Error message when you use Outlook: "The Rules on this machine do not match the rules on your Exchange Server"


When you use Microsoft Outlook, you may receive the following error message:
The Rules on this machine do not match the rules on your Exchange Server. Only one set of rules can be kept. You will usually want to keep the rules on the server. Which rules do you want to keep?
The only available options to close the error message are Client, Server, and Cancel.


This problem may occur if one of the following conditions is true.

Two Outlook Computers Are Connected to the same Microsoft Exchange Server Mailbox

If two computers are connected to the same Exchange Server mailbox, you can configure each profile to update the rules on the server from one computer.

This is illustrated by the following scenario:

Computer W (your work computer):
  1. Create a profile where the Exchange Server delivers to a personal folders (.pst) file.
  2. Create a new e-mail folder called "PST subfolder" (without the quotation marks).
  3. Create the following rule:

    Condition: Subject contains "PST"
    Action: move to folder "PST subfolder"
  4. Verify that this rule functions correctly.
  5. Close Outlook.
Computer H (your home computer):
  1. Create a profile were the same Exchange Server account delivers to the mailbox.
  2. Start Outlook with this profile.
  3. On the Tools menu, click Rules Wizard. Notice that the rule is disabled because this is only applicable to the computer with the .pst file.
  4. Cancel the Rules Wizard.
  5. Exit Outlook.
Computer W:

  1. Start Outlook.
  2. The Client/Server dialog appears.
If you click the Server button as the dialog suggests, you will lose your rule. This occurs because the rules associated with the Exchange Server mailbox (there are not any in this scenario) replace the one that is associated with the personal folders (.pst) file. In this scenario, you should choose to keep the "Client" copy of rules.

Different Versions of Outlook Connected to the Same Exchange Server Mailbox

The error message described in the "Symptoms" section of this article can also occur when the same Exchange Server mailbox is accessed by both Outlook 2002 or a later and a previous version of Microsoft Outlook. The following is an example of this scenario where Outlook 2002 and Microsoft Outlook 2000 are accessing the same Exchange Server mailbox:

Computer A (Running Outlook 2000):

  1. Create a profile with the Exchange Server Service where the Exchange Server mailbox is the default delivery location.
  2. Create rules, and then verify that they function properly.
Computer B (Running Outlook 2002):

  1. Create a profile with the same Exchange Server as on Computer A. Keep the Exchange Server mailbox as the default delivery location.
  2. Start Outlook 2002.
  3. The Client/Server dialog appears.
If you choose the Server option on the Outlook 2002 computer, then you may receive the same error message on the Outlook 2000 computer.


Use one of the following methods to resolve this problem:
  1. Choose to keep the server-side rules or the client-side rules.
  2. If the error message continues to appear, you may have to delete all your rules and re-import them.
  3. Use MDBVu to delete all rules and re-import them.

Keep Either the Server-Side or Client-Side Rules

It is important that you choose the side that applies to most of your rules. For example, if your messages are stored in an Exchange Server mailbox, a majority of your rules are server-side rules. If your messages are stored in a Personal folder, most of your rules are client-side. Once you have decided which side to use, you may need to be re-adjusted some rules so that they function properly.

How to Delete and Re-Import Your Rules

Before you do this step, export a copy of your rules to an .RWZ file so that you can import them later. To do this:
  1. On the Outlook Tools menu, click Rules Wizard.
  2. Click the Options button.
  3. Click Export Rules.
  4. Browse to where you want to save the .RWZ file, give it a file name that is easy to remember, and then click Save.
  5. Click OK twice.
After you have exported a copy of your rules, use the following steps to delete all your rules, and then import them from the .RWZ file that you exported them to in the previous steps:
  1. On the Outlook Tools menu, click Rules Wizard.
  2. In the Rules Wizard dialog box, click to select a rule, and then click the Delete button.
  3. Repeat step 2 until there are not any rules remaining.
  4. Close and restart Outlook.
  5. On the Outlook Tools menu, click Rules Wizard.
  6. Click Options.
  7. Click Import Rules.
  8. Find the .RWZ file that you exported you rules to, and then click Open.
  9. Verify that the rules are configured correctly.
  10. Click OK.

How to Use MDBVu to Delete and Re-Import Rules

Before you do this step, be sure to export a copy of your rules to an .RWZ file so that you can import them later. Use the following steps to use MDBVu to delete the rules in your mailbox:
  1. Double-click the Mdbvu32.exe file, and then select the proper profile when you receive the prompt.
  2. In the MAPILogonEX(MAPI_LOGON_UI) dialog box, click OK.
  3. In the MDB Viewer dialog box, click MDB, and then click OpenMessageStore.
  4. Click Mailbox, and then click Open.
  5. In the MDB Viewer dialog box, click MDB, and then click OpenRootFolder.
  6. In the MAPI_FOLDER - Root dialog box, locate and double-click Top of Information Store in the ChildFolders box.
  7. In the MAPI_FOLDER - Top of Information Store dialog box, locate and double-click Inbox in the ChildFolders box.
  8. In the MAPI_FOLDER - Inbox dialog box, locate the Associated Messages in Fld box, and then locate and click Outlook Rules Organizer.

    Note Do not double-click Outlook Rules Organizer.
  9. In the Operations available list, click
    IpFld->DeleteMessaes()(ON SELECTED MSGS), and then click
    Call Function. Click OK when you receive the confirmation window.
  10. Continue with the previous steps, but do not delete the Outlook Rules Organizer. Instead, look at each item that starts with "cb: 40|*pb:" (without the quotation marks). Double-click these items, and then verify if the following line is present:
    Each item should have a Message Class, but it is the IPM.RULE.MESSAGE portion that you are interested in. Delete any item that has IMP.RULE.MESSAGE present.
  11. Click Close until you return to the MDB Viewer box.
  12. Click the Session menu, and then click Exit.
  13. Click OK to all dialog boxes that you receive.


Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in the Microsoft products that are listed in the "Applies to" section.

More Information

When "client-only" (without the quotation marks) is next to a rule, it means that the client must be logged on for the rule to take action (for example, "Play a sound" is a meaningless action if the client is not logged on). In contrast, a server-side rule can take action without the client being logged on, such as an action to move an item to another folder (provided the other folder is not in a Personal folder). Client-only rules are also stored on the server. They are evaluated when messages arrive in the server inbox, regardless of whether the client is logged on. If it is determined that the client needs to be connected for the action to take place, a deferred action message is created on the server, downloaded to the client the next time the client logs on, and the payload is delivered to the client.


The Mdbvu32.exe file can be found on the Exchange Server 5.5 CD, under the Support\Utils\I386 directory.