While I feel very comfortable with Exchange, I have to say that I am not very strong when it comes to all of the troubleshooting issues when it comes to Outlook. OK, I am a weakling.
Luckily, Microsoft has released a couple of really nice tools:
- Outlook Configuration Analyzer Tool (OCAT) – This tool tests Outlook configurations by comparing the actual settings of Outlook to a set of rules developed by a couple of Microsoft support engineers. It is very much like the Exchange Best Practice Analyzer (ExBPA) in that it compares the actual settings/configurations to best practices. The OCAT tool has a GUI that actually looks like the ExBPA.The official Exchange Team blog has a great deal of information about this tool and what it can do for you.
- Outlook Calendar Checking Tool (CalCheck) – This tool is perfect for those many times you see odd calendaring behavior in Outlook. Regrettably, I see issues with calendaring way too often. CalCheck works with all versions of Outlook starting with Outlook 2003. I love that this tool checks common issues that include the permissions, the delegates, total items in the calendar, and several other configurations.
While these tools don’t make me an expert when it comes to Outlook issues, they sure do help me identify common issues and document the information to help users see what is causing their problems. It sure beats tell them, “I have no idea why you are having problems, but Exchange is certainly rock solid.”