Forcing an Offline Address Book to get Updated

Originally published April 26, 2005


I haven't disappeared! I'm writing a book for O'Reilly and that consumes most of my non-work time.

A question that I've answered three times in the last week: it seems to take a long time for my Offline Address Book to get updated in Outlook. I'm using cached mode in Outlook. How can I force an update to happen?


A good overview of the interaction between Outlook and Exchange, in regards to address books, is MS KB 841273. But it's probably more than you want to know.
It can take as many as 48 hours (the very worst case) for an updated address book to show up in Outlook. Normally, you'll get a new one each morning. If this isn't fast enough, you can surely force Exchange and Outlook to download a new address book.
The process to do this takes two steps - one in Exchange and one in Outlook.
First, ask Exchange to rebuild the address book. (This is normally a scheduled process that happens at 4:00 am, by default.) To do this, open ESM, expand Recipients, and click on Offline Address Lists. In the right pane, right-click on the offline address list of interest (you probably only have one - the Default Offline Address List) and select Rebuild. You will be warned that it potentially could take a long time. Click Yes to proceed with the rebuild. Wait a couple of minutes (Exchange's scheduler seems to run on a one minute clock, so it could be as much as 60 seconds before the process begins. After it starts, in a small domain, it'll probably only take a few seconds to rebuild the address list). Now, you are done with Exchange.
Second, move to Outlook and ask it to download the updated address book. On the main toolbar, click on the down-arrow next to Send/Receive. In the menu, click Download Address Book. On the resulting dialog, click OK.  You are done with Outlook.
I have intermittently had issues with Outlook that required me to restart Outlook before the changes appeared, but that isn't necessary normally.
Just FYI: Outlook will normally check on the availability of an updated OAB 24 hours after it downloaded the last one. Or about five minutes after Outlook is restarted. So, after a rebuild, you can restart Outlook; and in about 5 minutes it should automagically download the update. But that requires waiting and I don't like waiting. :-)
Published Tuesday, November 13, 2007 7:47 PM by michael
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