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Does Outlook need GC to connect to Exchange?

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  • Does Outlook need GC to connect to Exchange?

    Hi Everyone,

    we have a situation here where remote users were not able to connect to the Exchange server after hardware upgrade and Exchange upgrade;

    here's the scenario.
    1. Exchange 2000 server was upgraded to Exchange 2003
    2. The server hosting Exchange 2000 is also a DC and GC
    3. two machines were acquired, one will be used as OWA and the other one will be used as Exchange server.
    4. All mailboxes have been transferred to Exchange 2003 server. Old Exchange 2000 has been un-installed then demoted the server as DC/GC. GC role has been transferred to other DC prior to demotion.
    5. reformatted old exchange 2000 server then install Exchange 2003. Transferred other mailboxes from the first Exchange 2003 to this second Exchange 2003 server.
    6. roll out a batch script to add OWA, and Backend Exchange Servers hostname and IP to the remote PC's host file.

    Number of servers:
    1. Server1 - the First Exchange 2003 server
    2. Server2 - Second Exchange 2003 server (formerly Exchange 2000 Server)
    3. Server3 - Owa server

    All of the above tasks have been completed successfully without any issues until we got reports from remote users that they cannot connect to their respective mailboxes. All remote user PC's are not a member of the Exchange Domain. They are just a stand alone desktop.

    here's what we have observe on the problem
    1. Only remote users experienced this problem.
    2. not all remote users on the same remote site experienced problem.
    3. mostly Win98 users with Outlook 2000 are not able to connect to Exchange. They got "unable to expand mailbox" or "credential supplied were incorrect" error message. they tried to access OWA with the same credential and they can connect successfully.
    4. Mostly users hosted in server1 experienced problem. Once their mailboxes has been transferred to server2 (formerly Exchange 200- original server) they will be able to connect successfully. weird


    I'm suspecting that Outlook clients were not able to contact the DC/GC server that's why they can't connect to Exchange. GC server is not included in the batch script that we roll out for updating the host file.

    Would you know any solution that we can apply to solve this issue? we have tried adding the GC/DC server in some of the machines host file but Outlook access were still unsuccessful.

    Please help.

    thanks!

    Jojo
    Last edited by jojo.solis; 30th September 2008, 08:44.

  • #2
    Re: Does Outlook need GC to connect to Exchange?

    Why did you do this:

    "roll out a batch script to add OWA, and Backend Exchange Servers hostname and IP to the remote PC's host file"

    Not required. If you have to add things to the hosts file for the network to work then you need to look at your name resolution as it isn't working correctly. I never use hosts files in any deployments, and if I find they have been used then I remove it immediately.

    As you are using Windows 98, have you deployed WINS? If not then you should.
    You need both WISN and DNS in a mixed environment like that.

    Adding things to the hosts file is a band aid, it doesn't actually resolve the true problem.

    Simon.
    --
    Simon Butler
    Exchange MVP

    Blog: http://blog.sembee.co.uk/
    More Exchange Content: http://exchange.sembee.info/
    Exchange Resources List: http://exbpa.com/
    In the UK? Hire me: http://www.sembee.co.uk/

    Sembee is a registered trademark, used here with permission.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Does Outlook need GC to connect to Exchange?

      Thanks Sembee for your reply.

      I agree with you that we shouldn't use hosts file, unfortunately, there are 600 remote users that are not properly configured to use the DNS located in the main office, these remote users have very slow connection going to the main office. we learned that rolling out the batch script is the quick solution rather than configuring each workstation to use the DNS. (this has been the setup before we took over)

      basically this works before but not after we upgraded to Exchange 2003.

      thanks for bringing up the WINS.... probably remote users can't connect to the WINS too (it's also located in main office).

      since DNS is not a possible solution for now.. Do I need to add the DC/GC server to the hosts file for the remote users to find the server and connect to Exchange?

      Thanks!
      Last edited by jojo.solis; 30th September 2008, 11:31.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Does Outlook need GC to connect to Exchange?

        Just because the configuration was there before, doesn't mean it was correct. When I take on a new client I work on the basis that the previous IT company was incompetent and check everything. If they were any good then I wouldn't have taken the business away from them.
        If a hosts file works, then there is no reason why DNS/WINS should not work either. If you can script that change then script the change to the DNS/WINS. You must be using some kind of VPN or remote access to the server for Outlook to work, so there is no reason why the DNS information should not be able to come across the connection.

        Simply put - if the users can connect to Exchange using Outlook, then they can connect to the domain controllers for DNS/WINS. Hosts files are nothing but a horrible kludge and I would strongly suggest that you start looking to resolve the underlying problem rather than persisting with a kludge, which will come back and cause a problem in the future.

        Simon.
        --
        Simon Butler
        Exchange MVP

        Blog: http://blog.sembee.co.uk/
        More Exchange Content: http://exchange.sembee.info/
        Exchange Resources List: http://exbpa.com/
        In the UK? Hire me: http://www.sembee.co.uk/

        Sembee is a registered trademark, used here with permission.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Does Outlook need GC to connect to Exchange?

          Thanks Sembee,
          honestly it's not that easy to change the DNS settings of these 600+ remote users. These users are not located in one location only, they are scattered across the Philippines and most sites has no support engineer. It would take days before the engineer can visit the site and do the configurations...

          But we will give a try adding the DNS in some sites that has engineer and see how we can proceed with the other sites...

          thanks a lot for your suggestions

          Jojo
          Last edited by jojo.solis; 1st October 2008, 16:23.

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