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Outlook 2003 and WHS 2011 - creating a free/busy file

    Question

  • I am trying to publish a free/busy file on WHS 2011 from Outlook 2003 running on Windows 7 Professional. It fails every time.

    When I look at the Event Viewer I get: An error occurred publishing your Internet free/busy data. Write operation failed at URL: xxxxxx.xxxxx

    If I put the information in the address bar of Firefox or Explorer I get: 404 - File or directory not found

    I have tried using the server name, the url for homeserver.com, and the IP address assigned to the server. I get the same result whether or not I'm logged in to the server. I've checked and changed permissions everywhere I can find.

    If I map a drive to the folder where I want to copy the file it works. The problem is I know I can't get to the file across the Internet because the map won't pertain.

    I have played with IIS some, but I'm having a hard time finding any consistent, understandable help for how it works and what I should be doing. Most write ups I find are done by people who obviously know the product well, and don't write the article with a novice in mind so they leave out steps and explanations. I'm a tech with 30 years experience and I'm not used to being stymied so completely.

    Can anyone help?

    Rhys_syhR

    Wednesday, 14 March 2012 12:00 PM

Answers

  • I went back to another forum and asked another question. It turned out to be a permissions issue.

    The poster was the first person to mention that Outlook needed anonymous to have full permission to the folder where I want Outlook to publish the free/busy file.

    Once I added anonymous it worked.

    I knew it would end up being simple. It's been quite a while since I've done this type of work and that was something I would have done years ago. Being retired has a tendency to place one out of the loop and "use it or lose it" comes into play.

    Thanks for the help and recommendations. I may end up with an exchange server anyway if this doesn't fill the bill.


    Rhys_syhR

    • Marked as answer by Rhys_syhR Wednesday, 14 March 2012 5:42 PM
    Wednesday, 14 March 2012 5:42 PM

All replies

  • What it boils down to is that what you want to do isn't trivial to configure (not something I would recommend for a self-professed novice, because missteps in configuring IIS on your server can result in fairly severe issues), and isn't supported in Windows Home Server (which already has a fully configured web server). Most likely the issue you're experiencing is related to permissions, which adds an additional level of complexity. 

    In general, though, what I would try is:

    • Add the FTP service to your server.
    • Configure a folder on your server to hold free/busy information.
    • Secure the folder so that only authorized users can access files in it, and those users can both read and write those files.
    • Publish that folder through your FTP server as e.g. ftp://rhysserver.homeserver.com/freebusy.
    • Configure outlook to access your free/busy data via e.g. ftp://rhys:password@rhysserver.homeserver.com/freebusy/rhys.vfb

    This might work or it might not. It should at least be close. I haven't tried it, however, and won't because there's a (significant) caveat: FTP is a protocol that is increasingly avoided because it uses unsecured (i.e. plain text) telnet as it's control channel, through which all commands are sent. This includes authentication information. (In this case, you're embedding authentication information in the URL.) Any time you configure an FTP server, you should expect lots of hackers trying to break in.

    My recommendation for an alternative is to look into either a hosted Exchange solution (possibly not overly expensive if you don't have many users) or switch to web based mail and calendar à la Google Calendar and GMail.


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)

    Wednesday, 14 March 2012 2:41 PM
    Moderator
  • Thank you. I, too, am leery of FTP. Oddly enough someone on another forum I frequent is asking about securing an FTP server for sending pictures to a relative. There are a lot of warnings being given to him.

    I'll look into a hosted exchange solution. I'm trying to keep all this as inexpressive as possible, but maybe I'll get lucky.


    Rhys_syhR

    Wednesday, 14 March 2012 4:22 PM
  • A basic hosted Exchange solution should be available for as little as $4.00 to $5.00 per month, per seat. It will allow you to keep your calendar on the Exchange server, and will generally allow you to share it with others in your domain. It may include other features as well.

    A hosted Exchange solution will almost always require you to buy a domain specifically for that purpose unless you have a domain already (please note that a homeserver.com URL is not a domain for this purpose).


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)

    Wednesday, 14 March 2012 4:55 PM
    Moderator
  • I went back to another forum and asked another question. It turned out to be a permissions issue.

    The poster was the first person to mention that Outlook needed anonymous to have full permission to the folder where I want Outlook to publish the free/busy file.

    Once I added anonymous it worked.

    I knew it would end up being simple. It's been quite a while since I've done this type of work and that was something I would have done years ago. Being retired has a tendency to place one out of the loop and "use it or lose it" comes into play.

    Thanks for the help and recommendations. I may end up with an exchange server anyway if this doesn't fill the bill.


    Rhys_syhR

    • Marked as answer by Rhys_syhR Wednesday, 14 March 2012 5:42 PM
    Wednesday, 14 March 2012 5:42 PM