Exchange Free/Busy Problems

After searching for a few hours and feeling seriously inadequate in my Google-Fu, I finally found a fix for a problem that doesn’t seem to have happened to anyone else.  So, if you have run across this issue, I feel your pain…

The boss lady called yesterday to let me know that she could not email her calendar with ONLY Free/Busy information.

The calendar you are saving does not contain any appointments during the specified date range:

Now, her error showed a date range for a month, not a single day.  Changing the options to include Limited data worked fine.  But this isn’t always acceptable.  If you’re sending this info to a vendor to help with scheduling a meeting, the vendor doesn’t need to know you have lunch plans with a competitor or an interview scheduled for next Friday.  They just need to know you aren’t available.

As I mentioned earlier, I searched for at least an hour and a half for this error.  After verifying that this occurred on my machine as well, I ruled out Outlook and started looking for solutions regarding Exchange.  I came across this great Technet article.  I downloaded the MAPI Editor tool and proceeded to follow the instructions in the Removing Free/Busy Information from the Schedule+ Free/Busy Folder section.

To remove Free/Busy information from the Schedule+ Free/Busy folder

  1. Log on as an account that has Exchange Full Administrative permissions. For more information about permissions, see Microsoft Knowledge Base article 823018, “Overview of Exchange administrative role permissions in Exchange 2003” at
  2. Start MAPI Editor.
  3. On the Session menu, click Logon and Display Store Table.
    If the Choose Profile dialog box does not appear, you are probably already logged on to a profile. Log off the client and profile, and try step 3 again.
  4. Select the profile that you created for the directory service mailbox, and then click OK.
  5. On the MDB menu, click Open Public Folder Store, select Use Admin Privileges, and then click OK.
  6. In the Public Folders window, expand Public Root, and then expand NON_IPM_SUBTREE. The SCHEDULE+ FREE BUSY folder is displayed.
  7. Expand the SCHEDULE+ FREE BUSY folder.

    The subfolders of the Schedule + Free/Busy folder will be of the form EX:/o=Organization/ou=domain.

  8. Double-click the appropriate folder to open it.
    The folder could have several messages in it. Press Escape (ESC) to stop loading messages.
  9. Table/Create and Apply Content Restriction can be used to restrict the table to show only messages you are looking for. For example, because the subjects of free/busy messages take the form USER-/CN=container/CN=username, a restriction on PR_SUBJECT (0x0037001E) for the value “username” with the flags 0x00010001 (FL_SUBSTRING | FL_IGNORECASE) could be used to locate one specific message. Note that on large folders, restrictions may take time to apply.
  10. When the problem message is located, if you want to delete it, right-click the message, and then click Delete Message.
  11. When you are prompted, select Permanent Deletion (deletes to deleted item retention…) from the drop-down list, and then click OK.
  12. Using Outlook, create a new appointment for this user to force re-creation of the Free/Busy message.

Voila!  Emailing the calendar with only Free/Busy status works as expected. 😀

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010 Exchange, Microsoft

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