Disable global address list synchronization for Outlook 2010

Office 2010

Applies to: Office 2010

Topic Last Modified: 2012-02-03

You can use Group Policy to disable Microsoft Exchange global address list (GAL) synchronization with Microsoft Outlook 2010.

You can use Group Policy to disable Microsoft Exchange GAL synchronization with Outlook 2010 contacts. If you want Outlook 2010 to prompt users before it synchronizes to the Exchange GAL, configure the registry settings as described in this article.

In this article:

Outlook 2010 synchronizes its Contacts folder entries to contacts that have matching SMTP addresses in the Exchange GAL. This synchronization is one-way: from the GAL to the Outlook Contacts folder.

Discrepancies in contact telephone numbers might occur when the telephone entries in users’ Outlook Contacts folder are created in a different format from the one that is used in the corporate GAL. For example, a locale might require one kind of telephone number prefix format for calling from inside the country and another prefix format for calling from outside the country. If a user creates his or her Outlook 2010 contacts by using the prefix formats that are required to dial from outside the country, a “move correction” occurs when Outlook 2010 contacts are updated by using details from the GAL.

In a move correction, the telephone numbers that the user creates in his or her Outlook contacts are overwritten and moved to an adjacent telephone number field. For example, the telephone number in the “Business” field is moved to the “Business 2” field.

After synchronization, you cannot reverse the changes in bulk. However, the user can manually update Outlook contacts, or if there are many differences, the user’s mailbox can be restored. A programmatic solution is possible, but requires complex data validation to pull the previous values from the Notes field. These solutions quickly become unfeasible for a large enterprise.

By default, GAL synchronization is enabled in Outlook 2010. However, if contact synchronization is a large issue in your organization, you can disable GAL synchronization for Outlook 2010, either before you deploy Microsoft Office 2010, or when you see potential for this situation occurring.

For the contact corrections Outlook makes during GAL synchronization, and the list of settings that you can configure, review the global address list synchronization section in Determine which features to enable or customize in Outlook 2010.

To download the Outlook 2010 template and for more information about other Administrative Template files, see Office 2010 Administrative Template files (ADM, ADMX, ADML) and Office Customization Tool.

For more information about permissions, see the “Group Policy object permissions in Group Policy Management Console” section in Use Group Policy to enforce Office 2010 settings.

You can disable GAL synchronization with Outlook contacts by configuring the Block Global Address List synchronization setting in Group Policy. After you apply this Group Policy setting, users cannot change the configuration.

To disable GAL synchronization by using Group Policy
  1. In Group Policy, load the Outlook 2010 template (Outlk14.adm).

  2. Open the Group Policy Management Console (GPMC). Click Start, click Control Panel, click Administrative Tools, and then click Group Policy Management.

  3. In the console tree, double-click Group Policy Objects in the forest and domain that contain the Group Policy object (GPO) that you want to configure. The path of Group Policy Objects is [Forest name]\Domains\[Domain name]\Group Policy Objects.

  4. Right-click the GPO that you want to configure and then click Edit.

  5. In the tree view, expand User Configuration, expand Administrative Templates, expand Classic Administrative Templates, expand Microsoft Outlook 2010, expand Outlook Social Connector and, in the reading pane, double-click Block Global Address List synchronization.

  6. Click Enabled, click Apply, and then click OK.

The Block Global Address List synchronization setting is also available in the Office Customization Tool (OCT) under Microsoft Outlook 2010\Outlook Social Connector on the Modify user settings page. You can configure this setting for a setup customization file (.msp) and then deploy the configuration as part of the Office 2010 setup.
If you use the OCT to disable GAL synchronization, users can enable it the user interface (UI). To do this, they click the View tab on the ribbon, click the People Pane button, click the Account Settings command, and then click the Settings button in the dialog box that appears. For more information about the OCT, see Office Customization Tool in Office 2010.

You can configure GAL sync to prompt before updating, instead of updating without prompting, (which is default behavior) by configuring the following registry settings under HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\ Microsoft\Office\Outlook\SocialConnector.

Create a script to deploy the settings to user computers. For information about scripting, see Script Center (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/p/?LinkId=158045).


Registry key Type Description Values



Configures the GAL synchronization configuration. However, the user can override the configuration through the user interface by clicking the View Ribbon tab on the ribbon, clicking the People Pane button, clicking the Account Settings command, and then clicking the Settings button in the dialog box that appears.

0 = Do not synchronize contacts with the GAL

1 = Automatically update contacts by using the latest GAL information

2 = Prompt before updating contacts by using the latest GAL information



For workstations that are set with a specific locale, configures GAL sync to prompt before updating, instead of updating without prompting, (which is default behavior).

This registry value is only honored when the ScheduleContactGALSync key does not exist. The ScheduleContactGALSync is created if the user manually sets GAL synchronization options through the user interface.

For country codes, see ISO 3166-1 alpha-3 (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/p/?LinkId=197158).