Exchange Messaging Outlook Volume 9, Number 7


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Greetings! Welcome to Vol. 9, No. 7, 8 July 2004, of Exchange Messaging Outlook, a biweekly newsletter about Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft Outlook.

Today's highlights:

Regular features:

  • New utilities
  • Updated utilities
  • Other Resources

 

SBS2003-EXCHANGE AND OUTLOOK PROFILES

Many Small Business Server 2003 sites use hosted POP3 mailboxes instead of configuring the Exchange server for incoming SMTP. They either use the POP3 connector included with the SBS server to download their email and deliver it to the Exchange mailboxes or configure Outlook to collect the POP3 mail directly and often set the POP3 to be the default e-mail account. This setup works quite well in the SBS environment, especially with Outlook 2002/2003.

When Outlook is configured to use the POP3 account as default some users discover the SBS Exchange account is reset as the default account every time they reboot. This is caused by a logon script included with SBS2003 that configures the client computers when the user logs on. The logon script includes a reference to sbsdefault.prf, an Outlook profile file which configures the user's Outlook profile automatically and sets the SBS Exchange account to be the default email account.

The logon script points to \\servername\Clients\Setup folder, which contains the PRF and other configuration files, including the configuration files needed to set Internet Explorer's home page to the SBS Windows Sharepoint Services (WSS) site. Any of these configuration files can be edited using Notepad.

Because you can run the Outlook profile file by double clicking or using a command line, the prf can be removed from the Setup folder and distributed to users the first time they use Outlook. When you use hosted POP3 or IMAP accounts, open the PRF in Notepad and edit the PRF, adding your POP3 or IMAP accounts to the profile to eliminate the need to configure accounts in Outlook later.

CREATING A PRF

The PRF is not just for Exchange server or corporate users, anyone can use a PRF to configure their profile. If you have many email accounts, a PRF can save time and aggravation if you need to recreate your profile or when you get a new computer. You can even use the Custom Installation Wizard (included in the Office Resource Kit) to create a PRF for you.
  1. Step through the CIW dialogs until you reach step 17, the Outlook: Customize Default Profile screen. (After step 4, can skip to step 17 using the button at the top of the CIW window.)
  2. Choose New Profile and enter a name for your profile.
  3. Add an Exchange account if you have one, otherwise go to the Add Accounts screen and add your POP3, IMAP, and HTTP accounts.
  4. Export the Profile settings on the next screen and exit.

Using it is easy: just double click on the PRF to open Outlook and your profile is created.

Once the PRF is created, use Notepad to edit existing accounts or add additional accounts, remembering to add the account number to Section 3 and the account values in Section 5.

Look for more information about the CIW, as well as links to download the Office Resource toolkit, in the Office Resource Kit at http://www.microsoft.com/office/ork/2003/default.htm. Links to previous versions of the resource kit on the Office 2003 ORK home page.

To learn more about PRF files, see
https://www.slipstick.com/outlook/ol2002/prftips.htm
Customizing Outlook Profiles by Using PRF Files http://www.microsoft.com/office/ork/2003/three/ch7/OutB03.htm
Whitepaper: Configuring Outlook Profiles by Using a PRF File http://www.microsoft.com/office/ork/2003/journ/PRFwhitepaperintro.htm.

Outlook Profiler is a useful tool for small sites to use to create Outlook profiles automatically, including configuring many of Outlook's options. http://goff.nu/products/windows/profiler/index.html.

Larger sites may be interested in AutoProf's Outlook ProfileMaker or Imanami's OProfile

CREATE VIEWS USING SQL/DAVX FILTERS

One of Outlook's little known gems is the SQL filter in the Views Filter dialog. Although it looks confusing and technical, it's surprisingly easy to use. In many cases, you can let Outlook create a query for you by creating your criteria on the other tabs then enable SQL filtering and edit the query as needed. While you can create power filters if you know some SQL syntax, you don't need to know a lot about SQL to create filters not possible using the other filter tabs.

If you use the filter dialog often, you've already discovered the filters use the AND operator to string different criteria together. For example, you can create filters to view messages "From Amy AND Received in the last 7 days ", but not filters for messages "From Amy OR Received in the last 7 days". The filter dialog doesn't support the NOT operator directly, although you can use the Advanced filter to create some NOT filters indirectly. Using the SQL filter, you can easily create OR and NOT filters.

When you create the filter "From Amy AND Received in the last 7 days", the SQL looks like this:

("urn:schemas:httpmail:fromname" LIKE '%Amy%' AND %last7days("urn:schemas:httpmail:datereceived")%)

Switch to the SQL tab and change the AND to OR, so the rule shows all e-mail from Amy OR all e-mail that was received in the last 7 days.

("urn:schemas:httpmail:fromname" LIKE '%Amy%' OR %last7days("urn:schemas:httpmail:datereceived")%)

You can also use the NOT operator to restrict views. This filter shows all messages not from Amy that were received before yesterday.

NOT ("urn:schemas:httpmail:fromname" LIKE '%Amy%' OR NOT "urn:schemas:httpmail:datereceived" <= 'yesterday')

RESTORE BUSINESS CONTACT MANAGER DATABASE

Imagine this scenario: you've been using the new Business Contact Manager with Outlook 2003 for several months and have a huge database built up. You know you need to back it up and BCM includes a simple to use backup (and restore) routine on the File, Business Database menu that you use regularly, but your computer crashed after you added new data to the BCM database but before you created a backup. While it's not a supported method, if you can access the database files, you may be able to swap database files, but keep in mind this method is for emergency use only and should not be relied on in place of a regular backup routine.

As you may know, BCM uses MSDE as the database engine. BCM stores the BCM database in two files with the extensions LDF and MDF, by default, the files are named MSBusinessContactManager.* and are located in the hidden C:\Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Business Contact Manager directory. If you can get those two files from the hard drive, you may be able to recover your BCM database.

Unfortunately, it's not as easy as dropping the two database files into the Business Contact Manager directory and telling BCM to use them.

You'll need to create a new database using the File, Data File Management menu and choose Add, then choose Business Contact Manager Database. Once the database is created, close Outlook and go to Administrator Tools, Services and stop the MSSQL$MICROSOFTBCM service.

After stopping the service, replace the newly created database files with the old database files (changing the file names if necessary) and restart the BCM service, then restart Outlook. You should now have your old BCM database back.

Using BCM's Backup and Restore is the only supported method of recovering your databases, so before you do anything else, make a backup of the database using File, Business Database, Backup. Remember to do it on a regular basis. Because swapping database files isn't supported, if this method doesn't work or causes database corruption, you'll need to recreate the database from your last backup.

Other Resources

SCRIPTS TO INSERT IMAGES INTO A MESSAGE BODY
http://pwp.netcabo.pt/rsoutlook/US/previewimages.htm
Two free scripts, one for Word and one for Internet Explorer to automate inserting images in the body of HTML messages. To use the Word script, put the image file in a Word document, then run the sendfromWord.vbs to create a message with the image in the word doc. Open the animated image file in Internet Explorer, and run the sendfromIE.vbs to create a message with the animated image. Power users can change the vbs files to better meet their needs.

More Information

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