Fix Microsoft Outlook – Exchange Is Unavailable, Outlook Must Be Online Or Connected

While setting up a few new users I was getting an error while trying to add a new email account.
While walking through the default setup – simply launching Outlook on a new users profile (who, of course, has and email account associated with his AD account) Outlook gave an error message that said, "The connection to Microsoft Exchange is unavailable. Outlook must be online or connected to complete this action."

IMG_1981Capture1 - redone

Now, I know that I’m online on the domain – the new user authenticated. AND I could ping the Exchange server via name too. Also since there are other users on this device and it’s fairly new I was pretty sure that it’s not a system error.

It finally seemed that the user (PC) was not able to see our domain controller as the global catalog server and hence was not able to find our mail server via Active Directory. [Why this was happening on only this user will have to be further investigated Smile ]

Per MS – This behavior occurs when the Exchange Server computer (where the Outlook client is homed) and the global catalog server are both located in a site that is remote from the Outlook client location. (article here).

The fix:

  1. Click Start, and then click Run.
  2. In the Open box, type regedit.exe, and then click OK.
  3. Locate and then click the following key in the registry:

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Exchange\Exchange Provider
    Note You may have to create the registry path.

  4. On the Edit menu, click Add Value, and then add the following registry value:

    Value name: DS Server
    Data type: REG_SZ (string)
    Value data: FQDN of the global catalog server ( ourDC.domain.local )

Restart the PC and you should be able to reopen Microsoft Outlook and run through your profile set up. If finding the global catalog server was the issue, the problem should now be resolved and the email account should now properly add properly.



How To Share Folders In Outlook 2011/2013 For Mac

Sharing a Calendar folder in Outlook 2011 for OS/X

1.Select your calendar, and then choose “Permissions"

2.In the permissions window, click “Add User”, and then choose the individual for whom you’d like to assign permissions:

3.Once the user has been added to the list, assign the desired permissions:


To activate the greyed "Permissions" Icon, just click the name of your calendar on the left bar under "My Calendars". When "My Calendars" is selected, Permissions may greyed out. When the name of Calendar individually is selected, Permissions should now be made available.

Using Google’s Two Step Verification

If you don’t know what 2-Step Verification is here is a simple explanation: The two-step system uses both a password and a numerical code tied to your mobile phone, which can be sent by Google via SMS or generated by a smartphone app. Either way, it means a prospective hacker would need to obtain both your password and your phone to access your account.

I’ve been aware of Google’s two-step verification system for some time, but I felt my very strong password, the fact that I don’t use that password anywhere else and that it could not be ascertained by usual social engineering methods, was more than adequate protection. I was also concerned the system might be a hassle to use since I routinely sign in from so many different computers and locations. I already do use a password manager (KeePass) that requires not only a master password but I also use a key file too. [There are other very effective password managers out there I suggest you use one. Ars has a good article about that here.]
But with the massive increase in hacking and high jacking of information and the advancement of brute force cracking technologies and techniques I felt it was time to get onto the 2-step wagon.

Also I suggest that if you use Yahoo mail for anything you migrate towards Gmail or some other ISP. Yahoo has one of the worst records for email security. They are  hacked all the time! One recent article is here.
And for petesake please do NOT ‘link’ your Facebook account with Yahoo – that too is a major source of hacked Facebook account activity. If you currently have it linked I suggest you separate it. You can read how here and here.

So here is a brief explanation of how to enable 2-step verification. I will also link to some other resources on how to enable and use it at the bottom. If you find this too complicated or too much of a hassle you can always disable it very easily.

So let’s get started. Login to your account and go to Account then. Security


In the Security list you’ll see 2-step verification. This is where you can ‘turn it on’ and edit the settings.


Printable backup codes. Warning: If your phone is unavailable, these codes will be the only way to sign in to your account. Keep them someplace accessible, like your wallet, desk drawer or other safe place. Printable backup codes.


Here click on ‘Show backup Codes’


I printed out a set and put them someplace safe. I also saved them to a text file and imported and copied that text file of codes into my Password management application – KeePass.

If you click on the Application Specific Passwords you can create them for you other applications like Outlook, iMail, ThunderBird etc. Just give it some useful name, click on ‘Generate Password’ and then make sure to copy (or right down) that password – it is only shown once! I just copied each one to a text file so I could then paste them into the proper field (password) on my Outlook/configuration setups.


Some other links and info.

Here’s Google’s info page. And more here.

Setting up Mac Mail.

Setting up Outlook.

One more thing to consider if you’re a paranoid guy like me. I have all my browsers set to delete Internet history, cache and cookies when I close my Browsers AND I also run CCleaner many times a day to clean out temp files. Doing this will clear out the 2-Step ‘security token’ so you must manually enter some specific cookies to NOT be deleted in your browser and/or CCleaner.

To create ‘safe cookies’ in Firefox here is a good article. For Chrome go here and read the ‘Make exceptions for cookies for specific websites. The method is just about the same for InternetExplorer and Safari.

For CCleaner you can add the cookies to keep manually. Read here.

The actual cookie names you need to keep are here:

Hope this helps some. Peace out.

Fix hyperlink issues in Outlook Word and other documents and files.

If you are experiencing an issue “Can’t follow links in email “this operation has been cancelled due to restrictions in effect on this computer” error. Or getting the same error in other Office documents, then this should resolve it.

I’ve had a few clients who have had the same problem recently. Two small offices and a larger organization.

It seems they all had one thing in common. The users had recently installed and Chrome recently. And then finding this Browser was unintentionally (or secretively) installed they proceeded to uninstall/remove it. For the small office/home user this problems occurs very often. Most users have to be able to install applications. For the larger organizations this is a failure of the IT department (or their companies SOP and Policies) to properly restrict usage rights in their Active Directory GPOs

This ‘unintended’ install comes from one of my MAJOR pet peeves – software installing other non-essential and unwanted software. I believe this practice of getting unsuspecting or unaware users to install something they did not want or need by tricking them in to ‘just clicking through’ and installation of a needed or required application, plug-in or extension is downright fraudulent. Adobe is one of the worst offenders. When you update your ‘Flash Player or Shockwave Player’ they will usually try and slip in Google Chrome, McAfee or Norton Antivirus applications. And when they install those they are then set as ‘default programs’! All of which can lead to problems of usability and stability. I could go on this rant for a while but just please be warned read carefully what you are agreeing to install when you choose to update your programs/plug-ins. Make sure you ‘un-check’ any other crapware other than the actual application you are actually looking for. Okay, enough about that.

Fix for hyperlinks in email and documents:
You will need to open the registry (Go to Start type in regedit then on the found file right-click and choose ‘run as administrator) then navicate to and change the following keys from “Chromehtml” to “htmlfile”.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00






@=”\”C:\\Program Files\\Internet Explorer\\IEXPLORE.EXE\” %1″

@=”\”C:\\Program Files\\Internet Explorer\\IEXPLORE.EXE\” %1″

@=”\”C:\\Program Files\\Internet Explorer\\IEXPLORE.EXE\” %1″

Note you can also take the above and create a registry batch file.
Just copy the registry information (between the –) and save as a .reg file. That can then be launched and added to your registry.

This registry batch file can also be used to change the HKCU registry entries via Logon Script in Group Policy.
Create Registry.bat file with text:
systemroot%\regedit /s Registry.reg

Open Group Policy object, go to User Configuration > Windows Settings > Scripts > Logon
Click on Show Files (this opens a folder in \\domain-name\SysVol\domain-name\Policies\… ) and copy both files you created to that folder.
Click on Add and select Registry.bat
Deploy Group Policy object where required.

Well I hope that helps some.

The connection to Microsoft Exchange is unavailable. Outlook must be online or connected to complete – Cant add Outlook accounts…

How I recently fixed one hell of an Outlook 2007 to Exchange 2003 connection problem.

This occurred on brand new Windows 7 Enterprise AND brand new Windows XP workstations while trying to configure the Outlook clients to connect to our Exchange 2003 server.

The actual error is:
"The connection to Microsoft Exchange is unavailable. Outlook must be online or connected to complete – Cant add Outlook accounts.."

Worse still is that this problem did not occur one every new workstation! Windows XP or Windows 7 – only some random ones.

I checked all network/connectivity parameters I could – DNS, LDAP, RPC, TCP/IP etc., and otherwise checked routing and name resolution ad nauseum. And all checked out.
I had this problem a year or so ago but could not find any of my notes! Aggravating to no end. So I swore I would make sure to document my fix when I found one.
So Google here I come….

One of the first things I did then was this:

I checked that the ‘Attendant’ service was running on Exchange; it has been for a few years.

And virtually everything mentioned in every article I could find – 5 days of searching and hundreds of pages!!


I also tried importing the Outlook registry keys from machines (both Windows 7 and Windows XP) that do work – still no joy.

I literally went 11 pages deep on Google and many, many more deep from each of those, looking for a fix!

I read deep somewhere in one post that someone mentioned running ‘Outlook rpcdiag’ – I don’t remember that switch. I checked RPC on the machine(s) and it showed no errors already right..

But since this was a specific ‘Outlook’ switch I though what the hell.
I ran:
"outlook /rpcdiag" from the command line.

It tried to ‘find connections error’ but did not report anything. Damn..
Then it just closed after it could not really start.

Then I started Outlook in Safemode (I was prompted to upon launching Outlook, but it can be run "outlook /safe").

I was then able to add and configure the Exchange account and get connected!!
I waited until it updated the mailbox completely.
Then I restarted Outlook normally and IT WORKS NOW on all of the affected boxes!

I am not sure if all of these steps need to be taken but I now have a plan to follow.

I hope this may help someone, because from most of the posts I read it is a MAJOR issue and MS is not doing much about it! At least I’ll have my notes.