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Cannot open your default e-mail folders. Microsoft Exchange is not available.

Posted on 2014-04-30
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Last Modified: 2014-05-08
Hi guys
Before I pull my hair out, let’s see what the experts can help with.

I am a complete Exchange newbie. Previously worked with SBS where everything was easy and straight forward. The Company has now, rightly so, decided to upgrade MS Server 2012 with Exchange 2013, some VMs clusters and all things new to me.

I have built a test server to learn the new environment before the new equipment arrives and I have to install and implement it.

I have installed Server 2012 evaluation version with AD, DNS, DHCP and added 1 user other than the Administrator.
I have then installed Exchange server 2013 and setup – send connector, accepted domains, default address policy.

The created user is able to access mail via OWA and send emails to outside recipients and to the administrator but when I generate an account in Outlook I get the following error:
“Cannot open your default e-mail folders. Microsoft Exchange is not available. Ether there are network problems or the exchange Computer is down for maintenance”

I have spent countless hours trying different solutions found on the net, each time restoring the server from backup when the solution has not worked. Now I am asking for your assistance.

We have a lot of public holidays in South Africa at the moment so it might take me a few days to test and get back to you guys on success.
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Question by:Deon-YCG
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Expert Comment

by:Kimputer
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I suspect some DNS problems ? (Because OWA doesn't depend on DNS that much).
When you add the account to Outlook, and you press Check Username, does it work (i.e. the username changes to full name, and underneath will be the line)?
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Author Comment

by:Deon-YCG
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Yes, it populates with the server and users full names.
servername.domain.local
user@domain.co.za
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Accepted Solution

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Gareth Gudger earned 500 total points
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Are you using a self signed certificate for Exchange? If so, does your test client OS trust this certificate? Any certificate errors when using OWA?
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Author Comment

by:Deon-YCG
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I have created a self signed certificate without changing anything from the defaults.
When opening OWA I get the following error:

Error in IE when accessing OWA.

I have viewed and installed the certificate on the laptop I am using for testing.
Another note that might change thinking - the laptop I am testing with is registered on a different domain.
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Author Comment

by:Deon-YCG
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Some more searching.
I have  I have assigned the certificate to the “Trusted Root Certification Authorities” area.
I can now open OWA without any Security Alert.
Still get the same response from Outlook though.
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Assisted Solution

by:Gareth Gudger
Gareth Gudger earned 500 total points
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Yes, if it is in a different domain and it is a self signed cert you definitely would have gotten that error. Glad you got the certificate error resolved.

With regard to Outlook, if it is in a different domain, it likely can't contact the Exchange server via DNS.

Can you ping the Exchange server from the computer running Outlook by host name or fully qualified domain name? Does the correct IP come back?

The easiest solution for testing would be to put the client PC in the same domain as the Exchange server.

Otherwise you would be to configure Autodiscover and split-brain DNS.

This should allow your Outlook client to connect from anywhere.
http://www.mustbegeek.com/configure-external-and-internal-url-in-exchange-2013/

This article is for 2010, but the same namespace principles apply to Exchange 2013. See section 5 towards the bottom on configuring split-brain DNS.
http://supertekboy.com/2014/04/07/migrating-exchange-2003-2010-part-iii/
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Author Closing Comment

by:Deon-YCG
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Thanks
After putting my laptop on the new domain I was able to connect outlook to Exchange.
Now on to the next learning curve.
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Expert Comment

by:Gareth Gudger
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Awesome!
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