Exchange Messaging Outlook Volume 11, Number 21

Issue Date January 18 2007 «  Previous Issue | Next Issue  »  

Greetings! Welcome to Vol. 11, No. 20 of Exchange Messaging Outlook, a biweekly newsletter about Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft Outlook.

Today's highlights:

Regular features:

 

The Sky is Falling

That's how it seemed this week after reading blogs and SlashDot reports on Outlook 2007's use of Word for HTML rendering. This change effectively breaks some email formatting techniques used by spa: uh, bulk mailers. While many admins would like Microsoft to remove HTML rendering completely, that is not the focus of this problem nor is it the solution - HTML formatted emails are here to stay and are preferred by the vast majority of users. What's open for discussion is how much HTML should be supported in email.

The problem facing email marketers is real but I'm not convinced its really for the worse. The vast majority of HTML email looks just fine in Outlook 2007. Yes, it means more work for "email designers" and they'll need to change their techniques, but do we really need background images in tables or flash embedded in messages? Email doesn't need active content- save it for a web page. (Outlook hasn't supported some active content types for several years).

Because email is a push technology, its not an appropriate medium for heavy HTML and applets and flash don't belong in email. Keep it light and include a link to a web page if you think you need applets or flash to get your message across. Scripts and forms haven't worked well in Outlook some time, for security reasons, and many admins configure their email filters to block, delete or mark messages with this type of content as spam.

Most users won't notice a difference in the rendering with 98% of their mail. The following will disappointing news to anyone who receives messages with busy or dark backgrounds: messages with a background image, such as found in email stationery, send and receive as well in Outlook 2007 as they do in Outlook 2003. Sorry, it's only tables that don't handle background images and colors. Animated gif's are not animated in Outlook 2007, unless you open the message in Internet Explorer. Many features, such as scripting, text boxes, and CSS, that are "broken" in Outlook work fine when opened in a browser. To do this, from an open message, choose Other Options, View in Browser. (Older versions of Outlook have a similar option on the View menu that allows active content to work: Open in Internet zone. )

The typical user composes messages in Outlook and changing fonts or adding a picture accounts for most of their email design skills. A few more choose from among Outlook's stationery. These users and their recipients won't notice a change in the rendering engine. Email marketers will need to change their ways, and they will, just as they learned how to work around Outlook 2003's Blocked External Content setting and antispam filters.

Read what others have to say on this issue:
http://developers.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/01/13/1911226
http://joe.hardy.id.au/blog/2006/11/21/broken-html-rendering-in-outlook-2007/
http://www.sitepoint.com/blogs/2007/01/10/microsoft-breaks-html-email-rendering-in-outlook/ 
http://www.campaignmonitor.com/blog/archives/2007/01/microsoft_takes_email_design_b.html 

A screenshot of a message "broken" in Outlook 2007 - I'll add images of problem messages as I get them.
http://www.slipstick.com/outlook/ol2007/rendering.htm

MSDN Article on Outlook's HTML support:
http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa338201.aspx

2007 Office System Tool: Outlook HTML and CSS Validator
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=0b764c08-0f86-431e-8bd5-ef0e9ce26a3a&displaylang=en

Is Microsoft Cannibalizing its Exchange Server Business?

David asked me to share this with our subscribers:

"Is Microsoft cannibalizing its Exchange Server business?

This is exactly the question I asked myself after reading a report commissioned by Microsoft entitled "The Advantages of a Hosted Messaging Security Solution" by Osterman Research. The white paper argues that given the recent rise in spam and new regulatory issues, a hosted messaging solution is a more viable alternative than building and maintaining an on-premise mail system. And, especially for mid-sized businesses, it costs the same or less to outsource your business' messaging.

My name is David Spark and I'm an editor working with Microsoft on this white paper which has been posted as a wiki at http://www.mehsreport.com/ . As you know, Microsoft purchased Frontbridge and is now offering a hosted messaging solution entitled Exchange Hosted Services (EHS). Looking to understand the product and its market introduction I interviewed many of the members of the EHS team. When I asked them the number one question on mind, "Are you cannibalizing their Exchange Server business with the introduction of EHS?" they responded, "We're not cannibalizing business, we're saving it." Their theory being: if businesses do want to choose a hosted solution over managing it in-house, Microsoft wants to provide all available options instead of losing the client to a competitor.

I was interested in your response to this comment and your opinion of the findings in the report. When does it make sense to build your mail system and when does it make sense to outsource services? It is a wiki so feel free to edit, add real world experiences, and agree or refute the claims made in the report.

I look forward to your comments."

You'll need to register with the wiki to post messages or make changes.

Outlook 2007 Tip: Hide Calendars

In Outlook 2003, Outlook initially adds all of the calendars in your profile to the Calendar navigation bar. You can then remove calendars from the My Calendars and Other Calendars section by right clicking on the calendar name and choosing to remove it from the list. This removes it just from the list, not from Outlook completely.

This behavior changes in Outlook 2007. Outlook still adds all of your calendars to the two lists but you can't remove them, except by deleting them from Outlook. You can hide the calendars you don't want to see by adding a new Calendar group (use the "Add New Group" link) and dragging calendars to it then collapsing the group name so only the group name shows.

It's slow if you have a lot of calendars, but it works.

Outlook Saved Searches

The security update for MS07-003 breaks the ability to save searches (Advanced Find's File, Save menu) or open previously saved searches in Outlook 2003. Existing *.oss files no longer open using the menu and you cannot save new ones, as the Open and Save menu items are grayed out. If you use saved searches, you can edit the registry and enable this capability, if you prefer not to save them as Search folders. (Note that Outlook 2007 doesn't allow you to save searches and there is no "fix". )

This is caused by a security update, MS07-003
(http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/ms07-003.mspx) that was released Jan 9.

Description of the security update for Outlook 2003: January 9, 2007
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/924085

For more information and the fix, see
You cannot open or save Office Saved Searches (.oss) files in Outlook
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/925542

Update Troubles

It seems recent updates for Outlook are causing some problems (beyond the inability to save searches), with Outlook 2003 crashing after the installation. Uninstalling the update mentioned in KB924085 and the Junk E-mail filter in KB925534 allow Outlook to work again if Detect and Repair doesn't help.

Description of the security update for Outlook 2003: January 9, 2007
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/924085
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New Utilities

PLAINSIGHT DESKTOP CALENDAR
http://www.desksware.com/Home.htm
PlainSight Desktop Calendar is a great looking calendar which can be full integrated with wallpaper. It can get data from Outlook and display them on the desktop. It can also get weather forecasts from a weather information server.


STELLAR PHOENIX MAILBOX PROFESSIONAL PST RECOVERY SOFTWARE
http://www.stellarinfo.com/outlook-pst-file-recovery.htm
Stellar Phoenix Outlook PST Recovery Software is designed to repair and restore data from damaged or corrupted Microsoft Outlook file. This Outlook recovery software scans the damaged .pst file and extracts and saves information in a new usable .pst file, enabling PST Recovery. In addition, Phoenix-Outlook mail recovery software allows you to recover accidentally deleted messages that have been emptied from the "Deleted Items" folder in Outlook.

Updated Utilities

REDEMPTION
http://www.dimastr.com/redemption/
Now at Version 4.3. Supports Outlook 2007. This update contains many new features and bug fixes. See http://www.dimastr.com/redemption/history.htm for a complete list of changes in this build.

OUTLOOKSPY
http://www.dimastr.com/outspy/
This update adds full support for the final version of Outlook 2007. It has a new hex viewer and editor for the binary (PT_BINARY) MAPI properties, a new script editor ("Script Editor" window and "Script" tab for the IDispatch-derived objects), along with several new symbolic MAPI property tags. OutlookSpy version 2.11 build 2.11.0.422

New Exchange Knowledge Base Articles

Description of the "Maintain per-user read and unread information" setting in Exchange Server 2003
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/929396

You are not prompted for a user name or a password when you connect to the /rpc virtual directory, and you receive a blank page in Outlook 2003
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/930362

New reply content is discarded when you reply to or forward an e-mail message in Exchange Server 2003
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/929872

Error message when you try to change the offline address list server from Exchange Server 2007 to Exchange Server 2003: "The target server cannot support OAB"
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/922817

Using the Exchange Timezone Data tool
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/930879

How to create a Group Policy object to cause Outlook 2003 to use plain text for e-mail messages
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/930508

New Outlook Knowledge Base Articles

Error message when you use the spelling checker to check the spelling of an e-mail message in Outlook: "No Custom dictionary exists" or "Error occurred while checking spelling"
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/930478

You receive incorrect responses to a meeting request in Outlook 2003
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/929248

Description of the Outlook 2003 hotfix package for the Finnish stand-alone version of Outlook 2003: December 20, 2006
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/929546

Description of the Office 2003 post-Service Pack 2 hotfix package: January 4, 2007
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/930358

Description of the Outlook 2003 Junk E-mail Filter update: January 9, 2007
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/925534

You cannot open or save Office Saved Searches (.oss) files in Outlook
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/925542

You cannot connect to an MSN POP3 server from Outlook 2007 or from earlier versions of Outlook on a Windows Vista-based computer
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/930008

How to create a Group Policy object to cause Outlook 2003 to use plain text for e-mail messages
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/930508

MS07-001: Vulnerability in Microsoft Office 2003 Brazilian Portuguese Grammar Checker that could allow remote code execution
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/921585

Description of the security update for Outlook 2003: January 9, 2007
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/924085

Description of the Outlook 2003 Junk E-mail Filter update: January 9, 2007
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/925534

You cannot open or save Office Saved Searches (.oss) files in Outlook
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/925542

MS07-001: Vulnerability in Microsoft Office 2003 Brazilian Portuguese Grammar Checker that could allow remote code execution
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/921585

How to create a Group Policy object to cause Outlook 2003 to use plain text for e-mail messages
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/930508

Description of the security update for Outlook 2003: January 9, 2007
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/924085
 
You cannot connect to an MSN POP3 server from Outlook 2007 or from earlier versions of Outlook on a Windows Vista-based computer
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/930008

Error message occurs when you repair, update, or start an Office 2003 program: "Error 2908. An internal error has occurred"
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/929681

Error message when you try to start Outlook 2003 on a Windows XP-based computer: "The connection to the Microsoft Exchange Server is unavailable"
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/831949 

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