Unable to clean your local free/busy information


I ran into this issue a few months ago and now that I have my blogged kicked off, I have a couple things I need to catch up on posting here…so here goes another one:

We had just migrated some mailboxes from one E2K3 SP2 server to another E2K3 SP2 server.  A couple users reported that their free/busy information was not being updated and they were receiving the error “Unable to update your free/busy information” when creating new appointments or accepting meeting requests.

Well, normally, this is an easy fix.  You do one of 2 things:
1.  Run a /cleanfreebusy
2.  Manually remove the user’s Free/Busy folder

The issue came up when I did Step 1.  I received a message I had never seen and could find very little reference to it on the web:  “Unable to clean your local free/busy information”  The key word here is LOCAL.  This post doesn’t apply if you don’t have the word LOCAL.

So I proceeded to some of the more advanced free/busy troubleshooting steps:
1.  Check for uppercase characters in the free/busy message
2.  Check the SiteFolderServer setting
3.  Recreated the calendar folder

Still, not working…so I open a PSS case.  PSS had only seen a couple instances of this case and the final fix had been to exmerge the mailbox out, delete the mailbox, recreate the mailbox, and exmerge the data back in.  I didn’t want to go with that answer because we had several more migrations to go and this would be a lot of overheard if we had to do it regularly.

So worked with PSS some more and finally off of something they said, got a crazy idea…and it worked!  So here what is was…it appears to be some problem with the MAPI property PR_FREEBUSY_ENTRYIDS.

UPDATE (09/12/2012): There is a newer Codeplex project that is a much better tool for working in the mailbox. Check out the new version of MFCMAPI.

You can fix this problem with the MAPI Editor Tool (the tool formerly known as MFCMapi).  You will need to create an Outlook profile for the mailbox you want to repair:

1.  Choose Session and Logon and Display Store Table
2.  Choose the Outlook profile you created
3.  Double click the Instance that starts with “Mailbox -”
4.  Expand Root – Mailbox
5.  Click on IPM_SUBTREE
6.  In the right window, if there is a property name of PR_FREEBUSY_ENTRYIDS, right click on it and choose Delete Property (if it exists here…it may not)
7.  Expand IPM_SUBTREE
8.  Click on Inbox
9.  In the right window, if there is a property name of PR_FREEBUSY_ENTRYIDS, right click on it and choose Delete Property
10.  Exit out of MAPI Editor.
11.  Rerun /cleanfreebusy on the mailbox.

This should resolve the issue…at least it did in our case.  I hope this helps someone else and please post a comment if you used this post…I would be interested to know if others experience this!  Thanks!

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About J.D. Wade

Senior SharePoint Consultant, husband, active in community theatre, love watching movies, have been described as “quirky”, aka “KB Man”
This entry was posted in Microsoft Exchange Server, Microsoft Outlook. Bookmark the permalink.

60 Responses to Unable to clean your local free/busy information

  1. Jason says:

    Question, how can I do this to all mailboxes on a server?

  2. Wow Jason…we only had a couple in our migration out of around 1000. So this exact issue on all of them and it occurred after mailbox moves? First, I would make sure you confirm this is the issue by manually fixing one or two mailboxes first.

    If this is your issue, to answer your question, it isn’t easy…I believe an application would need to be created to modify the MAPI properties (if someone knows a better way, please let me know) but to be honest, I wouldn’t recommend that option.

    If you have a large number of mailboxes with this exact issue, I would definitely call PSS and open a case. This sounds like a bug and MS would definitely want the opportunity to check out a large number of mailboxes to hopefully find the root cause.

    I would only use this post when you have a few mailboxes to fix until MS can track down the root cause and get a fix out.

  3. Mike says:

    J.D.:

    Just experienced this in a situation where I work. We moved a users’ mailbox from one server to another. When delegates of this user tried to access calendar information they would get “Can’t open this items. Unable to open free/busy information.”. When trying to use the /cleanfreebusy switch on the user computer I would get “Unable to clean your local free/busy information” error message. Also like you I found very little information on the web to help resolve this issue. After trying your fix, it resolved this issue.

    Good work and thanks for sharing your fix!

    –Mike

  4. James says:

    J.D., good work !! I had exactly the same problem as Mike, we are moving mailboxes to a new server and experienced the problem on one account (so far), needless to say your fix worked.

    Thanks

    James

  5. Ray Newman says:

    Lifesaving post. Thanks much from both me and the managing partner (whose calendar is no longer horked) at the law firm for which I work.

  6. Carolyn says:

    Thank you so much for publishing this fix. We spent several days trying to fix the company president’s free/busy information before we found this solution. It worked great!

  7. goltrek says:

    Great solution, Microsoft dont have good documentation about this problem. And the Professional Support is too bad for troubleshooting this case.

    Thanks a lot…!!!

  8. Huckleberry says:

    I have found a new religion and God to worship – WadingThrough.

    Thanks so much, as this fixed a super knarly issue we were having and your solution (while the error did not have the “local” in it) was spot on, though the “PR_FREEBUSY_ENTRYIDS” entries were in slightly different locations. There were 2 entries and not too much trouble to find.

    Awesome! Thanks, so much.

  9. Brian says:

    I had this exact problem with a mailbox after moving it from one E2K3 server to another and your solution fixed it. Thanks.

  10. Julia says:

    You’ve been bookmarked — great website and aptly named.

    I wanted to mention that as an email admin with this issue on MY mailbox, I was just too tired to deal with the fix (especially since I didn’t have “local” in the error). After creationg a new profile for myself I was able to see others’ freebusy.

  11. Magnus says:

    Thank you for the one and ONLY solution on the web that could fix my problem.

    One of our users had this problem after beeing moved from Exchange 2000 to Exchange 2003 and your solution worked. Thanks!

  12. Craig Behan says:

    Kudos Mike. Your solution fixed my problem of a delegate not being able to open a clendar item from her boss’s calendar. Thanks! I too have bookmarked your site.

    -Craig

  13. John C says:

    A mailbox was moved a week ago and local support had been trying to fix for several days. They sent the incident over to my group and we were able to fix the problem in no time due to your website. Thank you very very much. Merry Christmas!

  14. Justin says:

    “JD is great!…gave us the chocolate cake!”

    Nice work! Another HERO found here beacuse of your efforts!

  15. Harsh T says:

    I got his solved in a very simple way. If you have just upgraded to Outlook 2007 then here is what you have to do…

    1. Goto Tool->Account Settings.
    2. Select your account and click on “Change…”
    3. Clear out “Use Cached Exchange Mode” check box below exchange server name field.
    4. Click on Next, dismiss the next message box that appears by clicking OK and then click Finish to save the changes that you just made.
    5. Restart Outlook 2007 and your problem is gone. No more “Cannot save free/busy information” message.

  16. Nathan says:

    ABOVE POST WORKS FOR OUTLOOK 2007. HOW SIMPLE!

  17. J.D. Wade says:

    Harsh T and Nathan,

    I want to verify that the error message you are correcting includes the word “local” when you are doing a /cleanfreebusy. Is this correct?

    Because this posting is very specific to the message “Unable to clean your LOCAL free/busy information.” I agree there are much easier solutions for the standard error message “Unable to clean your free/busy information.”

    Thanks!
    JD Wade

  18. Harsh T says:

    J.D. Wade,

    It just says “Cannot save free/Busy information” in this exact case in the ballon over Outlook 2007 icon in the system tray. In fact if I turn on the cached exchange mode it comes back. Maybe you can try it out yourself.

    We have MS Exchange Server 2003…

    Hope this helps.

    Thanks,
    Harsh

  19. Harsh T says:

    J.D. Wade,

    I am sorry I totally missed the “LOCAL” part of the message. DUH!!!

    I was just trying to help. Since this posting is specific to a message, please feel free to strike out my solution since it does not belong here.

    Thanks,
    Harsh

  20. J.D. Wade says:

    Harsh

    Have you tried the standard fix for this which is to close Outlook, go to Start, choose Run. Type in Outlook /cleanfreebusy

    If you haven’t, start with that. That resolves about 80% of the issues. If that doesn’t work, check out the link above about manually removing the user’s free/busy folder.

    HTH
    JD

  21. scruch says:

    thanks a lot . i have resolved.

  22. M'ten says:

    Thanks alot, This worked great!

  23. HarrisonGk says:

    Worked a treat – thanks

  24. Shaun Parfett says:

    JD, can’t thank you enough. Spot-on answer, well documented. I am extremely grateful for you sharing the knowledge. Pre-WWW, the answer would probably have been eluding me still weeks from now!

    Cheers

  25. Patti says:

    Hot Diggity! It took me a while to find the entries (they weren’t in quite the same locations) but once I found them this finally worked!

    Thank you!

  26. J. says:

    Hi there,
    thanks for this info. I tried it all, but found only one instance of the PR_FREEBUSY_ENTRYIDS.
    So the problem still exists and it’s the issue with the “LOCAL” free/busy info that cannot be cleaned.
    I will try further and hope for a cure…
    J.

  27. J says:

    Hi,
    me again. Well I tried more stuff:
    Created a new PST file, created a new outlook profile, but I cannot get rid of it. You should know, that I use a local PST file as default file for mail, calendar etc. I went through this local pst file, to find PR_FREEBUSY_ENTRYIDS but it didn’t help to get rid of the problem.
    Anyhow, I will keep on looking here from time-to-time and see if there is something new. Thanks for that posting that leads to the right way, at least. Regards, J.

  28. J.D. Wade says:

    Hi J.,
    Thanks for posting. Unfortunately, this post is specific to Outlook mailboxes existing on Exchange Servers. If you do have an Exchange mailbox, then you need to connect to the mailbox with MAPI Editor tool and clear the PR_FREEBUSY_ENTRYIDS there. That would be the next step I would take. I do not believe clearing them in the PST will help with this issue.
    JD

  29. J. says:

    Hi there,
    after further investigation I can confirm, that the problem still exists and cannot be solved so far when the following settings are used:

    -OL 2007 in cached exchange mode must be on

    -Delivery is set to a local PST file (a local pst file is the default data file)

    Either one of them changed, will cure the problem, however, that is not useful in my case, working remotely and not always connected to the Exchange server.

    Maybe someone finds this useful and someday there’s a cure.

    Regards,
    J.

  30. Roman says:

    The other PR_FREEBUSY_ENTRYIDS entry was in the Inbox, with the first one being in the mailbox root. Once these were deleted and Outlook ran with the /cleanfreebusy switch, my problem was solved! Thanks!

  31. Marty says:

    This process worked wonders. THANK YOU for posting it.

  32. J.D. Wade says:

    Very cool…the solution has been translated to Spanish here if that would be helpful to someone:

    http://groups.google.com/group/microsoft.public.es.exchange/browse_thread/thread/1c0a5996510a5508/7a1cb00923ae4a95

  33. Jairo says:

    I have the same problem as J, and still have not been able to find a solution. Still my error message is: “Cannot clean your local free/busy information” when running Outlook with the /cleanfreebusy switch. I also have the settings:

    -OL 2007 in cached exchange mode must be on

    -Delivery is set to a local PST file (a local pst file is the default data file)

  34. Tammy says:

    The property names were in different locations, but with the well documented instructions I was able to resolve the issue.

    Thanks a bunch!

  35. Martin Podgorski says:

    I still am having the issue even after deleteing the PR_FREEBUSY_ENTRYIDS from both locations. We just moved to Office 2007, and it seems like all the problems started following the upgrade.

  36. Vito Asaro says:

    I had this situation after upgrading to Outlook (Office) 2007, but the above solutions appears (so far) to have worked for me.

    *I am using a PST file rather than an Exchange-homed mailbox as are some of the others here who have mentioned that the fix didn’t work for them.

    Please note that before performing the above steps I first UNCHECKED CACHED MODE, and then then performed the above steps. After step #11 I exited outlook, went to control panel (Mail) and edited my Exchange Server Account settings to re-enable cached mode. I subsequently have gone back in to create/update appointments and have not had the error occur. I will post an update if it appears again.

    Thanks for the fix!

  37. CT says:

    Hi

    Worked with the MAPI editor tool, thanks!

    CT

  38. naisioxerloro says:

    Hi.
    Good design, who make it?

  39. Tech-Tachular Travis says:

    I found the fix people on how to get your Outlook Calendar to stop showing Cannot Save Free/Busy Information or Cannot Save Local Free/Busy Information on the calendar.

    Okay after spending quite some time the last few days trying to figure this out I do believe I solved this issue. WOOHOO!!! If I go to Start.. Settings.. Control Panel.. Mail… Data Files.. then highlight or select “mailbox-the users name” then select Settings.. then go to Advanced tab and deselect Use Cached Exchange Mode and also Deselect Download shared folders this fixes the issue.

  40. J.D. Wade says:

    Hi Travis,
    A couple questions…first, did you attempt to do a /cleanfreebusy after you turned off cached mode? It may still be there is a problem but turning off cached mode has masked it.
    Second, cached mode is one of the major advantages of using Outlook 2007 and makes turning it off to fix the problem a loss in functionality.
    Just my thoughts,
    JD

  41. Idetrorce says:

    very interesting, but I don’t agree with you
    Idetrorce

  42. Shubh B says:

    Harsh, you rock! your suggestion worked pretty well.

    Tx !
    SB

  43. Andrew says:

    Hi

    I’ve got a user running Outlook 2007 to Exchange 2007 in cache mode, and he cannot view free busy data from his Outlook calendar – but he can in Webmail. He is 100% remote from the exchange server so its only RCP over HTTPS connectivity.
    I’ve tried the /cleannfreebusy switch with cache mode on and off, this did not help.
    I did not get the “LOCAL” error when running the /cleanfreebusy switch but I ran the MAPI edit tool and delete the PR_FREEBUSY_ENTRYIDS key from the Inbox, ran the /cleanfreebusy and this did not help either. He also has an issue with OOO reporting “server unavailable” – could it be the autodiscover settings in Exchange 2007?

    I’ve also tried a new Outlook profile (with and without cache mode) and this suffered the same issues.

    Any thoughts?

    Cheers,
    Andrew

  44. Shaun says:

    tried removing the PR_FREEBUSY_ENTRYIDS from both locations. I have about 10-15 people experiencing this error in my org. All are ruinning OL2003 and not in cached exchange mode.

  45. Vipul says:

    I chose to deselect “Use Cached Exchange Mode” …. it solved the problem for me.

    Did anyone try this?

  46. DavidM says:

    I tried all the suggestions listed here. Some would work, but the problem would come back.

    I finally solved the issue for us by deleting the local files (.ost, etc.) in the Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook folder.

    I did this because, after unchecking Cached Mode, the problem went away until I clicked on an entry a second time.

  47. DavidM says:

    Follow-up:

    You can leave Cached Mode ON, just close Outlook, delete the local files and restart Outlook.

  48. Nazir says:

    I am going to try this solution where user as well others can’t see correct freebusy info (they are mispatched – what user sees, others can’t and vice versa). I already tried freebusy switch, deleting local freebusy message and schedule freebusy folder message – nothing helped so for.

    Can you please confirm the locations for PR_FREEBUSY_ENTRYIDS ?
    Locations I found are:
    Mailbox|Root Container
    and
    Top of Information Store | Inbox
    Are these correct locations, if yes, could you please let me know and also fix your instructions posted on your website?
    Thanks

  49. J.D. Wade says:

    Nazir,
    I have seen the entries be in a couple different places and I have not worked with this actual solution in awhile. So I would hesitate to update the actual post since this was based on my actual experiences then.
    However, I do know you are safe to erase those entries if you find them in other locations and they will be recreated properly when you run /cleanfreebusy. I have done this myself in the past.
    JD

  50. Greg says:

    Although, this is a good post. it did not work for me on outlook 2003 w/ exchange 2003.

    I ran through the process twice but still did not work.

  51. Hello,

    many thanks for your solution. I solved our problem with 5 mailboxes with your manual. I hope you don´t mind that I did a german translation of your great manual:

    http://www.msxforum.de/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?topic_id=9363&post_id=55058#forumpost55058

    Again many thanks…you saved my day!!!…;-)

    Regards
    Der_Eisenmann

  52. Darryl Burns says:

    Harsh T’s answer worked for me. I could never get the message about not being to clean free/busy information no matter what I did, until I took his suggestion and cleared the “Use Cached Exchange Mode” checkbox under the Account Setting menu.

    Great job! Thanks very much, that message was really starting to tick me off!

  53. J.D. Wade says:

    I just want to caution on turning off cache mode, you are fundamentally changing the configuration of Outlook and Exchange. You have stopped using the local .OST file and are putting more load on the Exchange server. In my opinion, you are avoiding finding the root cause of your issue and implementing a work around. You might have a corrupt local OST file and need to delete it and let it rebuild.

  54. I tried this with the exact issue and still not able to resolve it.

    Will try the manual delete now.

  55. Filipe says:

    Hi I was wondering if someone could help me?

    I have done a migration from one Exchange 2003 server to another exchange 2003 server. the reason for my upgrade was to replace my old exchange server with a newer and better one that we currently had. A couple users reported that their free/busy information was not being published to the exchange server. for example if they change the calendar setting to view someone’s calendar six months ahead of time it doesn’t take. Although in outlook its set to six months it doesn’t reflect…
    Does someone have any ideas why I am not able to publish anyone’s calendars a few months into the future?

  56. Serides says:

    J.D Wade is right. Manual delete did not solve my issue. Only when I cleared the “Use Cached Exchange Mode”, the message disappeared.

    As manual delete did not work for me and I do not want to implement the workaround is there any other solution that I can try?

  57. Timothy Frank says:

    I’ve tried all of this … it seems like fishing in the dark. I’ve also poked around dozens of internet sites with hundreds of reports of this problem. I think it is safe to say it’s a bug in the Microsoft Office 2007 & Exchange Server interface that only the guru’s of Outlook at Microsoft will be able to solve. None of your suggestions work except turning off cached exchange mode. I don’t know what turning off cached exchange mode might actually disable … ? Oh well, good luck Microsoft!

  58. daguccio says:

    I have been through all of these solutions and non of them worked. i thought I would KISS it! Keep it simple silly!

    Create a 2nd calendar
    copy everything from the original calendar to the 2nd calendar
    then delete everything from the 1st calendar
    then copy everything from the 2nd to the 1st and delete the 2nd. BAM! Amazing. I am pretty sure it deleted the corrupted files relevent to the error messages.

    Hope it works for you!

  59. Littlehoilei says:

    Tried all the steps including the recreation of new PST and OST files, but still fails. The error message still pops up when “Cached Exchange Mode” is turned on.

    Finally, the issue is solved by adding a macro as follows to keep the Exchange folder opening to Outlook 2007.

    “Apply this rule after the message arrives
    which is a meeting invitation or update
    move a copy to the Deleted Items Folder”

    ** The “Deleted Items” folder is the one on the Exchange.

  60. Pingback: Outlook 2007 – Cannot Save Free/Busy Information « The Musings Of SiteGuru

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