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Setting the Timezone of Exchange Resource Mailboxes

August 20, 2012 Leave a comment

I recently had a user complain that she attempted to book a meeting room and received the following declined message:

Your request was declined because there are conflicts.

The conflicts are:

Organizer and Time of Conflicting Meeting

John Smith – 8/20/2012 2:00:00 PM to 8/20/2012 3:00:00 PM

All times listed are in the following time zone: (GMT-05:00) Time Zone

The problem was that time listed for the conflicting meeting was an hour before her meeting. What she failed to notice is the text I have highlighted. She is in the GMT-04:00 timezone and assumed the times on the notification were also in GMT-04:00 when the notifications are actually in the timezone specified on the regional settings of the mailbox. You may want to change the timezone on resource mailboxes to match the timezone of the majority of users who use those resource mailboxes. I’m going to explain how you can do that.

If you are running Exchange 2010, you can easily change the timezone on resource mailboxes using the Set-MailboxRegionalConfiguration cmdlet. You can get the current timezone by running:

Get-MailboxRegionalConfiguration -identity user@domain.com

To change the timezone on a mailbox, you would run:

Set-MailboxRegionalConfiguration -identity user@domain.com -TimeZone "Eastern Standard Time"

If you are running Exchange 2007, the Set-MailboxRegionalConfiguration cmdlet unfortunately does not exist. To change the timezone on an Exchange 2007 resource mailbox, you need to open that mailbox in Outlook and go to Options – Calendar – Timezone.

The timezone listed here is the timezone that is set on the local PC. You can set a timezone for the resource mailbox by choose a different timezone from the drop-down. If the timezone you want to set on the resource mailbox is the same as the timezone currently set on your PC, you will need to change the timezone in Outlook to something else, then change it back. After you select the new timezone, click OK and exit Outlook. You will notice that the timezone on your PC has changed to the timezone you set in Outlook. After you have exited Outlook, you can change your PC’s timezone back to what it was through Control Panel.

Note this is not the same as setting the regional setting in OWA. Changing the regional setting in OWA will not change the timezone on the Calendar. You need to do this through Outlook as there is no equivalent setting in OWA.

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Deploying a Standard Outlook Signature

The company I work for has never had a standard Outlook signature template. People were free to create their own signature and even though people would often just copy and modify the signature of another user, there are multiple templates in use. The company has recently put an emphasis on marketing and has hired a Chief Marketing Officer. Now, there is an initiative for a consistent branding message. As part of this project, I have been asked if we can deploy a standard Outlook signature template to all users. In researching this, I came across this excellent blog post, which shows how to use a powershell logon script to create and set standardized Outlook signatures.

If you follow the source credit, you will see that the script used was created by Jan Egil Ring then modified by Darren Kattan. I implemented this script in my lab and it worked as expected. A couple of things bothered me though. The script provides variables to force the new signature for new messages and/or replies/forwards. If this isn’t set, the user must go into the signature setting in Outlook and set which signature to use for new messages and replies/forwards. Further, even if the variable is set, the user must log off and back on a second time for it to take effect.

In examining the script, it became apparent why the script must be run a second time to set the default signature. First, the code to set the default signature was being run before the code that creates the signature, so it could not set the defaults on the first run because the signature had not yet been created. Second, the variables to force the default signature were being read from the registry and the code to set those registry values was after the code to read them. This meant a null value was being returned on first run. To fix this, I simply rearranged the code so that the code to create the signature is run before the code to set the defaults. I also read the variables to force the default signature from the variable definition in the code instead of from the registry. I’m not sure why these values are even being written to the registry as they are already defined in the code, so the code is taking the defined variable, writing it to the registry then reading that value and placing it into a new variable, which is then used in the code. With these changes, the signature is created and the defaults set the first time the script is run.

To address the issue of the default signatures not being set, unless you want to force them each time the script is run, I created two new user-defined variables; $SetSignatureNew and $SetSignatureReplyForward. Setting either of these variables to ‘1’ will result in the signature being set as the corresponding default when and only when the signature is created or updated with a new template. If either $ForceSignatureNew or $ForceSignatureReplyForward are set to ‘1’ that value will override the corresponding value of $SetSignatureNew or $SetSignatureReplyForward. So, if you want to set the default signatures when the signature is created, but allow the user to set a different default signature, you would set the variables as so:

$SetSignatureNew = ‘1’

$SetSignatureReplyForward = ‘1’

$ForceSignatureNew = ‘0’

$ForceSignatureReplyForward  =’0′

If you want to force the default signatures each time the script runs, you would set the variables as so:

$SetSignatureNew = ‘0’

$SetSignatureReplyForward = ‘0’

$ForceSignatureNew = ‘1’

$ForceSignatureReplyForward  =’1′

Finally, if you want the user to have complete control over selecting the default signatures, you would set the variables as so:

$SetSignatureNew = ‘0’

$SetSignatureReplyForward = ‘0’

$ForceSignatureNew = ‘0’

$ForceSignatureReplyForward  =’0′

If you would like the modified script, you can download here. (change the extension to .ps1)

For instructions on how to implement the script see http://www.edugeek.net/blog_callback.php?b=1016

Categories: Outlook, Powershell