Newbie: OS X and MS Exchange

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by bobsayshello, Apr 7, 2007.

  1. bobsayshello macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2007
    Location:
    Northern Ireland
    #1
    I am about to buy a MBP C2D running OS X Tiger. Problem is that I have a 1&1 Exchange Hosting which I use to access Contacts, Calander and Tasks from both work and my PDA running Windows Mobile 5.

    So newbie question: will I be able to access my MS Exchange account directly through OS X or will I have to buy Office 2004? It seems to good to be true that I could both read and write to my MS Exchange account by simply using OS X itself?

    Thanks, /bob :eek:
     
  2. petvas macrumors 601

    petvas

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2006
    Location:
    Mannheim, Germany
    #2
    You will need Entourage for full Exchange Support. You can also access your Exchange Mailbox through IMAP4 if thats activated on the Server.
     
  3. Richard Flynn macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Location:
    Sydney
    #3
    We used to use 1&1 Exchange hosting in our family, but switched at the beginning of this year to Intermedia.net since they also provide a Blackberry Enterprise Server (which my brother wanted to use). My mother and I both use Entourage daily for our Exchange access.

    Entourage provides the most comprehensive Exchange feature-set for OS X. However, there are a few Exchange-related features which Entourage lacks when compared to Outlook on Windows:
    1. Server-side rules—in Outlook you can set up rules to automatically sort or act upon your email as it arrives (e.g. messages from certain people automatically go into a certain folder, or messages with attachments get deleted, or whatever). These rules then get synced with the Exchange server, so that they are applied whether or not you are currently online, and also so that even if you don't log in using Outlook (so instead use Outlook Web Access, for instance), the mail has already been appropriately dealt with. Now, if you've already set up rules in Outlook which have synced with the server, then fine, these will run on the server and will have an effect when you open your mail in Entourage on the Mac. However, you can't edit these rules on the Mac, nor can you add new rules from within Entourage. You can set up rules in Entourage, but these are completely separate from the server's rules, and only run when Entourage is running (otherwise, everything is just left in Inbox).
    2. Tasks—Entourage has 'Tasks' (to-do items), Exchange has Tasks, Outlook has Tasks. Outlook's Tasks sync with Exchange. Entourage's don't. Go figure. This is probably my biggest current bug with the Entourage/Exchange implementation. If you create Tasks in Entourage, they are effectively orphaned since you can't access them from anywhere else (even another Mac running Entourage connecting to the same Exchange account).
    3. Free/Busy Information—since I don't make use of this feature (I don't share my calendars), I'm not too well qualified to talk about it. However, I understand that Entourage has no way to access/alter Free/Busy Information in calendars as synced with Exchange. This only really matters, as I say, if you're sharing calendars and scheduling appointments with other people on the same Exchange server.
    Those are the three big problems as I understand it. I'm really hoping that they will all be addressed in Office 2008, due out this year—very little has been revealed about the new version of Entourage. The trouble is, as I understand it, that whereas Outlook is developed by the same people who develop Exchange server, Entourage isn’t and the Mac Business Unit (the division of Microsoft which develops Office for the Mac) hasn’t got full documentation for all the server-side features. Entourage communicates with the Exchange server using the same interface as Outlook Web Access, whereas Outlook (the desktop application) communicates using RPC over HTTP (Remote Procedure Call over HTTP). Here’s hoping that Entourage 2008 will use RPC over HTTP and thus be able to access the full Exchange feature-set. Sadly, I'm not holding my breath.

    Oh, you may not need to pay for Office 2004. 1&1 certainly provides licences (and media) for installing Outlook 2003 on Windows PCs for holders of Exchange mailboxes. I can't remember if they also provide the option of Entourage 2004. It's certainly the case that with Intermedia.net—our current Exchange host—they will provide either Outlook 2003 or Entourage 2004 for the end users. This is allowed for by the way Microsoft licenses Exchange server for third-party hosting. Check with 1&1.
     
  4. bobsayshello thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2007
    Location:
    Northern Ireland
    #4
    Thanks for the info Richard...that certainly answers my question!!

    I am gutted to hear that Office 2004 (Entourage) does not sync "Tasks" as I use this particular feature quite heavily. My options if I understand you) are therefore as follows:

    1. Get Entourage from 1&1 (i know they offered me a free Outlook 2003)
    2. Let my 1&1 exchange account lapse and move over to Intermedia.net
    3. Hope Office 2008 plugs the 'task' sync issue

    a possible 'work around' would be to dual boot (bootcamp) or use parallel type software?

    Thanks again, /bob
     
  5. rogersmj macrumors 68020

    rogersmj

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2006
    Location:
    Indianapolis, IN
    #5
    That's exactly what I did. I tried to use Entourage for awhile, but it just plain sucks. It lacks features and it's slow (because it has to run through Rosetta on Intel Macs). I too am hoping Office 2008 will make it better, but in the mean time I run Windows XP through a Parallels virtual machine for the sole purpose of using Outlook 2003. I've got 2GB or RAM and dedicated 256MB of it to Parallels and this arrangement works great. Toss in Parallels' Coherence Mode and it's the next best thing to actually having Outlook on the Mac.
     
  6. Richard Flynn macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Location:
    Sydney
    #6
    Glad to be of some help. It's certainly a viable option to use Outlook in Parallels; however, I considered this and thought that it was far slower in fact than running Entourage—it's certainly a whole lot more processor-intensive. I don't know about mrogers’ experience, but I haven't found Entourage to be particularly slow on an Intel Mac. I run it on a MacBook Pro and a Mac Pro with 2GB and 6GB [ahem] of RAM respectively, and it's fine just running constantly in the background. Entourage is now the only Office app I run regularly, having switched from using Word to using Mellel for its very advanced typographical features (with OpenType fonts). I think, however, that running Windows in Parallels is far more of a RAM-hog and slows my laptop right to a crawl, especially when resuming the virtual machine.

    Are you just using one Mac and your PocketPC? If so, you might consider doing a local sync with the PocketPC for your tasks. I know that many people swear by Missing Sync to sort out syncing with Windows Mobile devices, and you should be able to set it so that it syncs just tasks, so that everything else is handled by over-the-air access to the Exchange server. I know this probably slightly negates your original purpose in getting the Exchange server! I'm currently (actually) thinking about doing something like this: my Nokia N80 syncs with the Exchange server beautifully (twice a day automatically, otherwise on demand) but obviously can't get to any tasks created in Entourage (since they're not on the Exchange server). I should be able to sync it via iCal and iSync over Bluetooth so that just tasks are transferred. Then, before going away from the desktop for an extended period, I can transfer the Entourage data folder from the desktop to the laptop. Clunky, I know, but I really do hope that Exchange support is improved in either Entourage 2008 or natively in Leopard, which has (probably rather wishfully) been suggested by some.

    That's not to say that Exchange support in Entourage as it stands is particularly woeful, but it is lacking in a few areas. It's sad that Tasks is one of those areas. Talking to my brother yesterday (the Blackberry-toting one), I was told that he is considering switching to the Mac but has decided to see what happens in Office 2008. Not, as he says, that he particularly uses Tasks much, but we'd all like to see some improvement…

    Sorry. Got to stop beating my drum now.
     

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