OCS/LCS suddenly appears unlicensed when KB974571 is applied

A current issue with a Microsoft patch has been discovered (and currently blogged about in numerous locations). In short, if security update KB974571 is installed on your OCS/LCS servers to believe they are expired evals. Removing the hotfix resolves the problem but then, of course, leaves the security vulnerability open. As can be expected, Microsoft is working to correct the issue ASAP.

Issue

OCS/LCS reports it is running as an evaluation and has expired when in fact it has not (volume or retail media was used).

Cause

Installation of Security Hotfix KB974571 released 10/13/2009.

Resolution

Uninstall Security Hotfix KB974571 from the OCS/LCS servers.

Additional References

http://communicationsserverteam.com/archive/2009/10/14/632.aspx
http://blogs.technet.com/dodeitte/archive/2009/10/13/do-not-apply-kb974571-to-lcs-ocs-servers.aspx
http://jasonshave.blogspot.com/2009/10/warning-about-kb974571-and-event-id.html
http://projectdream.org/wordpress/2009/10/13/kb974571-crypto-api-update-may-break-office-communications-server-2007-r2-installations/

AOL PIC Users Fail / Presence Unknown

As all are aware Office Communication Server 2007 R2 was recently released and with it the ability to run the various code on Windows Server 2008 64bit. Everything appears to run/work correctly with the exception of AOL users via the PIC.

Symptoms:

  • AOL Users' Presence is Inaccurate; it may show on-line, unavailable, or presence unknown
  • A message invite may be received from an AOL user but no information is ever received
  • Attempting to respond to an AOL user or start a conversation with an AOL user will fail

The fix was discovered by Microsoft Senior Escalation Engineer Scott Oseychik among others and is documented at:

http://blogs.msdn.com/scottos/archive/2009/04/03/resolved-ocs-2007-r2-pic-fails-against-aol.aspx

 

The fix: in short you must modify the local security policy on the 2008 Edge server rearranging the TLS authentication methods. It is important to note that this fix and the issue do not apply if you have the OCS 2007 R2 bits installed on a Windows Server 2003 64-bit.

Yahoo! Service Outage for PIC Users

Originally published and re-distributed upon request at:http://blogs.msdn.com/scottos/archive/2008/12/05/office-communicator-clients-cannot-communicate-with-contacts-homed-on-yahoo-messenger-network.aspx

Yahoo! will be undergoing an emergency maintenance from 4:30pm to 4:30am PST. During this period, users will see intermittent presence issues. All other functionality will not be impacted.

More Information:

After the maintenance window expires, if you find you are still having issues, please first log out & then back into your Communicator client. If the issue still reproduces/occurs for you, please restart Edge Front-End services first. Allow me to apologize for this up front; I understand this will require an “emergency service restart change request” for some of you. If all this fails to resolve the PIC issue between your LCS/OCS deployment and Yahoo!, please engage Microsoft Customer Support Services. Premier customers: please leverage your Technical Account Manager to initiate the case creation process. Please be prepared to supply Edge Server logs, remote access via our EasyAssist applications from MSFT, and we will do our best to investigate and resolve this in a timely manner.

Changing the External OCS ABS/Web Conferencing URL

It is not uncommon that I am asked "How do I change the external URL for conferencing within OCS?" There are multiple reasons for a user needing/wanting to change the URL, most often it being either they skipped the entry during setup (it does say <optional>) or the have decided to change the name. Whatever the reason is, the actual update is simple.

The update it self is updating the SQL or MSDE database with the new information. While it is possible to manually 'hack' the database and edit the tables directly, the UC team has made the process much easier using LCSCMD. LCSCMD is a command line application that may be found on the OCS server CD under setup or on your C drive of an OCS server located at C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007.

To execute the command, simply type:

Lcscmd /web /action:updatepoolurls /externalwebfqdn:externalserver.dnsname.com /poolname:poolname

The externalserver.dnsname.com is the DNS name that is resolvable from the outside and is your 'reverse proxy' role as defined in the documentation. the poolname is only the short name of the pool. For SE this would be your server name (server.contoso.com would be server) and for EE it is the common pool name (pool01.contoso.com would be pool01).

Free/busy (aka Calendar information) within Office Communicator 2007

I have been fielded multiple questions lately about the mysteries of the calendaring information within Office Communicator 2007. Why does my email and SIP URI need to be the same? Why does Communicator Web Access (CWA) not pull information but it can display it? Where does the information pull/push come from? What versions of Exchange server are supported?

Understanding how and where the calendering information is relatively simple - in fact, the basic concept for the user free/busy information is back-end agnostic - Outlook on the desktop is the key component. Office Communicator uses Outlook (natively 2003 sp2 and newer) to make MAPI calls to retrieve the information. This small detail means Exchange 2003, Exchange 2007, and service pack level - it really does not matter (from a free/busy perspective) - the client can and will integrate!

This integration is possible when the user's SIP URI matches the user's email address; but what happens when this is not the case? If you install Office Communicator on a home computer and sign into your corporate OCS system, can (and should) it retrieve information from your local Outlook? It can (the should is up to you) if a simple registry change is made. By default Office Communicator compares the SIP URI to the email address of the default email profile and if they do not match, it does not integrate the two. The logic is simple - if the two integrate, conversation history, contacts, and free/busy will be folded into the OC experience. If they are not the same, an integration error is presented.

To modify the registry to all integration of your free/busy and conversation history regardless of your email address run regedt32 and set the following:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Communicator
Key (you may have to create this yourself): DisableEmailComparisonCheck
DWORD: 00000001

Make sure Communicator restarts to load the new registry information (or simply log out and back in) to force the integration. Remember - this registry change will integrate ANY Outlook email address with ANY OCS login so test and make the end result is what you are looking for.

Communicator 2007 Update

Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 was recently updated (as mentioned in the Microsoft KB article 954439 http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=954439) but the location of the hotfix itself has been a mystery to many - not any longer! ;)

Microsoft's sustained engineering folks need and want to track the download of the hotfix and in order to do so each person must request the hotfix at the following address:http://support.microsoft.com/hotfix/KBHotfix.aspx?kbnum=954439&kbln=en-us

The request is quick and easy and once the form is filled out a link to the download (and the password to decrypt the file) will be sent to your email generally within 5 minutes.

Office Communication Server 2007 R2 Announced

Office Communication Server (OCS) 2007 R2 has finally been announced. There are many great and new features that have been announced and the full link can be found here:

http://www.microsoft.com/communicationsserver/en/us/default.aspx

The big ticket items include:

  • 64-Bit Operating System Required (Windows 2003 sp2 or Windows 2008)
    • The migration process is just that - a migration - so you will have to install a 64-bit operating system, install OCS 2007 R2, and then import or migrate your users into the new OCS environment
  • Dial-in Audio Conferencing
    • Allows an external number to be called - a bridge number - so parties with only phone access can join a Live Meeting or a Conferencing Bridge
  • Group Chat
    • A persistent chat window, much like a newsgroup or forum, where individuals can ask questions, see past messaging, etc.
  • Secretary/Admin Console
    • Now one person can see and field calls using OC using the new Attendant Console. The admin will also be able to modify their delegate's status
  • Response Groups
    • Think of a call center or help desk - this feature will be a hunt group using variables defined by the admin per group
  • Single-number Reach
    • Allows a single number to automatically call on OC person based off of location and availability

As I see and hear more, you can find out about it here!