Microsoft recently released a number of security patches for Office for Mac, including updates for Office 2008, Office 2004, and the Entourage Web Services Edition.

According to a March 16th post on MacWindows.com, however, the Office 2008 update (12.2.4) may trigger the long-standing issue of being unable to save Word .doc & .docx files to a Windows server. If you have not been experiencing problems saving files to a Windows server, be very careful before applying this update!

MacWindows.com has posted several potential workarouuds for this issue, including disabling the autosave/recover feature & changing the owner of the sahre on the Windows server to NETWORK SERVICE.

As always, if you plan to upgrade, make sure you have a recent backup and complete plenty of testing before rolling out this upgrade.

Advertisements

Microsoft recently updated Entourage 2008, releasing the Entourage 2008 Web Services Edition update, a small but noteworthy update that moves Entourage’s feature set a few steps closer to Outlook. The Web Services update abandons WebDAV in favor of the Web Services protocol for all communication with Exchange servers.

According to Microsoft, Exchange Web Services offers a “more robust feature set” and supports an Out of Office Assistant, logging, and improved Autodiscover and synchronization services. Stability and compatibility between email clients is improved by shifting responsibilities from client applications to the server.

System Requirements:
  • Intel, PPC G5 or PPC G4 processor (500MHz & higher)
  • 512MB of RAM
  • OS X 10.4.9 or later
  • 1.5GB of free hard drive space
  • Microsoft Office SP2 (12.2.0) or higher
  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 SP1 with Connectivity to Update Rollup 4 or higher (Mailbox & Client Access servers)

NOTE: The Entourage 2008 Web Services Edition is NOT compatible with Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 or earlier. If access to earlier versions of Microsoft Exchange Server is required, do not apply the Entourage 2008 Web Services Edition update.


A comparison of features offered by WebDAV and Web Services:

Function Entourage 2008(Uses WebDAV and Exchange Web Services) Entourage 2008, Web Services Edition
Provides logic for calendaring (such as handling meeting and calendar events) on the server Feature not included Feature Included
Synchronizes tasks with the Exchange server Feature not included Feature Included
Synchronizes notes with the Exchange server Feature not included Feature Included
Synchronizes categories with the Exchange server Feature not included Feature Included
Includes interoperability with Exchange server business logic Feature not included Feature Included
Provides GAL details Feature not included Feature Included
Enables meeting attachments Feature not included Feature Included
Provides logging Feature not included Feature Included
Enables Autodiscover service for hosted accounts Feature not included Feature Included
Synchronizes contacts with Exchange server Feature Included Feature Included
Enables implementation of corporate archival policies by using managed folders Feature Included Feature Included
Exposes attendee free/busy information Feature Included Feature Included
Enables delegate management (such as setting on-behalf rights) Feature Included Feature Included
Enables delegate access Feature Included Feature Included
Provides additional out-of-office settings, such as separate internal and external out-of-office messages Feature Included Feature Included
Provides access to Exchange server over HTTP Feature Included Feature Included
Synchronizes folders and items Feature Included Feature Included
Enables proxy auto-config (.pac) files Feature Included Feature Included
Resolves ambiguous names Feature Included Feature Included
Enables meeting reminders Feature Included Feature Included
Provides public folder support Feature Included Feature Included
Enables Spotlight search Feature Included Feature Included
Supports integrated Windows (Kerberos and NTLM) authentication and client certificate-based authentication

Feature Included Feature is included Feature not included Feature is not included

Office2003.logo.jpg

Microsoft released three updates for it’s Office suite last week: Office 2004 for Mac 11.5.5 Update, Office 2008 for Mac 12.2.3 Update, & most importantly, Entourage 2008 Web Services Edition.

System Requirements:
Office 2004 11.5.6 Update: Mac OS X 10.2.8 or higher & the Office 2005 11.5.5 Update.
Office 2008 12.2.3 Update: Mac OS X 10.4.9 or higher & the Office for Mac 2008 Service Pack 1 (12.1.0).
Entourage 2008 Web Services Edition: Office 12.2.3 Update & Mac OS X 10.4.9 (client-side) as well as Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 with Service Pack 1 & the Connectivity to Update Rollup 4 or later.

The Office 2004 & 2008 updates are mostly security and stability updates with additional updates for Microsoft Document Connection included in the Office 2008 12.2.3 Update.

The Entourage 2008 for Mac Web Services Edition is a major update for Entourage/Exchange connectivity, moving Entourage to the Exchange Web Services protocol for Exchange communication. This allows for improvements in calendaring & stability, introduces the ability to sync notes, tasks, & categories, and enables diagnostic logging capabilities, among other features. Read more about the Entourage Web Services Update.

Updates can be downloaded using the Microsoft AutoUpdate Tool or via from the following links:
Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac 11.5.5 Update
Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac 12.2.3 Update
Microsoft Entourage 2008 Web Services Edition

As always, make sure to have a recent backup before running any updates. As will all Office for Mac Updates, there is no easy way to rollback an update short of removing & reinstalling the Office Suite.

iphone_homeApple’s recently released iPhone OS 3.1 has caused headaches & more than a little confusion for some users with Microsoft Exchange accounts. While the OS 3.1 update improves security policy adherence for iPhones when connecting to Exchange Servers, it also has the unfortunate side effect of breaking security compatibility with pre-3GS iPhones & all but the most recent iPod touches. The end result: many iPhone users who upgraded to OS 3.1 suddenly fond they could no longer sync with any Exchange Servers!

Fortunately, the synchronization issue is limited to Exchange 2007 Servers running SP1 & above, & there is a work-around to re-enable synchronization. Unfortunately, the work-around requires either convincing Exchange administrators to create a security policy exception or rolling back to OS3.0 on the iPhone.

In order to re-enable Exchange syncing with pre-3GS iPhones, Exchange administrators will need to create an EAS policy exception that will allow connections to mobile devices that do not support device encryption (either globally or on a per-user basis).

If the creation of policy exceptions is not an option (& that will likely be the case more often than not) there are 2 options: 1) upgrade to iPhone 3GS or one of the latest 32GB or 64GB iPod touch models, or 2) rollback to OS 3.0 (what will undoubtedly be the most popular solution).

The easiest way to rollback to OS 3.0 is obviously to restore the phone from a recent backup using iTunes (you did create a backup before you upgraded your phone, didn’t you???). Apple has a support article detailing how to backup, update, & restore iPhones & iPods. In case of emergency (ie: no recent backups!) you can go to this site to download firmware for iPhones & iPods. [NOTE: This site is NOT supported by Apple in ANY way!!!)

Finally, Apple has also updated it’s Enterprise Deployment Guide for iPhones. If you’re a sys-admin involved in the deployment & management of iPhones &/or iPods in an enterprise environment, this doc is a must-read.

entourage_mac_2008_iconWhile most of the blog coverage on the recent Office 2008 12.1.9 Update focused on the patching of Word vulnerabilities, considerably less attention was paid to what seems to me to be a much more important aspect of the update: Exchange Web Services support.

Entourage Web Services is Microsoft’s upcoming attempt to “achieve greater parity between Entourage and Outlook.”

According to Microsoft’s Description of the Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac 12.1.9 Update, this update is a “prerequisite for the installation of Microsoft Entourage 2008 for Mac Web Services Edition” and will have to be installed before the Entourage 2008 Web Services Edition can be installed.

Microsoft will be abandoning CalDAV for Exchange Web Services (EWS), which should offer better “performance, compatibility, and reliability” since EWS allows Entourage to shift the bulk of the ‘heavy lifting’ to the exchange server, rather than relying on the client to carry the load as it does now. It will also allow for the syncing of Tasks, Notes, and Categories with an Exchange server and will use EWS & HTTP to resolve names from the Global Address List, among other features.

Entourage for Exchange Web Services requires Exchange Server 2007 running Service Pack 1 with Update Rollup 4 or greater. Clients need to be running OS X 10.4.9 or later and the 12.1.9 update for Office 2008 for Mac, plus the Entourage for Exchange Web Services Edition (once released). More information on the Entourage for Exchange Web Services Edition can be found at The Office for Mac Team Blog.

Entourage Web Services is still in the beta stage, however, and not yet available to the general public. Its inclusion in the 12.1.9 update seems to imply that that may soon change.

Update to version 12.1.9 of Office update using the Auto-Update tool, or download the 12.1.9 update directly from Microsoft’s support site.

As with all software updates to mission critical software, please be careful.

entourage_mac_2008_iconWhen Entourage runs its Send & Receive routine, it copies data from the Exchange server to the local workstation. It’s not uncommon for this local cache to get corrupted, which typically results in erratic synchronization. The end result is users that don’t receive new emails or the emails they send never reach the recipient. Even more frustrating for users is that the problems are usually random – some mail comes & goes fine, some doesn’t. A critical clue is that when using the OWA web interface, there aren’t any problems sending or receiving mail.

Fortunately there’s an easy fix – clear the cache in Entourage. You can clear caches on specific folders, or for the entire account. The process deletes all the data that’s stored on the local workstation, then connects to the Exchange server & downloads everything from scratch. Think of it as a kind of reset button for the user’s Entourage account. Instructions for clearing the Entourage cache are below. If you’re interested in a little more info on the subject, check out this post. For instructions, read on.

Reseting the Exchange cache in Entourage

  • Right-click on the exchange identity (or sub-folder) & select Folder Properties

ExchangeIdentity.jpg

  • Under the General tab, click the Empty button in the section titled Empty Cache. NOTE: Any local items (calendar events, etc) that have NOT been synced with the Exchange server will be lost.

EntourageWarning.jpg

  • It may take some time to download all of the users data from the Exchange server. Be patient.

entourage_mac_2008_iconAccessing shared folders & calendars is one of the handiest features of Exchange services. Unfortunately, Entourage doesn’t handle shared folders quite as gracefully as some would like. When trying to access folders or calendars shared through MS Exchange accounts, it’s not uncommon to receive the following error:

The user’s folder could not be found. Entourage could not find a mailbox for the user User_Name

This error occurs even though the mailbox does exits & the user followed Microsoft’s directions to the letter – as found here.

There are a couple of potential causes for this error, but the most consistent workaround is to point Entourage directly to the URL of the shared calendar or folder rather than leaving Entourage to try & find the path itself.

Note: You may need to contact you system or exchange administrator to get the full URL of the calendar or folder in order to complete the steps below…

Use the full URL to open the shared calendar

  1. Click File, and then click Open Other User’s Folder.
  2. Click Find user.
  3. Click Advanced.
  4. Enter the user name & email address for the calendar you would like to access.
  5. Type the full URL to the user’s account and Exchange server.
    1. (The URL should be in the following format: https://exchange.<ServerName>.com/exchange/<EmailAddress> )
  6. Click OK.
  7. On the Type menu, click Calendar, and then click OK.
  8. It typically takes some time for the calendar to fully synchronize with the events on the server. Be patient.

More detailed information on this issue can be found in the following Microsoft knowledge base article (The article refers to Office 2004 but is still valid for Office 2008).

word-iconWord’s infamous “Unable to Save: Disk Full or Too Many Files are Open” error apparently still hasn’t resolved , as of the latest version of Office 2008 (v12.1.5).

It popped up today at a clients office when one of the staff was attempting to save a .doc to her desktop. Saving to a new location produced the same result. So did trying to save it as a .docx file.

Fortunately, there’s a fairly painless work-around: save the file as a Rich Text Format (.rtf) document. Then close & re-launch Word & open the .rtf file & re-save it as a Word document. Unless you have some exotic formatting, everything should look identical.

It’s important to note that this is more of a bug then a genuine error & doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with having too many files open. And while it occurs most often when trying to save files to network shares, apparently local saves are not entirely exempt either.

Details on the causes of the error, as found on word.mvps.org, can be found below. It’s a bit old & focused on saving to servers but the general principles (& problems) seem to apply for local saves, too.

Here’s a  link to a short thread on the subject from Mactopia’s Office For Mac forums.

Can’t Save or Re-Save

Cause

The error message you see “Unable to Save: Disk Full or Too Many Files Are Open” is a generic “Sorry I am unable to save” message, and it can be caused by anything that prevents Word from obtaining an acknowledgement of completing its write to disk, including userID permissioning errors, failed network connections, more than about 9 documents open at once, inability to store or release its lock file on the server, or even the reason stated!

However, the cause we are most familiar with on the Mac is due to bugs in the transport between OS X and the file server. Apple and Microsoft introduced changes to overcome a security hole a few months ago, which caused the data stream between the client and server to be authenticated more strictly, and this has exposed errors which have been there forever.

The issue is with the way Word “streams” a file to or from storage. The problems are not exposed in other applications, because they do not attempt to open multiple connections with the file server.

Work-Around

One work-around that is partially successful is to set the Word>Preferences>Save to ensure that Fast Saves is OFF and Always Make Backup is ON. This doesn’t cure the problem, but on some kinds of servers, it raises the number of saves you get before you see the problem to around 60 saves, which is more than most users do on a single document.

When a user gets this error, they will find that if they attempt to save the document in RTF format to their local disk, they will usually succeed, thus preserving their work. (Italics are mine).

Until this bug is finally fixed, users can use Finder to copy their document from the server to their local disk, work on it there, then use Finder to copy it back again. Word must be quit, not just minimized, when you copy the document back to the server.  The bug won’t strike if both the file and its attached template are on a local drive.

Other than that, all you can do is keep your server and client patches up to the latest released levels and keep hoping: just like the rest of us.

Microsoft posted a new update to their Office 2008 suite – version 12.1.4. This update is a fix for a bug created by the previous Office update (v12.1.3) which can prevent Entourage from sending & receiving meeting invitations.

The issue appears to occur most often with Identities that have both pop & exchange accounts configured & typically generates the following error:

“Unexpected Data was Encountered. Mail Could not be Sent.”

Error -17997

It seems that the 12.1.3 update broke a previously functional feature (namely, the ability to send & receive invitations from MS Exchange accounts). To Microsoft’s credit, they acknowledged the error & released a patch within (roughly) two weeks, which is not bad turnaround time. (We’ll leave the obvious question as to why they released another buggy update in the first place for another time…)

More information and the update itself can be found on Microsoft’s updates page.