Description of the support process for issues that are related to the "Outlook is retrieving data" message in Outlook 2002 and Outlook 2003

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Article ID: 892764 - View products that this article applies to.
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This article describes the methods that Microsoft support engineers use to determine the cause of the “Outlook is retrieving data from" message. This article describes the message in Microsoft Outlook 2002 and in Microsoft Office Outlook 2003. It describes why this feature was added, how this feature works, and why users should expect to occasionally receive this message.

This article also describes the information that support engineers must have to identify and to resolve any problem that might exist if you have to contact Microsoft Product Support Services (PSS). The tools and processes that this article describes are required to resolve any problem as efficiently as possible.

INTRODUCTION

You may contact Microsoft Product Support Services to determine whether a problem is causing you to receive the following message in Microsoft Outlook:
Outlook is retrieving data from...
Based on historical support data, cases that are related to this message can take longer than needed to resolve if accurate and succinct data is not provided to the support engineer early in the case. This data helps us accurately and quickly identify any problem that might exist. Microsoft support engineers will help you gather the information that we require.

A workaround is provided later in this article if one of the following conditions is true:
  • You receive this message infrequently.
  • Gathering the required information from Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Exchange is difficult.
  • You require an immediate workaround without extensive troubleshooting.

More information

The "retrieving data" message

The “retrieving data” message is a feature in Outlook 2002 and in Outlook 2003. The message informs the user that Outlook is retrieving data, and it specifies the resource that Outlook is contacting. The resource is the server that Outlook is contacting, and the name of that server appears in the message.

The Cancel command in the dialog box lets users cancel the data retrieval if the user wants to. The message is helpful when you are troubleshooting because it tells the user the name of the server that Outlook is trying to retrieve data from.

In Outlook 2002, the message is as follows:
Outlook is retrieving data from the Microsoft Exchange Server server_name. You can cancel the request or minimize this message to the Windows taskbar until Outlook closes the message automatically.
In Outlook 2003, the message resembles the following message:

Collapse this imageExpand this image
A screen shot showing Outlook is trying to retrieve data from the Microsoft Exchange Server <servername>.

History

Microsoft Outlook 2000 users may notice that the program appears to stop responding when the user tries to send mail, receive mail, check appointments, or create appointments. When the program appears to stop responding, the user sees an hourglass icon, and the keyboard may not respond. The hourglass icon disappears and the keyboard responds after Outlook 2000 obtains the information it requires.

Because of user feedback, the Outlook product group added the "retrieving data" message in Outlook 2002.

Mechanics

In Outlook 2002 and Outlook 2003, when Outlook requests data from a Microsoft Exchange computer, Outlook calls a function that wraps the remote procedure call to the Exchange computer. This wrapper is the CancelableRPC wrapper. By default, this wrapper starts a timer and then issues the remote procedure call. The timer stops when a response is received. However, if the remote procedure call for data takes more than five seconds to return the data, the wrapper produces the “retrieving data” message. The dialog box that contains the message remains on the screen until the remote procedure call is answered or until the user clicks Cancel. If the action that the user performs in Outlook creates multiple remote procedure calls, the message could appear one time for each remote procedure call.

Because of the design of this feature in Outlook 2002, the Outlook 2002 user interface (UI) stops responding while the “retrieving data” message is displayed in a dialog box. In Outlook 2003 running in Cached Exchange Mode, this feature has been redesigned. Most of the time in Outlook 2003 running in Cached Exchange Mode, when the "retrieving data" message is displayed in a balloon, users can continue to use Outlook.

You receive this message as part of the standard interoperation of Outlook and Exchange. Even on the fastest network that has the best hardware and architecture, some remote procedure calls will take more than five seconds to obtain a response. This is a simple fact, and the appropriate expectations should be set with users. If the message appears only occasionally, no extensive troubleshooting is required. Trying to troubleshoot when the message appears only occasionally is not likely to be productive.

Remote procedure call is a sequential transport. When a remote procedure call is made, it must be answered, or the remote procedure call session must be restarted. This is different from a protocol like the Internet Protocol (IP) where packets can be received in any order and then reconstructed on the other side. This understanding is fundamental when you try to troubleshoot problems that are related to remote procedure calls that can be canceled from the dialog box or the balloon that contains the "receiving data" message.

Troubleshooting

Microsoft support engineers have determined that a two-pronged approach works best to troubleshoot these problems. This approach may involve support engineers from multiple Microsoft Product Support Services teams. Typically, the Exchange Administration team and the Exchange Client/Server Integration team work at the same time to provide the most effective resolution. There is some overlap because the support cases do not always originate with the same team.

Support engineers follow these steps to troubleshoot problems that are related to the "receiving data" message:
  1. A support engineer identifies the extent of the problem.
  2. The support engineer outlines the process for troubleshooting this problem.
  3. The support engineer and the customer gather data by using the following tools:
    • Performance Monitor Wizard (Perfwiz)

      To obtain this tool, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
      http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=31fccd98-c3a1-4644-9622-faa046d69214&DisplayLang=en
      In Microsoft Windows NT 4 environments, use Performance Monitor with the counters and the interval that the Exchange Administration support engineer recommends.
    • Microsoft Exchange Best Practices Analyzer

      To obtain this tool, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
      http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/exchange/bb288481.aspx
    • Exchange edition of the Microsoft Product Support Reporting Tool For more information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
      870640 How to install the Exchange edition of the Microsoft Product Support Reporting Tool
      To troubleshoot these problems, you must have the level of permissions that is required to run these tools. Work with the Exchange team within the organization to determine who can run these tools with the appropriate permissions in the organization.
  4. The Exchange Administration team analyzes the data that was collected by the three tools.
  5. After the data is collected by the tools, the Exchange Client/Server Integration team continues troubleshooting this case. The following tools are used in this step:
    • Network Monitor

      We require concurrent Network Monitor traces to determine whether the source of the problem is in the client, the network, the hardware, or the Exchange computer. The concurrent Network Monitor traces involve running Network Monitor on an Outlook client computer that is experiencing the problem and on the server whose name appears in the “retrieving data” message.

      Because of the way Network Monitor works, the capture must start running before the “retrieving data” message appears in Outlook. If the capture starts after a user reports this problem, the trace does not contain the data that are required to analyze the problem. However, Network Monitor cannot just be left to run. A buffer size must be configured for the trace. If the trace exceeds the buffer size, the capture is overwritten in a first-in-first-out manner. If the network monitor trace exceeds the buffer size, the data in the trace cannot be used to analyze the problem.

      The Exchange Client/Server Integration support engineer provides detailed Network Monitor instructions.
    • Trace-enabled .dll files in Outlook

      The Outlook remote procedure call commands can be traced by using a specific set of .dll files. The Exchange Client/Server Integration support engineer sends these files. Detailed instructions for this kind of tracing depend on the Outlook version. These instructions are provided by the Exchange Client/Server Integration support engineer.

Customer essentials

At any time, if questions come up that are related to the case or to the information in this document, do not hesitate to raise these questions with the support engineer.

You must engage the appropriate people within your organization so that data can be generated by using the three Exchange Administration tools first. This lets the Microsoft support engineers immediately start analyzing the problem. If the probable cause appears to be an Exchange performance issue, client-side troubleshooting will continue as needed after the performance issues are addressed.

The best time to collect the data from the server that is running Exchange is when the server is under user load. This is typically in the mornings when the Outlook users start work because they are opening e-mail messages and responding to those messages. Another typical load time is immediately following the lunch hour.

If client-side troubleshooting and data gathering is required, the support engineer has to know the actions that users are performing when the “retrieving data” message is frequently displayed. For example, the following information is important:
  • Is the user browsing a public folder that is homed in another administrative group? Does the public folder not exist as a replica in the user's own site?
  • Is the user opening a meeting that has many attendees?
  • Is the user creating or updating a meeting and checking the free-busy status of the attendees?
We encourage you to provide as many details as possible about the user actions that provoke the “retrieving data” message. More details may help us put the problem in the correct context more quickly. With this information, support engineers can focus their troubleshooting on the correct areas in Outlook and in Exchange.

Finally, analyze the Active Directory directory service architecture and the Exchange architecture in the environment. Be prepared to provide us with the answers to the following questions:
  • Are the global catalogs located on a local computer or on a remote computer?
  • Does the connectivity to the remote site involve passing through routers and firewalls?
  • Are there dedicated public folder servers?
  • Where are the system public folders homed?
Also, do the following:
  • Identify and then list the network devices between the Outlook client computers that are affected and the Exchange computer that hosts their mailboxes and public folders. This list may include hubs, switches, routers, internal firewalls, and other items. This list is helpful where one network segment is affected but another network segment is not affected.
  • Note any add-ins or Component Object Model (COM) add-ins that Outlook uses. To find these items, follow these steps:
    1. In Outlook, click Tools, click Options, click Other, and then click Advanced Options.
    2. In this window, click Add-in Manager and COM Add-ins. Note the contents of both windows. The following are the default items that are included with Exchange profiles:
      • Delegate Access
      • Deleted Item Recovery
      • Exchange Extensions Commands
      • Exchange Extensions property pages
      • Server Scripting (Typically, this item is not selected.)
Make sure to provide this information to the support engineer so that the problem can be resolved as quickly as possible.

For further information about performance issues with Outlook and Exchange, visit the following Microsoft web site:
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/4b012bda-8711-4617-9239-f3527de884a3.aspx

Workaround

To work around this problem, you can suppress or extend the time that passes before you receive the message. For more information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
293650 How to change the Cancel Request dialog box behavior in Outlook 2002
For Microsoft Office Outlook 2003, use the Custom Installation Wizard or use Group Policy to deploy the registry changes that are required to delay or to suppress the message.

Properties

Article ID: 892764 - Last Review: September 22, 2013 - Revision: 5.0
Applies to
  • Microsoft Office Outlook 2003
  • Microsoft Outlook 2002 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 Enterprise Edition
  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Exchange 2000 Server Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Exchange Server 5.5 Standard Edition
Keywords: 
kbtshoot KB892764

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