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Business Contact Manager on Terminal Services (Successful)

One of the many services I provide is hosted applications and managed, dedicated servers. A client that I recently picked up had a need for sharing his Microsoft’s Business Contact Manager database with several geographically separate associates. I’ve setup more than a handful of servers as Terminal Servers using both Citrix Metaframe (now XenApp Server), and pure Microsoft Terminal Services. One of my most recent deployments was for a medical practice and uses Windows 2008 w/Terminal Services and the applications deployed with the RemoteApp functionality. It worked like a charm for that client so I jumped at the opportunity to do it again for this new one.

So we setup the OS, installed Microsoft Outlook + Business Contact Manager and started to setup users…then we hit the brick wall. When we started setting up the users’ e-mail accounts to point to our Exchange Server (another hosted service I provide), we learned that, according to Microsoft, you can’t use Outlook in ‘cached mode’ on a terminal server. The whole concept of cached mode seems like it wouldn’t be necessary on a terminal server anyway since you would likely have the TS in the same datacenter as your Exchange server (which we DO). In our case though, we needed to enable cached mode because Business Contact Manager REQUIRES it to function.

Off to Google I went, searching for a solution. I found plenty of people saying it couldn’t be done who all ended up abandoning the idea altogether in favor of Microsoft CRM or ended up deploying PPTP VPN connections (which I avoid at all costs).

In the end, I found an article on David Overton’s blog that explains how to do it, although I had to modify the process a bit. I’m not sure if the changes were necessary because I’m using Win2008 whereas his article refers to Win2003 or not…but I got it working eventually. Here’s what worked for me:

My setup:

  • All users were members of my Active Directory (AD) domain and in a group called “BCM Users”
  • The terminal server (TS) is Windows 2008, is a member server, and has Office 2007 + Business Contact Manager installed.

What I did:

  1. Added the “BCM Users” group to the local “Administrators” group on the TS
  2. Logged onto the ‘console’ of the server using RDP from my client (Start > Run > ‘mstsc /v:ts.domain.local /admin)
  3. Setup the Exchange account in Outlook on the TS (Start > Control Panel > Mail > …..). The mail account setup wizard DID show the ‘cached mode’ box greyed out….ignore it for now.
  4. Launch Outlook and confirm that it can login to your account. You’ll probably get a warning that BCM will be disabled due to cached mode not being available…click OK and ignore this for now.
  5. Close Outlook.
  6. Open Regedit on the TS, navigate to HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows Messaging Subsystem\Profiles\<OutlookProfileName>\13dbb0c8aa05101a9bb000aa002fc45a
  7. In the right-hand pane, find the 00036601 key, double-click on it to edit.
  8. Change it to 84 19 00 00
  9. Click OK, close Regedit
  10. Remove the “BCM Users” group from the local “Adminstrators” group.
  11. Logout, log back in to the TS using a normal RDP session (i.e. not the console session)
  12. Launch Outlook.
  13. Business Contact Manager should work fine now!

Even after the steps above, if I view my Outlook account settings, it still shows that ‘cached mode’ is unchecked and greyed out. I think this registry hack just tricks BCM into thinking that it’s enabled but doesn’t actually enable it. No worries; it works for me!

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