Whether on-premise or in the cloud, a lot of Lync administrators must have one time or another faced the inevitable task of sorting out the challenges working with the Address Book in Lync 2013 and 2010. Let us remind ourselves how the common incidents manifest themselves when searching for a Lync contact:
- prolong status message “The address book is preparing to synchronize. Search results might not be current.” even after initial Lync address book synchronization ended (random period up to 60 minutes to download the address book).
- “Cannot synchronize with the corporate address book. This may be because the proxy server setting in your web browser does not allow access to the address book. If the problem continues, contact your support team (system administrator).” failure message.
- ‘EWS not deployed’ or ‘EWS deployed’ yet with empty entries in ‘EWS Internal URL’ and ‘EWS External URL’ in an Exchange 201x environment (Control right mouse click on the Lync icon in Windows System Tray > Configuration Information)
- “Lync cannot connect to the Exchange server…”, “Lync is experiencing connection issues with the Exchange server” or similar error messages (infamous red bang or exclamation mark)
- Lync enabled-users appear offline, show as ‘presence unknown’ or only reachable with the SIP prefix when conducting a search i.e. sip:firstname.lastname@example.org
Despite following to the letter common workarounds or recommendations, some of which are listed below …
- KB2435699 - delete files located in ..\Communicator or .\Lync folder, erase the entire sip_<sign-in name> folder, check Blocked Contacts group, etc.
- quit Lync, delete GalContacts.db* and force the download of the Address Book by editing the GalDownloadInitialDelay (DWORD) via the registry key HKLM\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Communicator.
This may not work for users operating in a desktop lock-down environment as privileged access is essential.
- ascertain the EWS settings are properly configured on the Exchange Server backend (via PowerShell cmdlets to configure the virtual URL paths), including appropriate A/CNAME Host and Autodiscover SRV DNS records (or registry keys).
- run through the checks and workarounds as outlined in:
- my previous posts “Field Notes: Deploying Office Communicator 2007 R2 / Lync 2010” and “Lync Services Sign In - Credentials are required” for a collection of causes and fixes
- fellow Lync MVP Curtis Johnstone ’s write-out on “Lync Address Book – Client Synchronization Errors and Common Problems” (with extra tips worth a second read)
- fellow Lync MVP Jeff Schertz ’s look into how “Updating the Lync 2010 Address Book” could mitigate this issue on both the server and client perspective, including the neat trick described in “Forcing Lync Address Book Web Query” (pay attention to the concluding part “Why Do This?”)
… one form or another of the same issue persists i.e. contacts in Lync appear offline or aren’t searchable in the address book.
Now The Fun Part
Lync Server administrators are not necessary the same folks that design, run and support the Exchange Server 2013/2010 infrastructure. Nevertheless, administrators should no longer be oblivious to the fact that Lync works better together with Exchange where the latter’s technologies are “exploited” to the fullness and tightly integrated.
From Unified Messaging, single unified contact store, Exchange Web Services (EWS), Outlook Web App and Lync IM integration to archiving (Exchange In-Place hold for compliance and governance), a Lync administrator should be conversant and stay current with new developments in Exchange Server.
What has this got to do with the Lync 2013 / Lync 2010 address book issue? Well, you see, my colleague Michael and I were working on a strange case (way to go Michael!). Almost exhausted of ideas pertaining to this issue, we realized that the cause could be related to the parallel Exchange 201x migration project.
The affected users were visible and fully searchable in the Global Address List (GAL) in the source Exchange organization prior to being (inter Exchange organization) migrated to the new 201x Email system. After homed on the latter with a shiny new mailbox, the users no longer appeared in the Outlook Address List nor Lync contact when explicitly search, although the SIP prefix trick confirmed that such accounts are indeed reachable for supported Lync communications modalities (IM, audio, etc.).
With the help of
Get-ADuser -Identity $username -Properties *
and meticulously inspecting the various Active Directory attributes, it was discovered that a key AD attribute, namely msExchHideFromAddressLists was unexpectedly set to True by the Exchange migration tool. Changing the value to False informs Exchange to unhide the contact in the GAL, hence enabling Lync’s Address Book Server via User Replicator to retrieve the GAL and build an updated Address Book database. This makes searching for the contact possible once again both in the Outlook Address Book List and Lync (give time for AD replication to propagate though). Incident / issue / problem solved!
Besides the msExchHideFromAddressLists attribute, a few other notable ones exist that could affect the user’s experience working with the Lync 2013/2010 client and Outlook/Exchange 2013/2010. Should this be an organization’s policy or requirements, say, show only Lync/SIP-enabled users in the GAL, the 0×800 bit in the Flags for the aforementioned attributes must be cleared. Subsequently, the Lync cmdlets Update-CsUserDatabase and Update-CsAddressBook must be executed to refresh the Address Book files.
- Administering the Address Book Service (TechNet link)
- Lync Server 2013 and Exchange Server 2013: Powerful communicator (TechNet Magazine link)
- Integrating Microsoft Lync Server 2013 and Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 (TechNet link)
- Lync 2013 / 2010 Integration (TechNet Lync 2013, Lync 2010)
- Lync 2013 / 2010 Compatibility (TechNet Lync 2013, Lync 2010)
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