An Outlook 2003 Group Policy setting that forces Outlook clients to only use a Unicode offline folder is not applied correctly

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Article ID: 897064 - View products that this article applies to.
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Symptoms

You apply a Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 Group Policy. If the policy contains a setting that forces Microsoft Outlook clients that are using Cached Exchange Mode to only use a Unicode offline folder (.ost) file, you may experience one of the following symptoms:
  • The Outlook Group Policy settings may not be applied correctly.

    For example, the following Group Policy settings under Exchange Settings in the Outlook 2003 administrative template (.adm) are not applied.
    Collapse this tableExpand this table
    Group PolicyDescription
    Exchange Unicode Mode - Prefer ANSIEnable
    Do not prefer ANSI mode
    Exchange Unicode Mode - Ignore Archive FormatEnable
    Ignore existing format of the Archive PST
    Exchange Unicode Mode - Ignore OST FormatEnable
    Create new OST if format doesn't match mode
    When this problem occurs, the offline folder file may remain in ANSI format.
  • The Outlook Group Policy settings are applied, but the user is prompted to create a new offline folder file the next time that the user starts Outlook 2003.

    For example, the user may be prompted with the following message the next time they start Outlook 2003:
    Outlook must create a new Offline Folder file (.ost) to comply with a policy set by your administrator. To start creating the Offline Folder file now, click OK. Outlook will synchronize your data. This might take a long time. To create the file later, click Cancel.
    If the user clicks OK, the Offline Folder Settings dialog box appears.

    If the user clicks Cancel, they receive the following message:
    The Offline Folder file C:\path\Outlook.ost cannot be used in this profile. Your administrator has set a policy that lets you use only those Offline Folder files that provide more storage capacity and support multilingual Unicode data.

Cause

This problem occurs because the Outlook 2003 Group Policy detection logic does not correctly detect the existence of the "Exchange Unicode Mode - Ignore OST Format (IgnoreOSTFormat)" Group Policy setting. Group Policy settings that force clients to use a Unicode offline folder (.ost) file are not applied.

Resolution

This problem was first fixed in a hotfix that is now contained in a service pack. If you installed the latest Office 2003 service pack, you do not have to install the hotfix.

Service pack information

This problem is corrected in Office 2003 Service Pack 2.

To resolve this problem, obtain the latest service pack for Office 2003. For more information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
870924 How to obtain the latest service pack for Office 2003


After you install the service pack, follow the steps that are listed in the "More Information" section of the article to set the SilentOSTFormatChange registry key and to activate the hotfix.

Hotfix information

How to obtain the hotfix

This issue is fixed in the Outlook 2003 post-Service Pack 1 Hotfix Package that is dated February 15, 2005. For more information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
892089 Description of the Outlook 2003 post-Service Pack 1 hotfix package: February 15, 2005


After you install this hotfix, follow the steps that are listed in the "More Information" section.

Status

Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in the Microsoft products that are listed in the "Applies to" section. This problem was first corrected in Office 2003 Service Pack 2.

More information

Important This section, method, or task contains steps that tell you how to modify the registry. However, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Therefore, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up and restore the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
322756 How to back up and restore the registry in Windows

To enable this hotfix and to set the SilentOSTFormatChange registry key, follow these steps:
  1. Quit Outlook 2003.
  2. Click Start, click Run, type regedit in the Open box, and then click OK.
  3. Locate and then click to select the following registry subkey:
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Outlook\EMSP
  4. After you select the subkey that is specified in step 3, point to New on the Edit menu, and then click DWORD Value.
  5. Type SilentOSTFormatChange, and then press ENTER.
  6. Right-click SilentOSTFormatChange, and then click Modify.
  7. In the Value data box, type 1, and then click OK.
  8. On the File menu, click Exit to quit Registry Editor.

Additional administrator information

This hotfix updates the Group Policy detection logic for policy enforcement. When the "Exchange Unicode Mode - Ignore OST Format" Group Policy setting contains a value, the detection logic runs correctly and the policy is correctly enforced.

Additionally, this hotfix adds the new "Exchange Unicode Mode - Convert Format Silently" (SilentOSTFormatChange) Outlook Group Policy setting. The SilentOSTFormatChange Group Policy setting enables the new offline folder file to be renamed automatically without prompting the user.

Set and enable the SilentOSTFormatChange Outlook Group Policy Setting

To enable the SilentOSTFormatChange Outlook Group Policy setting by using the Outlook 2003 Group Policy administrative template file (OUTLK11.adm), follow these steps:
  1. Log on to a domain controller by using an account that has administrative permissions.
  2. Right-click the OUTLK11.adm file, click Open With, and then click Choose Program.
  3. In the Open With dialog box, click Notepad, and then click OK.
  4. In Notepad, scroll to the end of the text. Then, enter the new registry key and a description before END CATEGORY.

    For example, the following code adds the SilentOSTFormatChange Outlook Group Policy setting to the Outlook Group Policy template.
    POLICY "Exchange Unicode Mode - Convert Format Silently"
    KEYNAME "Software\Policies\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Outlook\EMSP"
    	PART "Convert to required OST format silently" CHECKBOX
    				VALUENAME SilentOSTFormatChange
    				VALUEON NUMERIC 1
    				VALUEOFF NUMERIC 0
    	END PART
    	END POLICY

    END CATEGORY END CATEGORY
After you import the OUTLK11.adm file, you can set the following policies:
Collapse this tableExpand this table
Group PolicyDescription
Exchange Unicode Mode - Prefer ANSIEnable
Do not prefer ANSI mode
Exchange Unicode Mode - Ignore Archive FormatEnable
Ignore existing format of the Archive PST
Exchange Unicode Mode - Ignore OST FormatEnable
Create new OST if format does not match mode
Exchange Unicode Mode - Convert Format SilentlyEnable
Convert to required OST format silently
As soon as you set the policies, the Outlook clients are forced to use a Unicode offline folder file. This Unicode offline folder file is now automatically created, and you will be required to perform a full sychronization so that Outlook can be used in Cached Exchange Mode.

The following registry subkey is created when you apply these policy settings:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Outlook\EMSP\SilentOSTFormatChange
You can use this registry subkey with the IgnoreOSTFormat=2 setting. As soon as this subkey is set to this setting, Outlook users can choose to delay full synchronization.

This subkey lets an Outlook client that is using a low-bandwidth connection choose whether to perform a full sychronization.

After you install this hotfix, if the user chooses to enable the policy enforcement for the current session, a new offline folder file is automatically created for the user.

Note Typically, you must log off and then log back on to Microsoft Windows two times before the offline folder file policy settings are enforced. You must do this because your account is logged onto the offine folder file before your account is logged on to the Microsoft Exchange Information Store service when Outlook is run in Cached Exchange Mode.

Properties

Article ID: 897064 - Last Review: September 3, 2013 - Revision: 3.0
Applies to
  • Microsoft Office Outlook 2003
Keywords: 
kboffice2003sp2fix kbemail kboffice2003presp2fix kbqfe kbbug kbfix KB897064

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