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Exchange Messaging Outlook Volume 8, Number 12

Greetings! Welcome to Vol. 8, No. 12, 1 Oct 2003, of Exchange Messaging Outlook, a biweekly newsletter about Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft Outlook.

Today's highlights:
  • Exchange 2003 client access licenses
  • Download limits to combat Swen
  • Outlook collaboration using Windows SharePoint Services 2.0
  • Contacts and calendar sharing with SharePoint
  • SharePoint meeting and document workspaces
  • Customizing Outlook lists

Exchange 2003 client access licenses

A Microsoft TechNet chat on Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 last week stirred up some confusion about client access licenses (CALs). With Exchange 2000, each machine accessing a mailbox needed a license -- whether a PC running Outlook or a PDA with a POP client or a WAP phone. This "device CAL," as Microsoft now calls it, is no longer the only way to license Exchange clients. Exchange 2003 also offers the option of purchasing a "user CAL," which allows a single user to use Outlook 2003 (or any previous version) or a mobile device or Outlook Web Access or any standard Internet mail client on any machine anywhere to access their mailbox. You do not need to buy a separate license for the Outlook 2003 software (although you would need a separate license if you wanted to install the entire Microsoft Office 2003 suite).

To oversimplify the licensing picture, if you have a user who accesses their Exchange mailbox through multiple devices, buy them a user CAL. If you have a computer shared by multiple users, buy that machine a device CAL. The two types of CALs cost the same, and you can have both within your organization, although Microsoft suggests that license tracking could be a headache if you do.

A third client licensing option, the External Connector (EC) license, comes in addition to the regular device and user CALs and provides access to external users. These might include retirees, business partners, customers, school alumni, etc. -- but not employees. One EC license for each Exchange 2003 server permits unlimited usage by such external users.

Microsoft has answered most of the likely licensing questions on the pages below, and you can always call their licensing specialists to get answers as you plan an Exchange 2003 deployment.

How to Buy Exchange Server 2003
http://www.microsoft.com/exchange/howtobuy/enterprise.asp 

Exchange Server 2003 Licensing FAQ
http://www.microsoft.com/exchange/howtobuy/LicensingFAQ.asp

Download limits to combat Swen

Everyone's mail has been groaning with the load of hundreds of copies of the Swen virus. The best place to stop these is, of course, at the server. But what if your Exchange administrator or ISP doesn't have anti-virus software in place to do that? Outlook has options that make it possible to stop downloading those messages (and their 105kb file attachments).

The main concern for Exchange users is to avoid downloading Swen messages while working offline. In Outlook 2000, while working online, you can turn on a special "large messages" rule by choosing Tools | Synchronize | Offline Folder Settings, then Download Options. Check the Don't download messages larger than xx kb box, and set the size to 105kb. Messages that exceed that size will be moved to a Large Messages subfolder under your Inbox; don't set that folder to synchronize. You can set exceptions so that large messages from your boss or meeting certain other conditions will bypass the large messages filter.

In Outlook 2002 and 2003, you can filter messages by size through the Send/Receive Settings dialog. Select All Accounts or the send/receive group you want to modify, and click Edit. Select the Inbox folder for your mailbox, and then choose Limit Message Size. (I haven't tried this yet in cached Exchange mode with Outlook 2003.)

If you're downloading mail from a POP account, in Outlook 2002 or 2003, again edit the send/receive group choose Tools | Email Accounts and select the Inbox folder for your POP account. Check the box for Download only headers for items larger than and set the size to 105kb. When you get a Swen item in your POP account, Outlook will download only the message header. If you get a header from someone you know that looks unlikely to be a virus transmission, you can right-click it and mark it for download. When you delete the header, Outlook deletes the message from the server during your next send/receive session, at the same time as it downloads messages you've marked for retrieval.

Outlook 2000 Internet Mail Only users have no options like these for selective retrieval. Outlook 2000 in Corporate/Workgroup mode, however, offers the Tools | Remote Mail command to download and mark all headers; it's not as convenient as the send/receive group filter in later versions.

Outlook collaboration using Windows SharePoint Services 2.0

Microsoft this week released Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) 2.0, a free component for Microsoft Windows Server 2003 that succeeds the earlier SharePoint Team Services (STS). In a sense, WSS is the fulfillment of a long effort to provide a degree of workgroup-level collaboration for Outlook users that doesn't depend on Exchange Server. It's not a perfect solution, by any means, but is worth a look if you're in the market for a new server or a new server operating system (since WSS 2.0 requires Windows 2003).

Most user interaction with SharePoint takes place in the browser. The Outlook integration in this version is for Outlook 2003 only and consists of four features -- shared contacts, shared calendar, meeting workspaces, and document workspaces.

These sites can help you download the new component and find out more about WSS 2.0:

Main page at Microsoft (including download link)
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/technologies/sharepoint/ 

WSS FAQ
http://wss.collutions.com/default.aspx 

Windows SharePoint Services Administrator's Guide
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=a637eff6-8224-4b19-a6a4-3e33fa13d230

Contacts and calendar sharing with SharePoint

The contacts and calendar sharing between Windows SharePoint Services 2.0 and Outlook 2003 is one-way: When you click the Link to Outlook button on a SharePoint contacts or events list, Outlook 2003 adds a Personal Folders .pst file named SharePoint Folders to your profile and creates a folder that links to the data on the SharePoint site. A note in the status bar tells you when the data was last updated and when the next update will take place. You can also right-click the folder and choose Refresh to update the folder on demand.

The data in Outlook is read-only. You cannot create new SharePoint contacts or appointments in the Outlook folders, nor can you use Outlook to modify the SharePoint data.

You can, however, create and edit new SharePoint contacts and events with your browser, so a possible workaround is to set the folder home page for the top level of the SharePoint Folders .pst file to the SharePoint site's home page. Right-click the top-level folder, and choose Properties. Then switch to the Home Page tab, type in the URL for the SharePoint site, and check the box for Show home page by default for this folder.

It's easy to "seed" a new SharePoint contacts folder with addresses that already exist in Outlook. On the SharePoint contacts list's page, click Import Contacts, and then select the addresses you want to import from the Outlook Address Book. Click Yes when you see the Outlook security prompt. You may have to wait a few minutes, during which time Outlook may appear hung, but eventually the contacts should be available on the SharePoint site.

You can repeat the process any time you add new contacts to Outlook that you want to share: Use Import Contacts on the SharePoint page to select those contacts in your address book and import them to the SharePoint contacts list.

Note that users who don't have Outlook 2003 can still use the SharePoint contacts list as a workgroup address book. Instead of viewing it in Outlook, they can view it in their browser and click on any email address to create a new Outlook message to that contact.

SharePoint meeting and document workspaces

The meeting workspace feature in WSS 2.0 attempts to address what happens both before and after a meeting. When you use Outlook 2003 to create a meeting request, you'll see a Meeting Workspace button. Clicking that button opens the Meeting Workspace task pane on the right-hand side of the meeting request. Click the Create button to create a new workspace on the SharePoint site with lists for your agenda and meeting-related tasks, a document library, and depending on the workspace template you choose, possibly other lists. Outlook automatically updates the meeting request to add a link to the meeting workplace site.

Document workspaces work in a similar fashion to provide a collaboration space for working on a document. When you attach a file to an Outlook 2003 message, you can click the Attachment Options button on the message and send the document as a shared attachment. This creates a new document workspace on the SharePoint site where any user with access to the workspace can work on the document or related information. Users with Office 2003 can edit the copy of an Office document attached to the message and have those edits post automatically to the document workspace site. Other users can make their changes through the document workspace site itself.

Customizing Outlook lists

A frequently asked question from Outlook programmers is whether they can add values or otherwise alter the various drop-down lists in Outlook. These include the phone and e-mail selectors on a contact form, the values for the status of an appointment, and the texts available for a message flag. With two exceptions -- the category list and the entry types for a journal item -- these lists cannot be customized to add new values or change existing values. In some cases, the limitation is at the object level. For example, the AppointmentItem.Status property supports only four values, and those are the four found on the drop-down list. In other cases, the limitation is in the user interface: Microsoft simply provides no way to make changes.

The category list is a somewhat trivial exception, because Outlook includes a handy user interface for managing the categories in the Master Category List.

To customize the journal entry type list, you can add new keys to the HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Shared Tools\Outlook\Journaling registry key. Ben Schorr, an Outlook MVP, explained the details in an article at http://www.inquiry.com/techtips/exo_pro/10min/10min0999.asp.

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Updated Monday January 06 2014

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