The New Outlook Web Access Features in Exchange 2007 SP1

by [Published on 13 Dec. 2007 / Last Updated on 13 Dec. 2007]

Taking a look at the new features that will be available in Exchange Server 2007 SP1.

Exchange Server 2007 Service Pack 1 introduces a lot of new features and advances to Exchange Server 2007. In this article we will be taking a look at the changes in Microsoft Outlook Web Access (OWA) and play around with these new features:

  • Recover Deleted Items
  • Local Distribution List
  • S/MIME feature
  • Public Folder
  • Rules
  • Monthly view
  • New themes

Note
This article was written using Exchange 2007 SP1 Beta2 in a lab environment.

Working with some of the new features

Some of the new features are self explanatory and can be seen just by taking a look at the figure below and a brief explanation. These features are: Recover Deleted Items, new extensions in WebReady document viewing, OWA Light, Copy/Move to folder feature, Monthly viewer and how to manage Local Distribution Lists.

Recover Deleted Items: In Exchange Server 2007 SP1 you can Recover Deleted Items using OWA, as shown in Figure 01. We can also recover subfolders as shown in Figure 01. To work with the Deleted Items feature, follow these steps:

  1. Log on to OWA, click on Options.
  2. On the left hand side, click on Deleted Items.
  3. Now we can see a list of the deleted items (Figure 01). We can recover these items or remove them permanently. There is also an option to empty the deleted Items folder when a logoff occurs.


Figure 01: The Recover Deleted Items from the Deleted Items folder

Webready document viewing: Some Office 2007 extensions have been added to OWA, such as: Word (.docx), Excel (.xlsx) and PowerPoint (.pptx) through OWA. (Figure 02)


Figure 02: The new supported extensions that enable you to see Word, Excel and PowerPoint extensions as a web page

Local Distribution Groups: users are able to manage Local Distribution Lists in OWA. To do that follow these steps:

  1. Log on to OWA, click on Contacts.
  2. Click on the arrow beside New and then Distribution List, as show in Figure 03.


Figure 03: Creating a Local Distribution List through OWA

Calendar Monthly View: In previous versions we had only three options for calendar views: Day, Work Week and Week. In Exchange Server 2007 SP1 the Monthly option has been added, as shown in Figure 04.


Figure 04: The Monthly appointments

Move and Copy to Folder menu options: In SP1 there are two new options when we right-click on an item: Move and Copy to Folder; they allow the end-user to use a new window and select the Folder from the folder list or Public Folder list.

OWA Light: Two new improvements will be available in SP1: there is no time out while a user is still typing a new message; if a message is open and the session time out is reached because of inactivity the message will be saved in the Drafts folders automatically.

Accessing Public Folders through OWA

Exchange Server 2007 SP1 enables Public Folder access through OWA (Figure 05), meaning that in a pure Exchange 2007 environment after SP1 the users will be able to work with Public Folders. The Public Folders through OWA also allow the following:

  • View and manage Public Folder Content.
  • Create Folders and choose what type the new folder will be, such as: Calendar, Contact, Notes, Tasks or Mail folder.
  • Use Move or Copy to folder options to finish tasks easily.
  • Use web parts to manipulate Public Folders.
  • Use Search capabilities.
  • We do not need to use /Public to access Public Folders.


Figure 05: Public Folder content

Using S/MIME

Using S/MIME in OWA allows the sending and receiving of signed and encrypted messages. In order to use it personal certificates must be installed in the Current User certificate store in the local machine. To validate if the current user and the local machine have an installed certificate we have two options, the first one is:

  1. Click on Start, Run and type in MMC and click OK.
  2. Click on File, Add/Remove Snap-in, and then click on Certificates, click on Add.
  3. In the new window click on My user account.
  4. Expand Personal , Click on Certificates.
  5. On the right we will see the current certificates.

The second option is through PowerShell. Run the cmdlet:

Get-ChildItem Cert:\CurrentUser\My | fl


Figure 06: Listing all certificates stored in the Current User / Personal store through PowerShell

Now, that we know about the certificates installed on the current machine, we have to enable the S/Mime Control on the machine. Follow these steps to install the S/MIME control and configure S/MIME options:

  1. Logged on to OWA, click on Options.
  2. In the left, click on E-mail Security.
  3. Click on Download the Outlook Web Access 2007 SMIME Control (Figure 07). Download and install the owasmime.msi file.


Figure 07: Installing S/MIME Control on the computer to allow OWA to use S/MIME

  1. After the installation, in the E-mail Security area options to do the following (Figure 08):

    - Encrypt contents and attachments for outgoing messages.
    - Add digital signature to outgoing messages.
    - Reinstall the S/MIME control on the machine.

Both options if selected will be applied for all new messages created from OWA.


Figure 08: Deciding if the OWA client will add digital signatures by default

Now, when we create a new message we have two new buttons (Figure 09): the first one to add a digital signature using the current user certificate installed on the machine; the second button is to encrypt the message.


Figure 09: Composing a new message using a digital signature and encryption

The message with a digital signature and encryption can be seen in OWA as well, as show in Figure 10.


Figure 10: Receiving messages and verifying if the messages have a valid certificate

Clicking on the More information link shows the Security information, as in Figure 11.


Figure 11: The message security information

Managing Server side Rules

Another nice feature is that we can play with server side rules through OWA. To validate this new feature, let’s create a rule that will move all messages with “[Exchange2007]” stamped on the subject to a specific folder. To create a rule we have to define the conditions, actions and exceptions as necessary.

  1. Logged on to OWA, click on Options.
  2. On the left hand side, click on Rules.
  3. A list of all existent rules will be displayed on the right hand side.
  4. Click on New rule... a list will be displayed with some pre-created rules, in our case let’s click on Create a new rule for arriving messages.
  5. Defining the Conditions. Now we have a new window (Figure 12) that allows us to create our rule using various options. First of all, let’s define the rule name in the field Name, then click on If the message includes specific words… a list of options will come up, click on In the Subject. In the left pane click on the link specific words and we have a chance to specify which words. In our example this will be [Exchange2007].


Figure 12: Defining the Rule conditions

  1. Defining the Actions. Click on Move, copy, or delete... and in the new list click on Move the message to the specified folder (Figure 13); we will have a chance to create or specify a folder in the list that will appear. An Exception can be created by clicking on Exceptions and defining the exception to this rule.


Figure 13: Defining the Action of the rule

  1. Now we can see the rule condition and action that we have just chosen in the Rule description area. To finalize the rule click on Save. Now all messages sent to me using that string will be moved automatically to the specified folder.
  2. All server rules can be seen and managed through the Rules area; we can delete, change rule order, disable and see the actions, as shown in Figure 14.


Figure 14: Managing the rules in OWA

Changing the appearance of OWA

Okay we have seen a lot of nice SP1 features, now let’s have some fun looking at new themes. In SP1 we have got two new themes: Xbox and Zune. To change the themes, we can follow these steps:

  1. Logged on to OWA, click on Options.
  2. On the left hand side, Click on General Settings.
  3. Under Appearance we have 4 options: Zune (Figure 15), Xbox (Figure 16), Carbon Black and Seattle Sky (default).


Figure 15: The Zune Theme


Figure 16: Xbox Theme

Conclusion

In this article we have taken a look at the new features that will be available in Exchange Server 2007 SP1. You should not install SP1 in a production environment yet; wait until the final SP1 release to do that. For now we can test the new features using the VHD image that is available at Microsoft website.

Further information:

Do not install SP1 in a production environment from MSExchangeTeam.com’s blog:
http://msexchangeteam.com/archive/2007/08/29/446867.aspx

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