Out of Office Assistant not working in Outlook 2007 with Exchange 2007

If you are running Outlook 2007 with Exchange 2007 (or Small Business Server 2008) you may experience problems with the Out of Office Assistant. The error message you may receive is:

Your Out of Office settings cannot be displayed, because the server is currently unavailable. Try again later.

In addition, if you open the Exchange Management Shell and run

Test-OutlookWebServices | fl

You will receive this error message when it tries to test the Autodiscover service:

WARNING: An unexpected error has occurred and debug information is being
generated: Object reference not set to an instance of an object.
Test-OutlookWebServices : Object reference not set to an instance of an object.

This indicates a problem with the Autodiscover service. The Out of Office assistant is dependent on the Autodiscover service to work properly.

This can happen if you have the .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 installed on your Exchange server (or more specifically, your Exchange Client Access Server). The problem is not actually with the .NET Framework 3.5 however. The problem is with the .NET Framework 2.0 SP2 which gets installed automatically when you install .NET 3.5.

Microsoft has a hotfix for this issue, which is also included in Server 2008 SP2. However, in my case the hotfix didn’t resolve the issue. The solution for me was to uninstall .NET Framework 2.0 SP2. This is easy to do if you know where to find it. Here’s a step-by-step guide

  1. Open Control Panel
  2. Go into Programs and Features
  3. In the sidebar, click “View Installed Updates”
  4. Scroll down until you find “Update for Microsoft Windows (KB948609)”
  5. Highlight it and click “Uninstall”

Then try to open the Out of Office Assistant again.

Just as a final note, you should also make sure you have a DNS record for autodiscover.youdomain.com that points to your Exchange server. So if your email address is joe@somedomain.com then you should have a DNS record that points autodiscover.somedomain.com to the IP address of your Exchange server. If your server is behind a NAT router, you should create a DNS record on your external DNS server that points to your server’s external IP address, and you should create a DNS record on your internal DNS server that points to your server’s internal IP address. If your internal and external domain names are different, you may need to review this article.

I hope that helps!




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