Howto: Force Outlook to Download Updated Exchange Offline Address Books

I just created a new user on my Exchange 2003 server, and wanted to verify the new account was shown in the Global Address List (GAL). I’m using the Outlook 2007 client in cached mode, and I wanted to download the updated offline address book immediately, rather than waiting for it to perform it’s scheduled download.

KB 841273 explains that:

  1. Outlook in cached mode automatically updates the offline address book on the client every 24 hours. The 24-hour time period is measured from the time that the offline address book was last downloaded successfully. For example, if you complete an offline address book download at 09:00 today, Outlook will start the offline address book download the next day at approximately 09:00. Therefore, different people will receive updates at different, random times.
  2. Each day, the Exchange computer generates a full offline address book and a differential file from the previous day. The Exchange computer stores the differential file and the full file for the current day and stores only the differential files for the previous days.
  3. The default setting on the Exchange computer is to generate an offline address book differential file every morning at 04:00.
  4. By default, the Exchange computer generates the offline address book files every morning at 05:00.
  5. Unless you notice the last time that Outlook downloaded the offline address book, you may not know when Outlook is scheduled to try the next offline address book download. No indicator in the Outlook user interface advises you of the offline address book download schedule.

You can now see it’s virtually impossible to determine when my Outlook client would automatically receive the updated address list.

The steps I performed to force Exchange and Outlook to immediately synchronize the offline address books:

  1. One the server – Start Exchange System Manager, expand RecipientsOffline Address Lists. Right click on your address list and select Rebuild. You will be warned that it potentially could take a long time. Click Yes to proceed with the rebuild. Wait a few minutes, but if you have a small Exchange deployment this could finish in seconds.
  2. On the client – In Outlook click on the down arrow next to Send/Receive to open the menu. Click Download Address BookOK. Make sure that the Download changes since last Send/Receive check box is selected.

5 Responses to “Howto: Force Outlook to Download Updated Exchange Offline Address Books”

  1. Matt Says:

    Perfect, that just what I was looking for! This has been on my list of little jobs for a long time 🙂 Thanks

  2. Geoff Says:

    hmm.. I tried this, and I’m getting an error that says “Task microsoft exchange reported error (0x8004010F): The operation failed. An object cannot be found.”

  3. avereb Says:

    Thax! Works perfectly!

  4. Danny Says:

    Hmmm… I’m copying our offline address book details file, and it’s taking FOREVER. I’m frantically looking everywhere to see how long this typically takes to resync an exchange GAL with aprox 200 users… If anyone knows, please reply to this so I can see your answer! Thanks!

  5. nick Says:

    Well Danny if you are still waiting, it probably takes less than a month…. 5 minutes tops!

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