Changing the Offline Address Book for a Specific User

There may come a point one day in your Exchange Administration, where you need to specify an OAB for a specific user. Normally OAB’s are set on the Mailbox Database level, and the users of that database, use that OAB. But, for some reason, you may need to give one user his own specific OAB.

I have used this when troubleshooting OAB’s. For instance, one company I was at was having issues with their OAB. I created a new one, and wanted to make sure it was working. Since the database I was on had some 100 users, I did not want to assign the OAB in the middle of the day, and risk the users getting a message to restart Outlook. I simply assigned myself the OAB, and checked it out.

Here are the steps:

  1. You have to find the Distinguished Name of the Offline Address List that you want to assign to the user. The easiest way to do this is with ADSIEDIT.MSC. Open ADSIEDIT, go to the Configuration Partition -> Expand Configuration Folder -> Expand CN=Services -> Expand CN=Microsoft Exchange -> Expand the CN=Exchange Organization Name -> Expand CN=Address List Container and then select CN=Offline Address Lists
  2. Right click on the OAB that you want to use in the right side of the screen and select “Properties”
  3. Search for the Attribute DistinguishedName and select “Edit” (DON’T CHANGE THIS VALUE!!)
  4. Copy the whole value listed
  5. Now navigate to Domain Partion -> and find the user you want (note this area is grouped exactly like Active Directory is shown in AD Users and Computers
  6. Find the user you want and right click and select properties.
  7. Find the Attribute msExchUseOAB, select it and hit edit
  8. Right now its most has the value in it, not that you can return to this state (which means you inherit the OAB settings from the Mailbox Database again), by hitting the clear button at any time
  9. Paste the OAB Distinguished Name in here and select OK.

That’s it, have the user logoff and log back on, and now he/she will be downloading their brand new custom OAB!!

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