Outlook Prompting for Password only for Standard Users

Posted: September 26, 2011 in Exchange 2010, Outlook 2010, SBS 2011, SharePoint Foundation 2010, Windows 2008 Server
Tags: , , , , ,

The symptoms were a little strange. Some users were being prompted for a password when using Outlook, but others were not. Our checklist to solve the problem included:

  • Making sure user name entered as domain\user.
  • Uninstalling and reinstalling Outlook (a lot of users running old XP machines and Office 2007).
  • Creating a new profile.

None of these whack-at-it things worked, of course.  So I started getting more information.  The first thing I did was to get an authoritative list of those who had the problem.  It was then the pattern jumped out at me.  It was all users except those in admin group.

I then ran some tests using https://www.testexchangeconnectivity.com/ so I could see what was happening. Before I tell you about that, let me give you some additional background about this server.

Accidentally, one of the users made a mistake trying to set up a new SharePoint web site, and as a result almost everything in Default Web Site and SharePoint got damaged from a little to completely dead.  Some permission issues cleaned up most of the Default Web Site, but SharePoint had to be rebuilt.  That was successful, albeit it very messy, and everthing seemed fine.

Back to the connectivity tests.  What I found was that everything was working just fine.  I couldn’t get an error to show up.  Until I switched from the network admin account to a user account.  Hmm, I thought, maybe I don’t have the right credentials.  So I created a new account, tried that, and it also failed when testing Outlook for RPC over HTTP.  For grins, I changed the role on the new account to admin, tried the test again, and it worked.  Okay, that confirmed it was membership in the admin group.

The test goes to the directory C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\V14\ClientAccess\Autodiscover and in particular to autodiscover.xml in that directory.  I checked permissions on that directory and found that the network administrator account had rights, but that authenticated users was missing.  I added authentic users to the group, and it automatically gave read & execute, list folder contents, read, as the correct permissions.

Feeling pretty proud of myself, I ran the connectivty tests again.  To my absolute surprise, they failed as before.  I was frustrated, and it was late in the evening, so I put it aside. I was just about to fall asleep when I jumped up, grabbed my laptop, and logged back onto the server.

I opened command prompt to run as administrator, ran iisreset, then tried the test again.  Voila!  It worked again for standard users.

Hard to tell when this may likely happen to you, but if it does, I hope this saves you a lot of time.

  1. Sean Greer says:

    Not sure the cause but I started seeing this all across the board mid-November. I ignored it for a while and when it finally got really annoying I did the research. So far this solution has held for me.

    Solution (for Windows 7 at least):

    1. Close Outlook.
    2. Open Control Panel –> User Accounts.
    3. Click on Manage your credentials.
    4. Delete all entries under Generic Credentials that start with MS.Outlook.
    5. Restart Outlook and test.

    Credit: http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/office/forum/officeversion_other-outlook/windows-7-and-outlook-2010-microsoft-security/209793dd-cbe0-48cc-8936-9bd3ff67966c


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