Can Not Retrieve Free/Busy Information

I have been perplexed with this issue since last week – my Outlook just can not retrieve the free/busy information of other users or resources.  One thing I am sure this has nothing to do with the server and my account settings. As this feature works fine in my OWA. This must be something related to my local Outlook settings.

Since Outlook 2007 (just the one I am using), it uses the autodiscovery service to retrieve the Free/Busy information. Microsoft summarized the transcation of autodisover as below: 

The order of operations for Autodiscover settings discovery in Outlook 2010 is summarized as follows:

  1. Automatically retrieve the e-mail address from the Active Directory directory service if the computer is joined to a domain.
  2. Retrieve the name of the Exchange Server computer if found, and store the name for later.
  3. Look for Service Connection Point (SCP) objects or SCP pointer objects that correspond to the user’s e-mail address, and find the correct Autodiscover server to connect to. Then,, connect to the server and retrieve the settings.
  4. If the previous step fails, try DNS discovery of Autodiscover XML (allowing for 10 redirects).
    1. HTTPS POST: https://domain/autodiscover/autodiscover.xml
    2. HTTPS POST: https://autodiscover.domain/autodiscover/autodiscover.xml
    3. HTTP GET: http://autodiscover.domain/autodiscover/autodiscover.xml (only to follow redirects, not to obtain settings)
    4. DNS SRV lookup: _autodiscover._tcp.domain (only to follow the redirect to which the SRV resource record points)
  5. If the previous step fails, try local XML discovery and use the XML found on the local computer, if applicable.
  6. If the previous step fails but the name of the Exchange Server computer is found in step 2, configure the Exchange account based on the name of the Exchange Server computer.

According to the statement, my autodisover does not work as expected. As when I do ‘Test Email Autoconfiguration’ (I mentioned in my previous post), it starts with local discovery :0 What hell? How can it happen? I did not change any thing (at least as I can recall).

Lauched the registry editor, and I did find that the value of PreferLocalXML is 1, which means it does prefer to do the local autodiscovery.  If you want to do it, just follow the instrucation that I copied from MS forum (

Office 2007 – HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Outlook\Autodiscover\PreferLocalXML

Office 2010 – HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Outlook\Autodiscover\PreferLocalXML

Value: 1

To set the path to the local XML file, set the following:

Office 2007 – HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Outlook\Autodiscover\[Domain Name]

Office 2010 – HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Outlook\Autodiscover\[Domain Name]

Value: Full Path to XML file

For example,, and its value is the full path to the XML file,

C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Office12\Outlook\AutoDiscover\

An example XML file, and the schema for the is explained here:

After I renumbered the value to 0 and restart the Outlook. Unfortunatly, it still refuse to work Sad smile  . I decided to do it from scrach – backup the key of AutoDisover key then remove it. Guess what? When I restart the Outlook, the autodiscovery works like a charm Winking smile

Here are some useful links about AutoDiscovery:


4 thoughts on “Can Not Retrieve Free/Busy Information

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