This issue usually happens when Outlook Anywhere has been enabled but AutoDiscover hasn’t been configured properly for your domain or hasn’t been published at all.
While you may not be able to solve it yourself, it is still possible to confirm that this is indeed the issue and use an alternative way to manage your Out of Office settings while your Exchange administrator takes a look at correcting the issue.
Other Outlook features like managing message rules may also be affected.
In Outlook 2013, the error will refer to “automatic replies” instead of “Out of Office”. (click on image to enlarge)
Note: The steps below might be a little bit too much of an effort for some. In that case, the old way to prove your case still works as well; Ask 2 or 3 colleagues to try it on their computer and check if they have the same issue. When they do, it is probably a server related issue which needs to be escalated to your Exchange administrator.
Test E-mail AutoConfiguration
The first step is to run the Test E-mail AutoConfiguration command to see if AutoDiscover has been configured for your Exchange environment.
- With Outlook running, expand the Notification Area in the bottom right corner so that the Outlook icon becomes visible.
- Hold the CTRL button and right click on the Outlook icon.
Choose: Test E-mail AutoConfiguration…
- Fill out your email address and password.
- Disable the options for “Use Guessmart” and “Secure Guessmart Authentication” so that only “Use AutoDiscover” is enabled.
- Press the Test button.
- Check the results.
- If unsuccessful, then AutoDiscover probably hasn’t been configured at all. This is an unsupported configuration and your Exchange administrator needs to correct this. He or she can find more information about how to do so in the “Exchange Administrator information” section below.
- If successful, then the URL for the OOF service might be missing or set to the wrong URL.
A successful AutoDiscover detection result. The OOF URL needs further analysis.
(click on image to enlarge)
Verify the OOF URL when AutoDiscover was successful
When AutoDiscover was successful, then the next step is to check whether the correct URL has been set for the OOF URL property.
To check this, look for the OOF URL on the Results tab in the Test E-mail AutoConfiguration dialog. The protocol group to look in is as follows:
- When using Outlook internally (or via VPN) with Outlook Anywhere disabled:
Protocol: Exchange RPC
- When using Outlook internally (or via VPN) with Outlook Anywhere enabled:
Protocol: Exchange HTTP (first block if there are 2)
- When using Outlook externally:
Protocol: Exchange HTTP (second block if there are 2)
Now log on to Outlook Web App (OWA) via your browser. In this case, it is recommended to use Internet Explorer.
Once logged on, type the OOF URL in the Address Bar.
- If the OOF service is available at this URL, you should now get a page with XML information or a service page.
- If the OOF service isn’t available at this URL, you’ll most likely get a “403 Forbidden” or “The page cannot be displayed” error.
In case of the last, you’ve confirmed that the wrong URL has been configured for the Out of Office service. Your Exchange administrator can correct this via the information in the “Exchange Administrator information” section below.
Out of Office fails internally with the correct URL
In a corporate environment, it is not uncommon to have internal servers listed on the bypass proxy list. It is also not uncommon to log on to an Exchange mailbox with different credentials than your domain joined computer.
In this case, the wrong credentials may be used to log on the Exchange CAS server leading to the same error message.
To correct this, add the following Registry value:
Note 1: When you are using Outlook 2010 or previous, make sure you have the latest Service Pack applied when using this Registry key.
Note 2: Depending on the exact details of your Exchange infrastructure, a possible other workaround would be for the Exchange administrator to disable Windows Authentication for your AutoDiscover Virtual Directory on the Exchange server(s).
Using Outlook Web App to manage your Automatic Replies
While your Exchange administrator further investigates the issue, you can still disable or enable and change your Out of Office message via Outlook Web App (OWA).
- OWA 2007
Click on Options in the top right corner (left from your name) and select the “Out of Office Assistant” section on the left.
- OWA 2010
Click on Options in the top right corner (below your name) and select: Set Automatic Replies…
- OWA 2013
Click on the Gear icon in the top right corner (right from your name) and select: Set automatic replies
Exchange Administrator information
As the Exchange administrator, you can correct the OOF URL by setting the correct internal and external URLs for the Exchange Web Services via the Set-WebServicesVirtualDirectory PowerShell command. The current configuration can be obtained via the Get-WebServicesVirtualDirectory PowerShell command.
You can use the Microsoft Remote Connectivity Analyzer to verify whether both Outlook Anywhere (RPC over HTTP) and Outlook AutoDiscover have been configured correctly.
For more information about the need for AutoDiscover when using Outlook with an Exchange account see the TechNet articles: Autodiscover Service and The Autodiscover Service and Outlook Providers