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Deploying Exchange 2003 Offline Address Book using SMS 2003 SP1

Published: June 10, 2005

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Overview Overview
Deployment Scenario Deployment Scenario

Overview

In certain large companies who are deploying Microsoft Exchange 2003 and Microsoft Office 2003, there might be a challenge related to an Exchange 2003 deployment issue. This is due to Exchange 2003 limitations (for large Enterprise) in a low bandwidth network environment.

To overcome this issue, customers can use the Microsoft Systems Management Server (SMS) 2003 and Active Directory Group policy to deploy a customized “solution" to resolve these deployment issues.  

Microsoft Exchange 2003 Deployment Issue Details:

During Exchange 2003 deployment, if the Offline Address Book is pretty large, the WAN link could face network saturation as a result of each of the new user trying to download OAB over the WAN link.  When the download fails it's set to re-try, and it is this behavior that can adversely affect WAN utilization for even a small set of new users trying to download OAB for the first time

This is a known Exchange 2003 deployment issue described at the following Microsoft Knowledge Base article 

Solution

Using Active Directory Group Policy and SMS 2003 SP1, users will be able to deploy Ex2003 in a very large branch scenario environment where OAB will get deployed to each workstation using SMS 2003 SP1.

Deployment Scenario

Central office is located at Redmond.

Two branch offices located in China (Beijing and Shuzou):

Redmond

  • Central Office

  • It has 1 SMS Central Site and 1 Exchange Server with the AD Site name of “USA”

Beijing

  • Connected to Redmond via fast WAN link.

  • It has 1 SMS Primary Child Site and 1 Exchange Server and AD Site name, “BEIJING”

Shuzou

  • Connected to Beijing via slow WAN link.

  • It has 1 SMS Secondary Child Site and no local Exchange Server. And AD Site name, “SHUZOU”

The objective is to deploy the OAB on SHUZOU SMS Distribution Point so that it will update the OAB in each of the workstation that has a SMS Client in SHUZOU

DeployingExchangeOAB

This how to guide is written with the assumption that users are knowledgeable in Group Policy and SMS Software Distribution

The general idea is to do the following:

  1. Turn Off all users’ OAB Auto Sync functionality. Using Group Policy to do it: add logon script to verify user’s current IP address, and change corresponding registry

  2. Using SMS Server to push the newest OAB file to local SMS distribution point and then sending an advertisement to local SMS Clients to download the newest OAB to destination on desktop (Default location for OAB is C:\Documents and Settings\<user account>\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\)

These are the following steps on how to deploy the OAB using Group Policy and SMS.

GPO Update Section

  1. Using Group Policy deploys the OABDwD.VBS for the appropriate users on the AD Site “SHUZOU”. This script is being used to disable the OAB download on the client. The script runs every day and switches off the OAB download as soon as the user comes to a location which doesn't have a local Exchange server.

    Note: Some of the lines in the following code have been displayed on multiple lines for better readability.

    
    ==================================================
    =========================
    'OABDwD.VBS
    ' Author: Zhu Haifeng
    ' Consultant Microsoft China
    ' Only suitable for Office 2003 in Windows XP/2000
    ' DATE  : 01/28/2005
    Const HKEY_CURRENT_USER = &H80000001
    On Error Resume Next
    Set objReg = GetObject("winmgmts:{impersonationLevel=
    impersonate}!\\.\root\default:StdRegProv")
    
    objReg.CreateKey HKEY_CURRENT_USER, "Software\Microsoft
    \Office\11.0\Outlook\Cached Mode"
    objReg.CreateKey HKEY_CURRENT_USER, "Software\Microsoft
    \Exchange\Exchange Provider"
    
    objReg.SetDWORDValue HKEY_CURRENT_USER, "Software\Microsoft
    \Office\11.0\Outlook\Cached Mode", "DownloadOAB", 0
    
    objReg.SetDWORDValue HKEY_CURRENT_USER, "Software\Microsoft
    \Exchange\Exchange Provider", "IsDeployed", 1
    objReg.SetDWORDValue HKEY_CURRENT_USER, "Software\Microsoft
    \Exchange\Exchange Provider", "Allow SRS Full OAB Download", 0
    objReg.SetDWORDValue HKEY_CURRENT_USER, "Software\Microsoft
    \Exchange\Exchange Provider", "Limit SRS Full OAB Download", 0
    objReg.SetDWORDValue HKEY_CURRENT_USER, "Software\Microsoft
    \Exchange\Exchange Provider", "Limit SRS Incremental Download", 0
    ======================================================================
    

    To enable OAB download on the client because users are located in locations where local Exchange Server exists use the OABDwE.VBS

    Note: Some of the lines in the following code have been displayed on multiple lines for better readability.

    ===========================================================
    ===========
    'OABDwE.VBS
    ' Author: Zhu Haifeng MCS
    ' Consultant Microsoft China
    ' Only suitable for Office 2003 in Windows XP/2000
    ' DATE  : 01/28/2005
    Const HKEY_CURRENT_USER = &H80000001
    
    On Error Resume Next
    Set objReg = GetObject("winmgmts:{impersonationLevel=
    impersonate}!\\.\root\default:StdRegProv")
    objReg.SetDWORDValue HKEY_CURRENT_USER, "Software\Microsoft
    \Office\11.0\Outlook\Cached Mode", "DownloadOAB", 1
    
    objReg.DeleteValue HKEY_CURRENT_USER, "Software\Microsoft
    \Exchange\Exchange Provider", "IsDeployed"
    objReg.DeleteValue HKEY_CURRENT_USER, "Software\Microsoft
    \Exchange\Exchange Provider", "Allow SRS Full OAB Download"
    objReg.DeleteValue HKEY_CURRENT_USER, "Software\Microsoft
    \Exchange\Exchange Provider","Limit SRS Full OAB Download"
    objReg.DeleteValue HKEY_CURRENT_USER, "Software\Microsoft
    \Exchange\Exchange Provider","Limit SRS Incremental Download"
    =============================================================
    =========
  2. Once this GPO has been deployed and applied to the appropriate client, you can then use SMS to create the Package and Program that needs to be sent to users/machines so that they can download a local copy of the OAB.  Since SHOUZOU is a SMS Secondary Site, you need to create the following package either from Redmond or Beijing.

Using SMS to deploy OAB

Using SMS you copy the OAB files to the SMS Client machines user profiles directory.

  1. Create and configure software package

    1. Create package source directory named OABUpdate, then copy all the Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 offline address book files *.oab to the directory (by default from \Documents and Settings\< user name>\Local Settings\ Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook). Then, create the appropriate package called OABUpdate and set the source directory to the OABUupdate directory that you specified on step a.  

    2. Create a program named OABUpdate for this software package with the following command line: ‘copy /V /Y *.oab "%UserProfile%\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\"’

    3. Make sure that you set the program to run when the “User is logged on” and run  with the “User Rights”.

    4. On the advanced tab of the Program make sure that you choose, “Run once for every users who logs on”.

  2. Advertise the Program to the Appropriate Users/Machines.

    1. Create a collection that will be based on the appropriate query not only to check for the existence of Outlook 2003 but also to make there is an adequate disk space available on the machine before making a copy of the OAB files.

    2. Advertise the package->program to the appropriate collection.   

Several things to consider

In addition to the information above, you may also want to create some logic to the package.

As an example:

  1. Logic to make sure that you have checked that the Exchange Registry Keys have been disabled in which if it has not then you want to disable it but if it has then you can move forward

  2. Logic to check if there’s still an outlook process, to terminate the process.

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