I’m doing a little cross-pollination today. Chris Lehr, one of my colleagues at ExtraTeam, worked up a Log Parser script that produces a report showing all the clients versions connecting to Exchange. This is very helpful to show which clients are running Office versions in your organization that should be updated prior to migration. Check out his blog post here.
Clients will always get the best experience using the latest version of Office, currently Office 2013 SP1. The best practice is to always update your clients with the latest cumulative update prior to migration. this is especially true when you’re migrating to Office 365, since most updates pertain to Office 365, Exchange Online, and Exchange 2013 compatibility.
If you find that you need to upgrade clients to a new version of Office, I recommend that you install the x86 version of Office to provide the best compatibility with add-ons and third-party products. Some customers think they need to install Office x64 on Windows x64 operating systems, but that’s not the case. See 64-bit editions of Office 2013 for details on when it makes sense to install Office x64.
If you’re an Office 365 customer, I strongly recommend checking out using the Office 2013 ProPlus software deployment that’s most likely part of your Enterprise license. This version of Office 2013 can be installed on up to 5 PCs, iPads, tablets, etc. and is always up-to-date since it’s a cloud-managed service.
With the release of Office 2013 right around the corner and quite a number of people already running the Office 2013 Consumer Preview, I thought I’d update a previous article I wrote that speeds up Outlook performance.
How to Configure Fast Cached Exchange Mode Settings for Outlook 2010 and Outlook 2013 Using Group Policy explains how to configure Outlook 2010 and Outlook 2013’s Cached Exchange Mode send/receive behavior. With these changes Outlook cached mode behaves very similar to online mode. There is no change in network bandwidth with this configuration – it just configures Outlook to go on “mail runs” more frequently.
All versions of Outlook since Outlook 2003 have had a feature called Auto-Complete. Auto-Completion “remembers” recipient names and email addresses that you have used before and offers to complete the email address as you type characters. This works within Outlook and OWA 2010.
In Outlook 2003-2007, the Auto-Completion (aka NickName) data is stored in a hidden N2K file. This file is located in the following path:
This can usually be shortened to:
Microsoft changed the way Outlook 2010 handles Auto-Completion data so that it supports roaming users. Recipient AutoComplete lists are now stored on the Exchange Server. A user’s recipient AutoCompletion list is now available to any computer on which Outlook 2010 runs that is connected to the same Exchange account.
This article discusses how to migrate the older format N2K file to the new format on a new computer. This is helpful for when a user gets new hardware and wants to maintain their current Auto-Complete data. A good example is when an executive using Outlook 2007 gets a new laptop with Outlook 2010 pre-installed.
Copy the Outlook.nk2 file from the old computer to the following path: C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Outlook. This is a hidden folder so it’s easier to unhide the folder. Replace the user name variable with the actual user name.
Go to the Control Panel –Mail -Click Show Profiles and note the name of the user profile. This is usually Outlook
Make sure the User profile name (Outlook) is the same name as the NK2 file e.g. Outlook.nk2 again this is usually the case.
In the start menu search box(Run in XP) type Outlook.exe /importnk2
This should then populate the Outlook 2010 auto completion file with the data contained in the old NK2 file.
Open Outlook and compose a new email, type the first few characters and you should see your old email address auto populate.
Microsoft introduced Cached Exchange Mode in Outlook 2003, and it’s been the default configuration ever since. Cached Exchange Mode saves a copy of your mailbox on your computer which provides quick access to your data and is frequently updated with the Exchange server.
Cached Exchange Mode works like this: When the Exchange Server notifies Outlook of a change, the Download timer starts and Outlook delays receiving the change information. All notifications that occur in the 30 second window of the Download timer are grouped and processed as a batch at the end of the timer. The timer is then reset. Uploads to Exchange use a similar Upload timer, which lasts 15 seconds. For more information, see Description of Outlook 2003 with Cached Exchange Mode in an Exchange Server 2003 environment. This behavior is the same in Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010.
While this configuration reduces network utilization and load on the target Exchange servers, it reduces the “perceived” performance of Outlook/Exchange. Users who change from Online Mode to Cached Exchange Mode frequently complain about slow performance, since they’re used to the almost “instant messaging” behavior of Online Mode.
This behavior can be changed using a simple registry change, or, as I recommend, using Group Policy. By changing the Download, Upload, and Maximum timers to one second, your users will enjoy much improved email performance and you will still see improved network performance over traditional MAPI “Online Mode”.
Install the Fast Exchange Cached Mode GPO Administrative Template:
- Download the CachedMode.adm Group Policy administrative template and save it to a temporary folder.
- Open the Group Policy Management Console.
- Navigate to the Default Domain Policy, right-click it, and choose Edit.
- Navigate to User Configuration > Policies > Administrative Templates.
- Right-click Administrative Templates and select Add/Remove Templates.
- Click Add and browse to the location where you downloaded the CachedMode.adm template. Click OK.
- The Outlook 2010 Cached Mode Settings administrative template will be added under the heading “Classic Administrative Templates (ADM)“.
- Edit the Outlook 2010 Cached Mode Settings policy and Enable each of the three policies.
- Close the Group Policy Management Console.
The Outlook users will need to download the new policy and either restart their computer or restart Outlook to get the new settings.
If you are a VPN user or a mobile user who cannot receive Group Policy settings, you can download the FastCachedMode.reg file, and install it manually. Then close and re-open Outlook to get the new configuration.
Outlook 2010 features a new Outlook Social Connector that integrates Outlook with several social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter and My Space. The idea is to provide a pane at the bottom of each message that shows the recent social networking updates from the senders and recipients in each message. Outlook 2010 will also pull photos or avatars of the senders and recipients from these social networks to provide a fuller, richer and more personal messaging experience.
For more information about the Outlook Social Connector, see Announcing the Outlook Social Connector on the Outlook product team’s blog.
While this might be a good idea for home users or businesses that are more open to social networking, I find that most corporate networks block access to social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and My Space. This renders the Outlook Social Connector useless and takes up valuable screen real estate, as shown below.
If you happen to click the “People Pane” (highlighted in red above) it expands to show more information from the configured social networking sites, taking up even more room. Here’s how to get rid of it.
On the Outlook 2010 main screen click the View tab, then People Pane, then select Off. Viola!
It seems that you cannot access the Exchange 2010 Online Archive using Microsoft Outlook 2010 in the MSDN or TechNet versions of Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2010 RTM. This may be due to the product IDs provided on MSDN or TechNet.
The Online Archive is an Exchange 2010 feature that creates an optional associated archive mailbox for a user. Exchange move policies can be created to move content into the archive based on various critieria. Exchange 2010 RTM hobbled Online Archives by requiring that they exist in the same database as the associated mailbox, making their use limited. Exchange 2010 SP1 will improve Online Archives by allowing you to create remote Online Archives on a different server (perhaps with slower, cheaper storage). The Online Archive feature requires Exchange 2010 Enterprise Client Access Licenses (CALs).
The images below show the behavior in both Outlook 2010 Professional Plus (on the left) and Outlook Web App 2010 (on the right). Note the lack of of the Online Archive in Outlook.
I’ve confirmed this on several machines, running both Windows 7 x64 and Windows Server 2008 R2. I’ve completely uninstalled and reinstall Office 2010 Professional Plus with no effect. I also confirmed there is no change when using Outlook in Cached Exchange mode or online mode.
If you notice different behavior, I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below.