Exchange Migrations and Outlook Versions


I found an interesting (and by interesting I mean annoying) issue that appeared when I was piloting a migration of user mailboxes from Exchange 2010 to Exchange 2013. The migration process itself was smooth but after around 100 users someone raised an issue whereby they could not access their Online Archive and received the error “The set of folders cannot be opened. Microsoft Exchange is not available. Either there are network problems or the Exchange Server is down for maintenance.”


Of course once one person raised the issue it spread like wildfire and all of a sudden half of the pilot users were unable to access their Online Archive and this became a problem.

The frustration with this particular problem was that on the surface there appeared to be no particular pattern. All migration batches were successful, users were able to access their mailbox and additional mailboxes without any problems and the Online Archive was accessible through OWA. That last statement pointed towards a local client issue so I checked Outlook Anywhere settings in Exchange, they were all OK. I checked the local mail profile and it was getting it’s configuration successfully through autodiscover. So I tried to recreate the mail profile and low and behold that worked!

Now this is a workaround, with a new mail profile comes a host of configuration niggles. Shared Mailboxes need to be re added (if permissions are added via security group), shared calendars would need to be re added, signatures re configured etc. Some of this could be prevented through many means but in this current situation if this was required for some 9000 users then…well it isn’t worth thinking about.

Digging deeper I started to look at the versions of Office and Outlook in use by the users who had been part of the pilot so far. Within the first 10 users I had identified a possible cause for the problem. There were varying Outlook and Office versions in use throughout the pilot users.

Firstly there were users who had a version of Outlook and Office that were SP1. The version numbers are below.

Outlook and Office Example 1

Any users who had these version numbers were unable to access their Online Archive straight after their mailbox was migrated but were able to after a new mail profile was created.

Secondly, some users had Office 2010 SP2 installed. This related to the below version numbers.

Outlook and Office Example 4

Any users who had SP2 installed were able to access their Online Archive without any problems after their migration.

Then we have the users who had varying versions of Outlook and Office. Some users had a version of Office that was higher than SP2, but did not have SP2 installed. These users also had a version of Outlook that corresponded to SP1, as seen below.

Outlook and Office Example 3

These users were unable to access their Online Archive unless a new mail profile was created.

Finally, some users had a higher version of Outlook but were still running Office SP1. An example of this is below.

Outlook and Office Example 2

These users were able to access their Online Archive without any problems.

Based on those results it was clear that anyone with an Outlook version below 14.0.7012.1000 (SP2) was going to encounter the problem. There were technical reasons as to why some users were not running SP2 on this estate and we found that a hotfix (KB2794707) also fixed the issue and raised the Outlook version to 14.0.7105.5000.

With this in mind we were able to run some reports in SCCM to determine how many machines would be effected by the migration. We were fortunate in that the rest of the estate outside the pilot had SP2 installed and we had already encountered 90% of those users who would be effected by this issue. Still took some digging to get to the bottom of it and the migration continued on.

So I guess the moral of the story here, when migrating to/from any Exchange version try and always have your outlook clients patched as much as possible or at least have everyone on the same patch version. It makes troubleshooting a damn sight easier 🙂 Also KB2794707 or Microsoft Office 2010 SP2 will help fix this particular issue!

Thanks for reading and let me know if you’ve had any similar experiences.


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