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Outlook meeting invitation has no accept / decline options.

Posted on 2015-01-13
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Last Modified: 2015-02-11
We have Exchange 2010 (v14.3 Build 123.4) running on SBS2011.   When a meeting invitation is sent to some external users, it is received as an email containing the subject and body text, but the rest is missing (location, time, accept/decline buttons).  Other external users receive the invitation as expected.

The problem is consistent in that a specific external user will either always or never receive the invitations properly.  The external users report that they receive invitations from other organisations as normal.

Sending the invitations from Outlook 2003 or 2010 has the same result.  In Outlook 2010, we have tried un-ticking the option "when sending meeting requests outside of your organisation, use the iCalendar format" but this makes no difference.

We use Exclaimer Mail Disclaimers so this was suspect,  but it does not add a disclaimer to meeting invitations.

How can we troubleshoot this further?  Thanks in advance!
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Question by:David Haycox
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9 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:Simon Butler (Sembee)
ID: 40546392
To be honest, this is the expected behaviour.
Calendar invites going to external parties should not be expected to work correctly. They are an internal thing only that will work with external recipients, sometimes.
Exclaimer, AV software, spam filtering software etc can all damage the formatting of the email so Outlook doesn't understand it correctly.
As it is with one recipient only, it is probably something at their end which is causing the problem, and as such it is outside of your control.

Simon.
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Expert Comment

by:Tej Pratap Shukla ~Dexter
ID: 40546431
Hi DavidOHaycox...

Agreed with Simon Butler' comment that it is probably something at their end which is causing the problem. you may try the following steps i found after searching on internet

1.       Repair Office
2.       Turn off Cached Exchange Mode
3.       Create a new profile

Please let me know the results at your earliest convenience. If anything is unclear or if there is anything I can do for you, please feel free to let me know.

Thanks
Dexter
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Author Comment

by:David Haycox
ID: 40546435
Actually it's at least two recipients at different organisations, but I take your point nevertheless.  Isn't it supposed to be a standard that works across different email clients though?

I've been trying to avoid the temptation to say "it's not my problem" and liaise with the IT departments in question, but I pretty much expect them to tell me that they think it's my issue (as they can receive appointments fine from other senders, allegedly).

If AV, anti-spam etc. can damage the formatting, surely these can be configured so they don't do this?  For example, if the recipient's anti-spam is stripping part of the message, and I can find out what exactly it doesn't like about it, then I would hope that I could configure the sender's end so they play nicely together.

Do you have a link to anything that looks official (e.g. from Microsoft) that says it's expected not to work externally?  That would at least allow me to tell the users with some authority that there's nothing I can do about it.

Thanks!
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Author Comment

by:David Haycox
ID: 40546439
Dexter: thanks, I will suggest this but this depends on the recipient's IT people doing this for me or (unlikely) allowing me to do this myself on their users' machines.  Will post back when I have more information.
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LVL 11

Expert Comment

by:Tej Pratap Shukla ~Dexter
ID: 40546448
Welcome Dear..

Also give a try to these steps : -

1). Start Microsoft Outlook.

2). On the Tools menu, click Options.

3). Click the Mail Format tab, and then click Internet Format.

4). Click Restore Defaults, and then click OK.

Thanks
Dexter
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LVL 63

Expert Comment

by:Simon Butler (Sembee)
ID: 40546453
Its an Exchange feature, the iCalendar is a standard (much the same as SMTP) which is open to interpretation by the various vendors. As such it can kind of work, but can also break.

With regards to AV/Anti-Spam, it isn't usually something they are doing that you can change the configuration of. It is just how the scan the message and then alter it in some way to break the formatting of the message so it isn't understood.

As for finding something from Microsoft saying it doesn't work outside - that doesn't exist. No vendor creates documentation stating things don't work as clearly as that. It is based on experience. You might find something on an independent web site, but that probably isn't enough.

Simon.
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Author Comment

by:David Haycox
ID: 40546495
Simon: fair enough, thanks.

Dexter: is this on the sender's Outlook, the recipient's, or both?

Thanks
David
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Accepted Solution

by:
David Haycox earned 0 total points
ID: 40594087
This was resolved by amending the configuration on the (Linux) mail servers that were used as a smart host.  The problem related to the way TNEF files (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transport_Neutral_Encapsulation_Format) were handled.

Previously the TNEF file was extracted, the contents scanned it was sent it on its way if it was clear.  Somehow this affected the original, but only for certain recipients.  The resolution was to set the systems to not treat TNEF files as archives.
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Author Closing Comment

by:David Haycox
ID: 40602744
Expert comments did not lead to resolution; problem solved otherwise.
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