Swimming in Exchange Calendar Duplicates

I don’t know what is doing it. Entourage, the many synchronizer, but I’ve got 1100 duplicate calendar entries which is depressing since I deleted 500 last week. Time to buy a deduplicator. There don’t seem to be any for Entourage that don’t take weeks to run, so I’m having to do this with Outlook under Parallels. The google:”outlook duplicates” search revelas Mapilab and “Sperry”:http://sperrysoftware.com both make these. I’ve use Mapilab and it costs a ridiculous $24 to get something that shouldn’t happen. Sigh.

Kerio vs. Exchange for Entourage, Mac OS X, iPhone and Blackberry

Well we’ve narrowed down choices to two choices, two hosters against one of three desktop and two mobile clients. Here are the parameters:

Support for either of, in order:

* Mac OS X application. That is Mail, iCal and Address Book that are native to OS X and which is fast.
* Entourage 2004 or 2008 from Microsoft and typically free with any hoster. 2004 is slow as it is a non-native application while 2008 is new and definitely has sync issues.
* Outlook 2007 from Windows or via Parallels on the Mac. But Parallels on the Mac is very slow.

And to support both of:

* iPhone. We really mean the version 2 that will have ActiveSync
* Blackberry. Because folks have these but like the iPhone

So our choices technically are:

* Kerio. This is a Mac messaging, contact and calendaring backend
* Exchange

Here is how the matrix looks right now:

| | Kerio | Exchange | Comment |
| Mac Mail | Runs in Imap | Runs as imap | Both of these work fine |
| Address Book | Needs Kerio Sync to change contacts | Requires Entourage | |
| iCal | Use “Caldev”:http://www.kerio.com/manual/kmsug/en/ch11s05.html#sect-icalcaldavset on Leopard to allow delegation | Requires Entourage | |
| Entourage 2004 | Via OWA Emulation | Works | Not a native Intel app |
| Entourage 2008 | Need to Test | Need to test | Allows OOF setting |
| Outlook | Need to Test | Unacceptably Slow | |
| Windows | Need to Test | Works great | Assumes Outlook 2008 |
| Blackberry | Need to test | Works great | |
| iPhone | “v2”:http://forums.kerio.com/index.php?t=msg&th=13051&start=0&S=271491edc283c6f0ec2b666277b0b83e should work | wait for v2 | Kerio looks like Exchange so should work with iPhone v2! |

Copying Entourage calendars, contacts and mail to a new Exchange Server

Amazingly there is nothing really on the web that is concise about how you copy Entourage calendars from one identity to another. For instance, if you are like me migrating from one Exchange installation to another that is, in my case hosted, then how do you do it. Here’s a quick guide:

# Start Entourage in the usual way. Click to address book and choose calendar view/all events. This shows a list of all events. Copy all of this on Exchange server to your local computer. You need to do this because Entourage’s archive inexplicably doesn’t deal with calendar and contact data on the server, only with whats on the local store. *Warning: the drag and drop is going to be very, very, very slow, so you want to first Select All, then click and hold the mouse for a long time, you should see the items become blueish and then you can drag and you should see a + sign emerge. If you don’t want a long time, you could do the drag and get the data replicated four times or so which is what happened to me, remember Entourage is an amazingly slow, slow, slow program, so pretend like its an old 8088. It will also take about 20 minutes for 2500 calendar entries to copy and an hour or so for 7200 contacts, so be very patient.”
# Same thing with contacts. Click on contacts and drag them all to the local “On My Computer” contacts. One strange thing about Entourage is that it has two sets of contacts and calendars. One on Exchange and the other on the server.
# With mail messages, something very different happens, when you choose import, Entourage copies all the mail messages from all Exchange server folders and mounts them in your directory, so you just need to drag and drop to copy all the message over to the new Exchange server.
# Now do a File/Export as archive of all this. This should
# Now do a switch identity, which frankenstein switches you to the new world. Create the new Exchange identity.
# Choose File/Import and pick the archive. This stuffs everything into yet another “On My Computer”
# Now copy the calendar to the new Exchange calendar, the contacts to the new Exchange contacts and the do the same for the mail.
# You can now delete all the On My Computer data
# Switch identities and do the same for that things On My Computer.

Arrgh Sync problems from Address Book to iPhone

So at least I got Entourage to suck down vCards. When you have 7,000 of them, you take address Book, highlight all the cards and then choose File/Export/vCards. This creates a massive 2MB vCard file. Open Entourage and drag and drop it into the contacts window. Be careful though, Entourage gives no visual feedback that it accepted the drop. I did it four times and ended up with 30,000 contacts after four hours of Entourage grinding away!

As an aside to get rid of these, you have to be careful. I used Outlook 2003, but in its cached Exchange mode, the Exchange folder and the contact folder seems to be out of sync. I deleted all the way back to 7000 but 8000 stayed in Exchange Server. You have to go to the Email Account entry and turn off “Cached Exchange Mode” to really do a delete.

Also, Blackberry’s don’t seem to like these massive changes, so my blackberry was stuck with 5,000 entries. I had to Wipe the Blackberry and then plug it into the Desktop Manager (make sure you turn off Cached Mode!) and then this starts the copy again. I’m still waiting. This kind of sync can take 24 hours I’ve found.

Finally, even with all that, I discovered that vCards into Entourage don’t like Chinese characters (I’m guessing the vCard code in Entourage is not double byte language enabled), so all chinese characters come out as hash. Sigh.

And another finally is all this back and forth can really confuse the Mac Sync software, so you have to reset it by deleting files as noted below.

Special report: Troubleshooting iPhone sync problems – iPhone Atlas

Contacts do not synchronize from Address Book iTunes may fail to properly synchronize contacts with the iPhone, hanging repeatedly at the “Syncing contacts” phase. One fix, effective but risky, is to delete the iSync and SyncServices folders from ~/Library/Application Support (this is the Library folder inside your user directory folder). A safer, and equally effective fix is as follows: 1. Back up Contacts using File > Back up Address Book
2. Delete all contacts in Address Book
3. Move ~/Library/Application Support/AddressBook, ~/Library/Caches, and ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.AddressBook.plist to the Trash, but do not empty (just in case)
4. Log out of your user, then log back in
5. Launch iSync, Choose iSync > Preferences. Click on the Reset Sync History… button. Click Reset Sync History.
6. Log out of your user, then log back in
7. Launch Address Book, create a few test cards, then try to sync. It should be successful.
8. Now try restoring from your backup with File > Revert to Address Book Backup.