Outlook 2010 – first impressions

On April 27, 2010 Microsoft Office 2010 became available for retail. Users have already started moving towards the new version.

One of our customers bought Office 2010 to use it on their Windows 7 64bit laptops. We were asked to help with Outlook setup, as we host their Exchange 2003 server. They use RPC over http to connect from outside, so all steps to create connection are the same as with Outlook 2007. Finally Outlook is connected, users are able to send and receive emails, view calendar etc.

The first issue – Exchange 2003 problem?

The first issue was reported the next day: users are not able to send their replies. They get the following error message: “Cannot resolve recipient”

 

So when user hits Reply, Outlook opens new message. There is already correct address in To: field and it’s underlined. However as soon as user hits Send, he gets this error message. The only way to send this message is to go to address book and choose address manually.

Of course, Outlook restart doesn’t help. Some people suggest recreating a profile, which doesn’t help either.

Call me picky, but I should be able to reply using my mail client. How could that happen that the newer version of Outlook, with all its new features and improvements doesn’t do the basic stuff?

I’ve found the following advice on one of Russian forums:
“in smtp settings choose encryption type auto (it’s none by default). It’s going to try to get a certificate from the server, which may not even be there, will show a bunch of errors and will start working fine”

It’s talking about smtp connections, not exchange RPC. However this means to me that the issue has nothing to do with Exchange settings. Is it a bug in Outlook?

Finally we’ve found that once we connect workstation to our internal network (where Exchange server is) and open Outlook, the issue is fixed permanently. That’s the workaround, of course. So far we were not able to fix this without connecting computer to our internal network.

One more issue, which didn’t happen on all computers

Another issue that was reported from one of users was that he wasn’t able to open his old .pst files. When trying to add a new data file he was getting the following error: 0x800710fe

 

After doing Outlook repair, creating a new profile and new data files, which obviously didn’t help, we decided to fire up Process Monitor. We’ve found that Outlook is looking for the following registry key and unable to find it. That’s when the error message shows up.

 

After adding this key manually, everything works fine:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Outlook]
“ForcePSTPath”=hex(2):63,00,3a,00,00,00

It looks to me like a corrupt installation, but how come Outlook repair didn’t fix the problem. Call me naive, but repair should go through registry, replace wrong entries and add missing keys.

So far I’m not impressed with new Outlook at all. Only two small issues, which, however affect basic functionality and therefore don’t seem to be minor.

UPD: The first issue turned out to be a typo in RPC configuration on hosted exchange server itself.

It was revealed by doing:

> rpccfg /hd

Once it was corrected in the registry and server rebooted, everything started working fine.