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Improvements in Outlook Web Access 2003

 

Topic Last Modified: 2006-07-19

The new version of Outlook Web Access in Exchange 2003 contains improvements such as forms-based authentication, rules, spell checking, and the ability to send and receive digitally signed and encrypted e-mail messages. The user interface has also been redesigned to provide a user experience that is similar to that provided with Outlook 2003, including right preview pane and improved navigation pane.

Outlook Web Access for Exchange 2003 can perform faster, especially over slow connections, and therefore will be more responsive to user interactions.

The following sections briefly describes some of the new features for Outlook Web Access for Exchange 2003.

Bytes over the wire

The speed of Outlook Web Access has been improved by reducing the amount of information that must travel from the server to the browser. Fewer bytes are sent over the wire from server to browser. However, be aware that the logon process involves more bytes than the logon process in Outlook 2003.

Compression support

Administrators can configure compression support for Outlook Web Access, which improves performance on slow network connections and provides increased performance for most actions on slow network connections. Outlook Web Access compression works by compressing either static or dynamic or both types of Web pages, depending on the compression setting you are using. You can enable compression from Exchange System Manager.

Forms -based authentication

You can enable a new logon page for Outlook Web Access that will store the user's name and password in a cookie instead of in the browser. When a user closes the browser, the cookie is cleared. Additionally, after a period of inactivity, the cookie is cleared automatically. The new logon page requires users to enter their domain, user name, and password, or their full user principal name (UPN) e-mail address and password. To enable the Outlook Web Access logon page, you must enable forms-based authentication on the server.

S/MIME support

Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (S/MIME) increases the security of Internet e-mail by enabling digital signing of messages, in addition to message encryption. Digital signatures provide authentication, non-repudiation, and data integrity. Message encryption provides confidentiality and data integrity.

Outlook Web Access in Exchange 2000 did not support signed and encrypted e-mail. Now, with the new Microsoft Outlook Web Access S/MIME ActiveX control, users can digitally sign and encrypt e-mail messages. The S/MIME control works with any X.509 v3-based public key infrastructure (PKI) to provide the signing and encryption capabilities.

For more information about S/MIME support in Outlook Web Access, see What's New in Exchange Server 2003.

The improvements in features, functionality, and performance may affect decisions about which client your users should primarily use to access their Exchange information. In remote sites, Outlook Web Access may be the primary choice, which is a consideration when planning WAN connections and server placement.

Outlook Web Access versions

Exchange 2003 now includes two versions of Outlook Web Access:

Outlook Web Access Premium

Outlook Web Access Premium is designed for Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.01 or later. Outlook Web Access Premium contains all the Outlook Web Access features, including the new enhanced features for Exchange 2003.

noteNote:
Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 is required for some features.
Outlook Web Access Basic

Outlook Web Access Basic is designed to work in browsers that support the HTML 3.2 and the European Computer Manufacturers Association (ECMA) script standards. It provides a subset of the features available in Outlook Web Access Premium.

Increased browser support

The following table shows the new level of browser support for the operating systems offered by Outlook Web Access for Exchange 2003.

Browser support for Outlook Web Access for Microsoft operating systems

  Windows 98 Second Edition Windows ME Windows 2000 Windows XP Windows Server 2003

Internet Explorer 5.1

B,P

None

B,P

None

None

Internet Explorer 5.5

SP2

B,P

B,P

B,P

None

None

Internet Explorer 6

B,P

B,P

B,P

B,P

None

Internet Explorer 6 SP1

B,P

B,P

B,P

B,P

B,P

MSN version 8 and later

None

None

None

B,P

B,P

Netscape Navigator 4.8

B

B

B

B

B

Netscape Navigator 7

B

B

B

B

B

Key:

  • B - Basic version of Outlook Web Access supported
  • B,P - Both the Basic and Premium versions of Outlook Web Access are supported
  • None - Neither the Basic nor Premium versions of Outlook Web Access are supported

The following table shows the level of functionality for the operating systems and browsers for Outlook Web Access.

Browser support for Outlook Web Access with other operating systems

Browser Apple OS 9.x Apple OS 10.1 and later Sun Microsystems Solaris HP/UX

Internet Explorer 5.0 and later for Apple

B

B

N/A

Internet Explorer 5.5

SP2

None

None

None

Internet Explorer 6

None

None

None

Internet Explorer 6 SP1

None

None

None

MSN version 8 and later

None

None

None

Netscape Navigator 4.8

B

B

B

Netscape Navigator 6.2

B

B

B

Netscape Navigator 7

B

B

B

Key:

  • B - Basic version of Outlook Web Access supported
  • B,P - Both the Basic and Premium versions of Outlook Web Access are supported
  • None - Neither the Basic nor Premium versions of Outlook Web Access are supported

Additionally, support for the following browsers and operating systems has been discontinued for Exchange 2003:

  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.5
  • Internet Explorer 5 on all versions of Microsoft Windows
  • Internet Explorer 5 for UNIX 6.0
  • Internet Explorer 4.57 for Apple OS 9 and later
  • Microsoft Windows 95
  • Microsoft Windows 98
  • Microsoft Windows NT 4.08
  • Apple OS 8.17

For information about:

 
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