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Commentary - Outlook 2003 Hotfix for Custom Forms in Public Folders

Resources - Tip: Minimize Outlook 2002 to the System Tray

New and Improved - Block Email Spam Images

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==== Commentary: Outlook 2003 Hotfix for Custom Forms in Public Folders ==== by Sue Mosher, News Editor, exadmin@turtleflock.com

A change in the behavior of the custom forms cache in Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 can cause Outlook to hang after a user opens a half-dozen custom form items from folders in the Public Folders\Favorites hierarchy. As a result, I've been recommending that companies that use custom forms in public folders defer their Outlook 2003 deployment until a fix is available. Microsoft has now released a hotfix for this problem and a few other Outlook 2003 issues. (I mentioned the fix briefly in my column last month-- http://www.winnetmag.com/article/articleid/41609/41609.html --and Microsoft has finally posted an article describing the fix; see the first URL below.) To obtain the update, contact Microsoft Product Support Services (PSS) and request the January 20, 2004 Outlook 2003 Hotfix. Another typical symptom of the problem I mention above is that every time you open a custom form item from a folder in Public Folders\Favorites, Outlook flashes the message that it's loading the custom form. Normally, you see that message only once, when Outlook first loads the form into the cache. The repeated message is a clue that the issue relates to the forms cache, a set of local files in which Outlook stores information about the most recently used custom Outlook forms. Normally, a problem that causes Outlook to halt would be detected and resolved during the beta test period, but apparently Microsoft made the change in the forms cache behavior very late in the development cycle. The new behavior causes Outlook to cache forms based on the folder being used. In theory, this could help avoid forms cache problems, especially those known to arise from having the same form published in more than one location. With the hotfix now available, we'll have a chance to see how well this new behavior can work. Unfortunately, the hotfix doesn't resolve all the problems with the forms cache in Outlook 2003. Forms cache corruption is all too common even outside Public Folders\Favorites and quite alarming to users, who think that they've lost data when they open an item and see it in the item type's default form rather than in a custom form displaying custom fields. Clearing the forms cache--in other words, deleting the frmcache.dat file--usually provides temporary relief, but the command to clear the forms cache is difficult to find. Users need to click Tools, Options; go to the Other tab; click Advanced Options, Custom Forms, Manage Forms; and finally, click Clear Cache. I have no word yet on when Microsoft plans to issue a fix for these more pervasive, but less critical, forms cache problems. In addition to fixing the Public Folders\Favorites forms cache problem, the January 20, 2004 hotfix also resolves a problem in which a user who loses connectivity while sending messages might see those messages filed in the Sent Items folder, even though Outlook never sent them. Organizations that use custom forms might also be interested in another recent hotfix (see the second URL below). According to the Microsoft article about the January 17, 2004 hotfix for Outlook 2003, this update fixes several problems related to custom forms: truncation of the Subject field to 255 characters, the disappearance of the Message control when used on a MultPage control, and omission of the user's default signature when composing a message with a custom form. The files changed in the January 17, 2004 update aren't included in the January 20, 2004 hotfix.

Outlook 2003 Hotfix Package: January 20, 2004 http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=833856 Outlook 2003 Hotfix Package: January 17, 2004 http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=833986

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==== Announcements ==== (from Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)

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==== Resources ====

Tip: Minimize Outlook 2002 to the System Tray by Sue Mosher, exadmin@turtleflock.com

Q: Can I force Outlook 2002 to minimize to the system tray?

A: To send the Outlook icon to the Windows system tray (and not to the taskbar) when you minimize the application, add the MinToTray entry (of type REG_DWORD) to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\10.0\Outlook\Preferences registry subkey and give the entry a value of 1. See the Exchange & Outlook Web page for more great tips from Sue Mosher. http://www.winnetmag.com/microsoftexchangeoutlook

==== Events Central ==== (A complete Web and live events directory brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine: http://www.winnetmag.com/events )

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==== New and Improved ==== by Carolyn Mader, products@winnetmag.com

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