Exchange Offline Address Book Troubleshooting

The Exchange Offline Address Book (OAB) for Outlook clients can be a difficult beast to troubleshoot. When it’s not working correctly, Outlook clients may fail to report an error and continue to synchronize stale Global Address List records. Here are some hints for successful resolution of OAB issues – tested with Exchange 2010.

  • Try following the Corelan document: Fixing Exchange 2007 Offline Address Book generation (oalgen) and distribution issues
    • This applies equally well to Exchange 2010 although some file paths may have changed slightly.
  • Before intensive troubleshooting, try restarting the “MSExchangeSA” System Attendant service on the server responsible for generating the Offline Address Book. If Windows Updates are pending reboot, just reboot Windows instead.
  • Following a clean restart of the System Attendant on your OAB Generation Server, use the Exchange Management Console (EMC) to manually start an “Update” of the OAB under Organization Configuration – Mailbox – Offline Address Book.
    • Status of the Offline Address Book generation should show in the Windows “Application” Event Log with Source “MSExchangeSA” – wait for indication that the OAB updates have completed.
  • If the OAB generation completes successfully, you can force synchronization to each CAS server by Restarting the “MSExchangeFDS” File Distribution Service on each CAS server. Review the Windows “Application” event log for messages from Source “MSExchangeFDS” that will indicate whether the new OAB has finished copying.
    • Default “polling” interval for FDS is 8 hours (480 minutes) – this is a long time to wait for testing!
  • Review the OAB file dates. Many should have been updated within the last 24 hours. Your system may use slightly different paths.
    • On the OAB Generation Server under C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\V14\ExchangeOAB\*\*.* (these are created by the System Attendant)
    • On the CAS servers that distribute your address book under C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\V14\ClientAccess\OAB\*\*.* (these are created by the File Distribution Service)

There is a lot more to this troubleshooting than I’m mentioning here. I highly recommend you read and follow the above linked Corelan document – it was very helpful to me for resolving this issue.


About notesbytom

Keeping technology notes on to free up my mind to solve new problems rather than figuring out the same ones repeatedly :-).
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