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Managing Offline Address Books

 

Applies to: Exchange Server 2007 SP3, Exchange Server 2007 SP2, Exchange Server 2007 SP1, Exchange Server 2007

Topic Last Modified: 2007-08-27

An offline address book (OAB) is a copy of an address book that has been downloaded so that a Microsoft Outlook user can access the information it contains while disconnected from the server. Office Outlook 2007 uses the OAB to provide offline access to directory information from the global address list (GAL) and from other address lists.

You can choose which address books are made available to users who work offline. When OAB generation occurs, Microsoft Exchange generates new OAB files, compresses the files, and then places the files on a local share. You can then configure the method by which the address books are distributed. There are two methods by which the OAB is distributed to client computers:

  • Web-based distribution   This is the distribution method by which Outlook 2007 clients that are working offline or through a dial-up connection access the OAB. With Web-based distribution, after the OAB is generated, the Client Access server then replicates the files.
    importantImportant:
    Although Web-based distribution is enabled by default and does not require further configuration, we recommend that you enable Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) for the OAB distribution point. For more information, see How to Require SSL for Offline Address Book Distribution.
  • Public folder distribution   This is the distribution method by which Office Outlook 2003 or earlier clients that are working offline or through a dial-up connection access the OAB. With public folder distribution, the OAB generation process places the files directly in one of the public folders, and then Exchange store replication copies the data to other public folder distribution points. Public folders are maintained by using the Exchange Management Shell. For more information, see Managing Public Folders.

The client computers running Outlook periodically check for and download OAB updates. For information about how to modify when OAB generation occurs, see How to View and Modify Offline Address Book Settings.

This topic lists the management tasks that you can perform for OABs, including links to topics that will help you complete the task. Unless otherwise noted, these tasks can be performed by using the Exchange Management Console or the Exchange Management Shell:

  • How to Create an Offline Address Book
    By default, when you install the Mailbox server role, a Web-based default OAB named Default Offline Address Book is created. This default OAB contains the global address list (GAL). However, you can create additional OABs and associate them with a mailbox database or a set of users that share common attributes. This allows users to download smaller OABs. When you create the OAB, you define which address lists to include in the OAB. For more information about address lists, see Managing Address Lists.
    noteNote:
    If you have coexistence with Exchange Server 2003, the Default Offline Address Book is not created. Exchange 2003 has a default OAB called the Default Offline Address List.
    If you use the Exchange Management Console for this task, the New Offline Address Book wizard will guide you through the process of creating and initializing an OAB. If you use the Exchange Management Shell, you will use the New-OfflineAddressBook cmdlet. However, in an Exchange Server 2007 and Exchange 2003 coexistence scenario where you must decide which versions of the OAB to generate, you must use the Exchange Management Shell to specify the version of the OAB. You cannot use the New Offline Address Book wizard in the Exchange Management Console.
  • How to View and Modify Offline Address Book Settings
    OABs appear on the Offline Address Book tab of the Exchange Management Console. In addition, if your organization contains Exchange 2003 servers, and you previously used public folders as your OAB distribution method, these OAB objects also appear on this tab.
    noteNote:
    If you have coexistence with Exchange 2003, the Default Offline Address Book is not created. Exchange 2003 has a default OAB called the Default Offline Address List.
    If you want to use the Exchange Management Console to view or modify OAB settings, select the OAB, and then click Properties in the action pane. If you want to use the Exchange Management Shell, use the Get-Offline AddressBook cmdlet to view OAB settings and the Set-OfflineAddressBook cmdlet to modify them.
  • How to Move the Offline Address Book Generation Process to Another Server
    OAB generation is the process by which Exchange creates and updates the OAB. When OAB generation occurs, Exchange generates new OAB files, compresses the files, and then places the files on a local share.
    If you use the Exchange Management Console for this task, the Move Offline Address Book wizard guides you through the process of moving the OAB generation to another server. If you use the Exchange Management Shell, you will use the Move-OfflineAddressBook cmdlet.
    importantImportant:
    In a mixed topology organization that has Exchange 2003 and Exchange 2007 servers, you can generate the OAB from an Exchange 2003 or Exchange 2007 server, provided that public folder distribution is enabled. However, if you generate the OAB from an Exchange 2003 server, you will lose functionality.
  • How to Remove an Offline Address Book
    To remove an OAB that is linked to a user or to a mailbox database, the recipient will download the default OAB until you assign a new OAB for that user. However, if you remove the default OAB, you must assign a different OAB as the default OAB. For more information about how to change the default OAB, see How to Change the Default Offline Address Book.
    If you want to use the Exchange Management Console to remove an OAB, select the OAB, and then click Remove in the action pane. If you want to use the Exchange Management Shell, use the Remove-Offline AddressBook cmdlet.
  • How to Change the Default Offline Address Book
    By default, when you install the Mailbox server role, a Web-based default OAB named Default Offline Address Book is created. However, you can set any OAB in your Exchange organization as the default OAB. This new default OAB is associated with all newly created mailbox databases. You can have only one default OAB in your organization. If you delete the default OAB, Exchange does not automatically assign another OAB as the default; you must manually designate another OAB as the default.
    If you want to use the Exchange Management Console to set an OAB as the default, select the OAB, and then click Set as Default in the action pane. If you want to use the Exchange Management Shell, use the Set-Offline AddressBook cmdlet.
  • How to Create an Offline Address Book Virtual Directory
    The OAB virtual directory is the distribution point used by the Web-based distribution method of the OAB. By default, when Exchange 2007 is installed, a new virtual directory named OAB is created in the default internal Web site in Internet Information Services (IIS). If you have client-side users that connect to Outlook from outside your organization's firewall, you can add an external Web site. Alternatively, when you run the New-OABVirtualDirectory cmdlet in the Exchange Management Shell, a new virtual directory named OAB is created in the default IIS Web site on the local Exchange 2007 server.
    noteNote:
    You cannot use the Exchange Management Console to create an OAB virtual directory. You must use the New-OABVirtualDirectory cmdlet in the Exchange Management Shell.
    noteNote:
    Each Client Access server can contain only one virtual directory.
  • How to Remove, Re-Create, and Reconnect an Offline Address Book Virtual Directory
    When you remove an OAB virtual directory, the OABs that use Web-based distribution will lose their connection to the OAB virtual directory. After you re-create the virtual directory, you must edit the settings on each OAB that uses Web-based distribution to reconnect to the OAB virtual directory. For information about how to edit OAB settings, see How to View and Modify Offline Address Book Settings.
    You cannot use the Exchange Management Shell to remove an OAB virtual directory. You must use the Remove-OABVirtualDirectory cmdlet in the Exchange Management Shell.
  • How to Add or Remove an Address List from an Offline Address Book
    OABs are generated based on the address lists that they contain. To create custom OABs that users can download, you can add or remove address lists from OABs.
    If you want to use the Exchange Management Console for this task, open the OAB property page, and then use the Address Lists tab. If you want to use the Exchange Management Shell, use the Set-OfflineAddressBook cmdlet.
  • How to Provision Recipients for Offline Address Book Downloads
    If you use multiple OABs in your organization, you must determine which users download which OABs. There are two ways to specify which recipients download which OABs:
    • Per-Recipient   By using the Set-Mailbox cmdlet in the Exchange Management Shell, you can specify which OAB recipients will download by linking the OAB to the recipient's mailbox. You cannot specify the public folder database at the per-recipient level. For more information about how to create a mailbox, see How to Create a Mailbox for a New User.
      noteNote:
      You cannot use the Exchange Management Console for this task. You must use the Set-Mailbox cmdlet in the Exchange Management Shell.
    • Per-Mailbox Database   By using the Exchange Management Console or the Exchange Management Shell, you can specify the public folder database and the OAB that recipients download by linking the OAB to the mailbox database. For more information about mailbox databases, see Managing Storage Groups and Databases.
  • How to Require SSL for Offline Address Book Distribution
    By default, when you install the Client Access server role on a computer that is running Exchange 2007, a virtual directory named OAB is created on the default IIS Web site on the Exchange server.
    The default self-signed certificate that is available in Exchange 2007 Setup will not work with Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2003 clients that are using OABs. Instead, you must use a valid SSL certificate that is created by a certification authority (CA) that is trusted by the client computer's operating system. For more information about how to install a valid SSL certificate from a CA that the client trusts, see How to Obtain a Server Certificate from a Certification Authority.
    After you obtain a valid SSL certificate to use with the Client Access server on the OAB default Web site or on the Web site where you host your OAB virtual directory, you can configure the Web site to require SSL. You can enable SSL for all Web sites that are hosted by the Client Access server or enable SSL only for the OAB virtual directory.
    To require SSL for an OAB, you can use IIS Manager or the Set-OABVirtualDirectory cmdlet in the Exchange Management Shell. You cannot use the Exchange Management Console for this task.
  • How to Update the Offline Address Book
    After you create an OAB or modify OAB settings, the changes will not be available to users until the OAB generation process has completed. To complete this process, you must update the OAB.
    If you want to use the Exchange Management Console for this task, select the OAB, and then click Update in the action pane. If you want to use the Exchange Management Shell, use the Update-OfflineAddressBook cmdlet.
    noteNote:
    Depending on the size of your OAB, it can take from several minutes to several hours to complete the process. New content will not be available until the process is complete.
To ensure that you are reading the most up-to-date information and to find additional Exchange Server 2007 documentation, visit the Exchange Server TechCenter.
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