Entourage 2008 with SP1 can use Autodiscover Service available on Exchange 2007 Server to configure your Exchange account automatically. In this post I will talk about this new feature from Entourage user perspective. I have also recorded a screencast to actually show you how you can do it in Entourage 2008. Please keep in mind that this feature is not available in earlier versions of Entourage (2004 and earlier) & Exchange (2003 & earlier).
What’s Autodiscover Service?
Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 includes a new Microsoft Exchange service named the Autodiscover service. The Autodiscover service configures client computers for Exchange mailbox access that are running Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 or Microsoft Entourage 2008 for Mac. The Autodiscover service can also configure supported mobile devices (Windows Mobile or iPhone). The Autodiscover service provides access to Microsoft Exchange features for Outlook 2007 or Entourage 2008 clients that are connected to your Microsoft Exchange messaging environment. The Autodiscover service must be deployed and configured correctly for Outlook or Entourage clients to automatically connect to Microsoft Exchange features, such as the Availability service (used for Free/Busy info pull-up), OOF Assistant and Delegate management. Additionally, these Exchange features must be configured correctly to provide their respective functionality for Outlook & Entourage clients. You can go here for more info.
Now a couple of important points:
1. Entourage Version – Check to see which version of Entourage you are using. You should be using the latest released version (build), currently its 12.1.5 (081119). In order to check for that, launch Entourage, go to ‘Entourage’ menu on top left hand corner and then click on ‘About Entourage’, the top potion of resulting window should look like this:
If your version (build) does not match, you need to install all available updates for Office 2008 for Mac. You can do that by going to ‘Help’ menu and clicking on ‘Check for Updates’. ‘Microsoft AutoUpdate’ application will launch and you can then click on ‘Check for Updates’ button there to have it look for all available updates. It will check for released updates, will come back and report to you about them and you can then install them one by one. You can also download and install all updates from Mactopia.
2. Exchange Version – Check to see which version of Exchange Server is hosting your mailbox. You can do so by logging into your mailbox thru OWA or ‘Outlook Web Access’ (explained in screencast video). Generally organizations publish a website for this purpose, like Microsoft has published this website for its employees to log into their mailboxes thru OWA. You should have one as well, if you don’t know its address or URL, you should talk to your Exchange Server Administrator or IT Help Desk/Support in your organization.
The very first mention of Exchange Server version can be found on the main login page for OWA, it looks like this if it’s not published thru Microsoft ISA Firewall Server (see ‘Microsoft Exchange’ & ‘2007’ in the screenshot below):
Screencast video also talks about this in the beginning, where OWA has been published thru Microsoft ISA Firewall Server thus the login page looks a bit different. Let’s watch the screencast now.
Note: If you meet the requirements listed above and automatic Exchange account configuration still does not work for you, then it could be because your Exchange Server Administrator has not published Autodiscover Service properly. You should then contact your administrator to verify that. You can provide this link to get him started on that.