Microsoft Outlook Web Access (OWA) is great for occasional access to e-mail but if you’re using a non-Microsoft browser (as I often do) then it degrades to a rather sorry state. Consequently, for a couple of years now, I’ve been meaning to get RPC over HTTP (aka. Outlook Anywhere) working so that I can use a full Outlook client to access my Exchange Server mailbox when I’m on the road (iPhone access to Exchange Server via IMAP or Outlook Mobile Access from my Nokia 6021 are useful for checking for messages throughout the day but I need to run the full Outlook client to filter out the junk e-mail). After doing most of the preparation work some time ago, I didn’t get around to testing it fully – mostly because a lot of my access is from behind an authenticated proxy (and I’m told that Outlook doesn’t like anything getting in the way).
Tonight, I’m in a hotel, and the iBahn connection has no such restrictions, so I finally got around to testing the connection, using Outlook 2007 to communicate with an Exchange Server 2003 (SP2) server.
Full details may be found in Microsoft knowledge base article 833401 but, as ever, I found Daniel Petri’s articles on the subject more useful:
- Configuring RPC over HTTP/S on a single server (my DC/GC is actually on a separate virtual machine, but the configuration still seemed to work).
- Testing RPC over HTTP/S.
- Configuring Outlook 2003 to use RPC over HTTP/S (the process is similar for Outlook 2007).
For me, the process was simplified as I already had OWA working over HTTPS but, as Daniel highlights, Harry Bates’ RPCNoFrontEnd utility can save a lot of time in checking that the registry keys are correctly set for the RPC proxy server ports and the Windows Server 2003 resource kit
rpccfg /hd command is useful to confirm their operation:
outlook /rpcdiag gave some useful diagnostic information for confirming that the connection was indeed using HTTPS:
Ironically, I’ve finally got this working with Exchange Server 2003 just before I’m about to move my mail over to a new server running Exchange Server 2007!