Mar 19, 2010

Unable to Expand Distribution Groups Using Outlook Anywhere in Exchange 2007

The title of this blog entry is a little bit of a misnomer. I say that because the underlying issue also caused another issue that I will mention in this post so that others who are experiencing these can get this resolved. Let me tell you, this has been an epic headache for a few months now, so to be able to finally have them resolved is a huge relief!

Like I said, the underlying issue caused another problem. The first problem we noticed is that when we tried to use Autodiscover to create user profiles in Outlook 2007 outside of the network it would fail. For our users to use RPC over HTTPS aka Outlook Anywhere, we had to create their Outlook profile while connected to the network. After that they could use Outlook Anywhere.

The second problem we noticed is that users outside of the network couldn’t expand distribution groups. They could access the Global Address List, but when they tried to expand distribution groups over Outlook Anywhere they would get the following error:

Cannot perform the requested operation. The command selected is not valid for this recipient. The connection to Microsoft Exchange is unavailable. Outlook must be online or connected to complete this action.

Cannot perform the requested operation

I finally found the answer on Aaron Mark’s blog talking about an Outlook Anywhere bug with Exchange 2007 and Windows Server 2008. The problem lies in IPV6. On our network adapter we have IPV6 unchecked as we weren’t using it, but it turns out that is not good enough.

If you are experiencing something similar, you may also notice that when you hold control, click on the Outlook icon in the system tray and select Connection Status you will see a good connection to MAIL but your connection to DIRECTORY will either say CONNECTING or DISCONNECTED.

directorydisconnect[Via Aaron Mark]

In order to fully disable IPV6 you have to do the following on your Exchange server along with unchecking IPV6 on your adapter settings. NOTE- MAKE SURE YOU MAKE A BACKUP OF YOUR REGISTRY BEFORE PROCEDING:

  • Click Start > Run type in Regedit and click OK
  • Navigate to HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Tcpip6\Parameters
  • Create a new DWORD named DisabledComponents and give it the value of 0xff
  • Close Regedit
  • Open your hosts file with notepad (Located in %SYSTEMROOT%\System32\drivers\etc\)
  • Comment out ::1 localhost by changing it to # ::1 localhost
  • In your hosts file, also add two entries for your server’s name and internal IP address. Your hosts file should look something like this: servername localhost
# ::1 localhost

That’s it! Aaron Mark’s post mentioned having to reboot for the changes to take effect, but I noticed the changes took effect right away without rebooting.

Are you experiencing this issue? What other problems have you noticed it has caused? Did this fix work for you? I want to hear from you in the comments!

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