Outlook 2003 stops responding when a user tries to retrieve an attendee's free/busy information

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Microsoft ended support for Office 2003 on April 8, 2014. This change has affected your software updates and security options. Learn what this means for you and how to stay protected.

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When a Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 user tries to retrieve an attendee's free/busy information, Outlook 2003 stops responding. This problem occurs if all the following conditions are true:
  • The attendee's calendar contains an all-day event that spans more than one month and that is marked as busy.
  • The attendee's free/busy information was last updated by a Microsoft Collaboration Data Objects (CDO) program, such as BlackBerry.
This problem occurs because the CDO program cannot handle a condition in which the start time of an appointment occurs before the end time of another appointment. The CDO program cannot handle this condition in the following situations:
  • When the CDO program generates free/busy information for appointments that span from one month to the next month
  • When the CDO program generates free/busy information for appointments that span a period that is longer than 45 days

Hotfix information

A supported hotfix is available from Microsoft. However, this hotfix is intended to correct only the problem that is described in this article. Apply this hotfix only to systems that are experiencing this specific problem. This hotfix might receive additional testing. Therefore, if you are not severely affected by this problem, we recommend that you wait for the next software update that contains this hotfix.

If the hotfix is available for download, there is a "Hotfix download available" section at the top of this Knowledge Base article. If this section does not appear, contact Microsoft Customer Service and Support to obtain the hotfix.

Note If additional issues occur or if any troubleshooting is required, you might have to create a separate service request. The usual support costs will apply to additional support questions and issues that do not qualify for this specific hotfix. For a complete list of Microsoft Customer Service and Support telephone numbers or to create a separate service request, visit the following Microsoft Web site: Note The "Hotfix download available" form displays the languages for which the hotfix is available. If you do not see your language, it is because a hotfix is not available for that language.


You must install Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 Service Pack 1 (SP1) before you install the hotfix.

Restart requirement

You do not have to restart the computer after you install the hotfix.

Hotfix replacement information

This hotfix does not replace any other hotfixes.

File information

The English version of this hotfix has the file attributes (or later file attributes) that are listed in the following table. The dates and times for these files are listed in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). When you view the file information, it is converted to local time. To find the difference between UTC and local time, use the Time Zone tab in the Date and Time tool in Control Panel.
File nameFile versionFile sizeDateTimePlatform
To work around this problem, you can use the /CleanFreeBusy switch at a command prompt to start Outlook 2003. To do this, follow these steps:
  1. Quit Outlook 2003.
  2. Click Start, click Run, type the following command, and then press ENTER:
    "Drive_Letter:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office11\Outlook.exe" /CleanFreeBusy
    Note Enclose the path of the Outlook.exe file in quotation marks. Also, type a space before you type the switch option. Drive_Letter:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office11 is the folder where Outlook 2003 is typically installed.

    You must use the /CleanFreeBusy switch every time after a CDO program updates the free/busy information.
Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in the Microsoft products that are listed in the "Applies to" section.
More information
For more information, click the following article numbers to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
824684 Description of the standard terminology that is used to describe Microsoft software updates
817903 New naming schema for Exchange Server software update packages
OL2003 Outlook 2003 crash

Article ID: 906176 - Last Review: 01/15/2015 16:29:50 - Revision: 4.0

Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 Service Pack 1, Microsoft Office Outlook 2003

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