Sneak Peek at Outlook 2010

How Outlook 2010 Integrates with Exchange 2010

So another set of common questions I get is “Do I need to run Outlook 2010 after I migrate to Exchange 2010?” or “What don’t I get if I’m still on Outlook 2007 in an Exchange 2010 environment” or “Can I still use Outlook 2003 against Exchange 2010?” or “Which Outlook 2010 features work against an old Exchange 2003/2007 Environment?”   Here are answers to these and many other similar questions…

Do I need to run Outlook 2010 after I migrate to Exchange 2010? / Can I still use Outlook 2003 against Exchange 2010?

Simple answer, NO, you do not need Outlook 2010 to use Exchange 2010 and in fact if you transition from Exchange 2003 or Exchange 2007 to Exchange 2010, if you use the migration tool to move your mailboxes to Exchange 2010, your Outlook 2003 or Outlook 2007 users won’t even know you moved them to Exchange 2010.  Exchange 2010 still supports MAPI access and Outlook Anywhere (RPC/HTTPS) to Exchange, so when a user’s mailbox is moved to Exchange 2010, the user still keeps their old Outlook 2003 / 2007 client.

Note: the trick during the migration process is after you “move” a user’s mailbox from Exchange 2003 or Exchange 2007 to Exchange 2010, keep the old 2003/2007 server running for a couple weeks.  The next time the user launches Outlook, their Outlook profile is still configured to point to the “old” Exchange 2003/2007 server.  But if you keep the old server online, when Outlook tries to connect to the old server, the old server will tell Outlook that the user’s mailbox has been moved and it’ll tell Outlook to automatically update the Profile to now point to the new location of the user’s mailbox (ie: the new Exchange 2010 server).  After a couple weeks you’ll find most (90%+) of your users will have launched and run Outlook and their profiles will have automatilly changed meaning NO admin intervention to update the users profiles.  You can now uninstall the old Exchange 2003/2007 server, however you’ll have a handful of users whose profiles will not have switched over if the users were out on extended leave and hadn’t connected to Outlook in the couple week period you had the old Exchange server running (for these users, you just go into their Outlook profile and point them to the new Exchange 2010 server)

Back to Outlook 2010 though, so you can most certainly use older version of Outlook against Exchange 2010.  The users will get all of the features that the version of Outlook (2003/2007) they are running.  Microsoft does not officially support Outlook prior to 2003 against Exchange 2010, so Outlook XP, Outlook 2000, etc are “not supported”.

What don’t I get if I’m still on Outlook 2007 in an Exchange 2010 Environment?

There are a number of features that are specific to Exchange 2010 that “require” the 2010 client.  And I was very careful to say “2010 client” as these are features in Outlook 2010, but they are also features that work in Outlook WebApp (OWA) 2010.  So, for now (Nov/2009) you can download and use Outlook 2010 Beta against Exchange 2010 and get these features, OR you can just use the out of the box OWA 2010 Web access to Exchange 2010 for these features.

These features include:

  • Mailtips:  This is a new feature that is an artificial intelligence type of thing that looks at your email and tells you things about your email before (or when) you hit the “send” button.  Things like “Beware, you are sending this to an Distribut List” (so you don’t send a message to “all users” and blast a bunch of people without knowing) or “You are not replying to the most recent version of this conversation” (noting that there are more recent threads to this email), or “The attachment size exceeds the allowable limit” (so you don’t spend all the time and effort to attach and send an email only to have minutes later get a bouncback that your sender connector in Exchange will bounce the message because the attachment is too large)

  • Conversation View:  This feature groups messages together so that even if you sort your messages by incoming Date, the previous threads to the message are grouped together so you can see who replied to the message, who has replied to a reply, other forks in the message replies, etc

  • Exchange Control Panel: This feature provides Exchange administrators the ability to do administrative tasks without having to terminal server into a system but instead do the Exchange administrative tasks right within Outlook 2010 or OWA 2010.  These tasks are things like adding a user, assigning a user a mailbox, creating a distribution list, performing public folder administrative tasks, and the like.

  • Conversation Clean-up:  This feature allows you to identify a conversation that you want to ignore or delete.  Say for example you were on a distribution list about a pizza party on Friday night that you’ll be out of town and won’t be able to make it and don’t really care about it anyway, however dozens of threads have spawned from the invitation along with side threads, etc.  Rather than being inundated with a bunch of messages you don’t care about, you specify to ignore the entire thread and all upcoming messages on that thread, and you can choose to delete the messages relative to that thread as well

  • Send SMS Messages from Outlook:  Outlook 2010 now has the ability for users to send SMS text messages straight from Outlook so separate client and tools for SMS texting are not required

  • Archive Mailboxes:  In Exchange 2010 there is now an “archiving” feature that opens up a box designated as ARCHIVE that users can create folders and subfolders and drag/drop messages out of their normal mailbox into this archive box.  Moving messages eliminates the message from the user’s email quota (if a limit on mailbox size is enabled in the organization), the archive also does not synchronize with Offline Folders minimizing the need for users to “carry about” a lot of old messages.  And the email archives can be used as a compliance tool to maintain old messages for a long period of time.  This feature is new to Exchange 2010 and requires either the Outlook 2010 client of the OWA 2010 client to access and use the archive.

  • Protected Voicemail:  Protected voicemail combines Active Directory Rights Management Services (RMS) data encryption with voicemail.  When someone makes a voicemail message as “private”, that message can be forwarded or potentially access by other users (such as a mailbox delegate).  However with the Protected Voicemail feature in Exchange 2010, any voicemail marked as private will be encrypted using RMS and only the mailbox owner will be listen to the message.

This is just a sample list of features in Exchange 2010 that require a 2010 client (Outlook or OWA) to gain access to the features.  And as a note, it’s not like the features aren’t there, they just can’t be accessed by users without the 2010 client, so other users that have Outlook 2010 can access the features, or a person can switch between Outlook 2003 and Outlook 2010 and when they are on Outlook 2010 they have/see the features, when they are on Outlook 2003, the features are no exposed to that Outlook 2003 user.

Which Outlook 2010 features work against an old Exchange 2003/2007 Environment?

For users whose networks are still running Exchange 2003/2007 but want to try out Outlook 2010, what new features do you get when using an older Exchange email system?:  The answer is a “LOT” of features in Outlook 2010 will work against an older Exchange 2003/2007 environment.  In fact, you can almost take the list above on the new Exchange 2010 features as most of those features (archive mailboxes, Exchange control panel, Protected voicemail” are Exchange 2010 features that obviously won’t be in earlier versions of Exchange.  But some of the features you’ll get by going to Outlook 2010 in an Exchange 2003/2007 environment:

  • Conversation View, MailTips, Conversation Clean-up, Send SMS Text are all Outlook 2010 features detailed above that’ll work in Exchange 2003 / 2007 environments

  • Enhanced Search also works in just Outlook 2010 and provides faster search and more search capabilities than in the past

  • Outlook Connector 2010:  This is a plug-in to Outlook 2010 that allows you to connect Outlook 2010 to other email systems like MSN Mail, Yahoo Mail, HotMail and the like

Overall, users who have already begun using the Office 2007 will find the Outlook 2010 client to be very familiar with the Ribbon feature at the top.  For those who are switching from Office 2003 to Office 2010 for the first time will find the new Ribbon a little new and unique, however most people in email simply create new emails and appointments, read emails, and save/print emails.  All the basic features for email can be picked up in just a minute or two and in fact our experience has shown for first time email users, the new Outlook 2010 interface is very intuitive and easy to use.

Microsoft has made Outlook 2010 available for download, those who want to fiddle with it can load it up in an existing Exchange 2003 / 2007 environment and using Outlook 2010 today, or use Outlook 2010 against an Exchange 2010 server and get even more features and enhanancements.  Bottomline, Outlook 2010 and Exchange 2010 are not dependent on each other.  You can upgrade to Exchange 2010 to get all of the features in Exchange 2010 such as Database Availability Groups (for high availability and disaster recovery), use E2010 to Outlook WebApp premium client access for non-Windows clients like Apple Mac and Linux, use E2010 for better scalability and reliability.  ADD Outlook 2010 down the line to add/enhance the capabilities supported in Outlook 2010 or use OWA 2010 to get the features right after going to Exchange 2010.

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