the category header, which in this case is the (none) category.  This erratic behavior causes usability issues as the user cannot work within the inbox without frequently having the focus jerked away.

It only impacts users on Exchange 2013 (I have the 07 server coexisting and still have some users on 07, it doesn't impact them at all).  We are not using Cached Exchange Mode on with any users.

It doesn't matter which client they are using - Outlook 2010 or Outlook 2013, the issue is the same.

Launching Outlook with /cleanviews or /cleanrules does nothing, the issue persists.

Launching Outlook in safe mode does not stop the problem (concluding it's not an add-in issue).

The only view mode that it impacts is Categories.  None of the others (date, subject, to, from, type, etc) will exhibit this behavior.  It is specifically tied to Category view.

It seems to be exacerbated by quickly switching from email to email.  If I go very slow it will often take a while to trigger the jump.  By clicking through emails quickly I can cause it to trigger easily.

Has anybody experienced this before and is there any solution that doesn't involve moving mail out of the inbox and using a different grouping method?  I have a few users that prefer to keep some messages in their inbox and sorting by category, which pushes the categorized mail to the bottom within their own groups.
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Question by:cowanbenefits
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29 Comments
 

Expert Comment

by:Andy Ackmann
ID: 40183517
Did you ever get this resolved? I'm having the same issue.

Exchange 2007 / 2013 migration. Once the shared mailbox and the users who access it were on exchange 2013, they started experiencing the "jumping" issue. They all have Outlook 2007 clients and it only happens when sorting by category. All are in cached mode except for one and they all experience the issue. I tried recreating the outlook profile on a couple of their computers and still does it.
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Expert Comment

by:Alan Hardisty
ID: 40183647
Hopefully you have covered the obvious problems of Exchange and Windows being 100% up-to-date with all Service Packs / Rollups etc and all Office updates are installed ruling out a patch fixing the problem?

What flavour of Windows are the clients?

Alan
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Expert Comment

by:Andy Ackmann
ID: 40183709
Yea sir. Exchange 2013 is on CU 5 (the latest). The clients are all running Windows 7. Some x64, and some x32, but they're all current on windows updates. They all have Office 2007 installed with the latest updates.

My next step, I'm going to try to bump one of them up to Office 2013. We're moving that direction anyways. I have Office 2013 on my machine and I don't seem to be having the issue. Then again, I'm not using the shared mailbox as heavily as they are. I don't want to go in and change a bunch of their categories and mess up their work.

I'm going to try the Office 2013 thing tomorrow. So I'll post back here with updates.

Thanks! Andy
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Expert Comment

by:Alan Hardisty
ID: 40183743
Okay - that's good.  Just trying to think which of our customers has a similar setup that I could ask them to test with and conveniently, the one I'm building a virtual server for at this precise moment fits the bill.  They have Outlook 2007 with Office 365 (Exchange 2013).

I'll ask one of them to test it out and see if they have the same problem.

Does it happen fairly quickly after sorting by category?

Do you have a lot of categories setup?

Alan
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Expert Comment

by:Andy Ackmann
ID: 40183763
They have 22 categories set up. It's the same amount they had when we were on exchange 2007. They haven't added any since the migration (2 nights ago).

And it happens just kind of randomly. But usually within a minute or two. Once you organize your view by category, then start clicking to view different emails, and maybe mark a category for one of two of them, then it almost seems like there's a "refresh" or something, and it scrolls you all the way back up to the very top of the inbox.
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Expert Comment

by:Alan Hardisty
ID: 40183774
Thanks for the info.

Out of curiosity - have you tried Outlook in Safe mode (Start> {type} outlook.exe /safe)?

Does it have the same problem?

Alan
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Expert Comment

by:Andy Ackmann
ID: 40183786
Yea, I tried safe mode, same behavior. Also, like I said before, tried creating a new outlook profile for a couple users, still nothing. I've been trying anything I can think of. I'm going to try moving the shared mailbox over to a different mail database tonight, to try to rule out any funny business with that.

Thanks for working on this, it's much appreciated!
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Expert Comment

by:Alan Hardisty
ID: 40183819
Not a problem - happy to help (not that I am much so far by the looks of things).

You could well have found a new 'feature' that Microsoft aren't aware of yet!!

Have you tried Outlook in Cached Mode?  You mentioned "We are not using Cached Exchange Mode on with any users." in your question (which I just re-read and saw about the Safe mode!)?

Non-cached mode isn't 'default' for most of the users we support, and we haven't heard of the problem before, so that could be part of the issue.

Alan
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Expert Comment

by:Andy Ackmann
ID: 40183828
I said in the original comment that all users were in cached mode except for one. I also tried taking another user out of cached mode and it still happened :(   So cached mode does not seem to affect the "jumping" behavior either.

Thanks,
Andy
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Expert Comment

by:Alan Hardisty
ID: 40183875
Sorry - you seem to have hijacked someone else's question and I hadn't noticed.

This question was asked by cowanbenefits and I've just realised that that's not you!

You should really either just monitor this question or ask your own so that it doesn't get confusing - I was assuming (incorrectly) that you were the original person asking the question.

Alan
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Expert Comment

by:Andy Ackmann
ID: 40183878
I'm sorry! I did hijack it. I just really wanted to see if he got it figured out or not since he hadn't replied in a while...
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Author Comment

by:cowanbenefits
ID: 40183883
We are still having the issue and yes we are fully patched except CU5, which aackmann has and is still having the issue... Win 2012, Exchange 2013, Win 7, Office 2010, and Office 2013. We have an open support ticket with Microsoft and no resolution.

Office 2013 does not make a difference.
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Expert Comment

by:Alan Hardisty
ID: 40183888
He/she probably hasn't replied because no-one has picked up this question and tried to assist until today when I got an email asking me to look at the question directly from the site administrators (because all other calls for help have fallen on deaf ears)!

It's not a big problem - just gets confusing for poor souls like myself when you are responding sounding very much like the person asking the question ;)

Alan
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Expert Comment

by:Alan Hardisty
ID: 40183892
Good timing cowanbenefits ;)

So - sounds like between the two of you that all angles have been covered and if MS are stumped, then you could well have found a bug that they will no doubt be fixing further down the line.

How long have they had to work on the issue?

Alan
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Expert Comment

by:Alan Hardisty
ID: 40183920
Just a thought - what are both of you using for AV software on your respective Exchange servers / clients?

Alan
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Accepted Solution

by:
Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy earned 500 total points
ID: 40183926
So, I was able to replicate your problem with my own mailbox -- I don't use many categories, just three -- but one of them had only three messages in it.  When I clicked on one of those messages, it jumped back to the "(none) area... but the reason it did this was that there were actually 240 items in that category -- 237 of which hadn't been downloaded from the server yet.

The thing is that Outlook no longer downloads an entire mailbox (either full items in cached mode or just the headers in non-cached mode).  By default, it will only bring down the last 12-months of items.

Normally, most folks sort their inbox by date received -- so you don't notice the problem when you scroll down to older messages -- they just fall into line -- but if you use a view other than by date received anything older than 12 months won't appear until you click on something close to where it should be.

In Cached Mode you can modify this to have it cache more than 12-months of items which should stop that behavior.

After setting Outlook to use Cached Mode, you need to slide the "Mail to keep offline" selector from 12-months to "all".

12 months
All
Note that for users with very large mailboxes -- make sure there is enough hard drive space to handle the .ost file.
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Expert Comment

by:Alan Hardisty
ID: 40183933
Nice one Jeff!  That'll teach me to switch to a Mac!!
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Expert Comment

by:Alan Hardisty
ID: 40183942
Mind you!!!!!

Outlook 2013 has the ability to only cache the last x months of mail, but not Outlook 2010 / 2007 and even in non-cached mode, the same thing happens apparently, so not sure we are any closer here (sorry to be negative!).
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Expert Comment

by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
ID: 40184102
I don't have 2010 or 2007 to test with right now -- but I would suspect that in non-cached mode the amount of headers downloaded is controlled by the server and at the bottom of the message list there is a link for "get more from the server" or some such wording.

Because in non-cached mode, Outlook needs to compile the entire Inbox every time its opened, and it makes sense that if there are only 3,000 headers for the past year, but 20,000 in total that it would only pull the first 3,000 down until there is a request for more.

To compare -- if you have 12 folders in your mailbox -- each with thousands of items in them -- each folder won't actually populate with headers until you open it.  No need to draw down all that info if you aren't even going to look at it.

As I mentioned above -- when sorting by received date you hardly notice the additional headers coming into view.  But any other sort will cause the view to be very jumpy as items are still pulled down in chronological order --  and item download will prioritize where you are currently browsing, inserting themselves into whatever sorted view you have defined.

I do believe this is the cause and that non-cached mode behavior on all three versions acts the same.  Switching to cached mode on 2007 or 2010 would definitely fix the problem and on 2013 would fix it if the setting was changed to cache all items.
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Expert Comment

by:Andy Ackmann
ID: 40184123
Hmm. 6 out of 7 of the people who are having the problem have been in cached mode. One person has not been in cached mode the whole time. I tried switching people back and forth and putting the non cached user into cache mode but the issue was still there. Do you know of a server-side setting for caching items on exchange 2013?

Thanks,
Andy
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Expert Comment

by:Andy Ackmann
ID: 40186260
I will be installing Office 2013 on the user's computer tonight, so I'll have that update tomorrow actually.

I did just want to add... I know some of you were talking about how in categories view, when you're looking through the folder, items may "jump" in because Outlook didn't automatically load "all" of the emails and may have left some older ones out until you "browse" past them... The oldest emails in the inbox of the shared mailbox are less than 1 month old. They are constantly working through the inbox and they move the emails off to another folder once they're done working it, so right now, there are about 90 emails in that inbox, none older than 1 month. I just wanted to add that in there.
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Expert Comment

by:Andy Ackmann
ID: 40190416
So I installed Office 2013 for one of the users. So far she hasn't complained of the "jumping" issue. I guess she wasn't working in the shared mailbox as much yesterday, but I told her to pay extra attention to it and let me know if she sees it. I'm probably going to upgrade one or two more of the others this weekend. The Outlook 2007 users were still complaining of the issue.
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Expert Comment

by:Andy Ackmann
ID: 40194713
I upgraded another user to 2013 and she also does not have the jumping issue anymore.

However, after the migration, the shared mailbox they work out of is causing that mailbox DB to crash every morning at like 8:45AM. So Exchange dismounts the DB and remounts it. But that is a seperate issue I'm gonna try to work on tonight.
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Author Closing Comment

by:cowanbenefits
ID: 40358025
Valid explanation regarding the issue and would be a valid solution if we were using Cached Exchange Mode.  However, we do not use Cached Exchange Mode and are not going to switch to doing so.  It does explain why it happens and a possible workaround.
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