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2000 & 2003 GroupCalendar
Installing and configuring
Exchange GroupCalendar step by step
Note: you can call us to guide you
thru the installation step by step, free of charge.
If you use the Live Help chat button from this website we can talk you through
it or even connect to your server
with our remote control software. The same goes for any configuration questions
you may have.
Log on to the Exchange Server with
the Administrator account.
Start the "Active Directory Users & Computers"-tool and create a
user account, f.i. 'GCADMIN'.
Answer YES when it offers to create an Exchange server inbox
for the new account.
use the administrator account and don't copy an exiting account, it won't work. The
only proper method is to create a clean new user.)
Make sure the new 'GCADMIN' account is
member of the groups
"Exchange Domain Servers" plus
"Administrators" and not a member of "Enterprise Admins" or "Domain Admins".)
Also do the following In the Active Directory Users and Computers
1. On the
View menu, click Advanced Features if this option is not already enabled.
2. Right-click the Active Directory Container object where the users are located in (or any higher level
container object) and then click Properties.
3. Click the Security tab, and then click Advanced.(button)
4. Click Add. (button)
5. In the Name box, type the name of the account under which the application runs (gcadmin), and then click OK.
6. In the Apply to list, select "User objects"
7. click to select the "Send As" Allow column.
8. Click OK three times to save your changes and to close all the dialog boxes.
C - The new
'GCADMIN' account should be
able to access
everything on your Exchange server and the following
method has proved to work best:
In the Name dialog box, click
and then select the new account (f.i. GCADMIN)
from the list that appears.
Select Full Control for the
While you are there, check the
Exchange Domain Servers group that is also listed. Check if it has a
black tick in the Deny column
for Send As or Receive As. If that's the case, remove the black
tick. A grey tick may still be visible but that is ok.
Set the same permissions on the 'Public
Folder Store' and after that (up the tree) also on the Server
Click Okay and wait at least 20
minutes for the permissions to be applied internally.
(* It is very important to add
the permissions to the database stores before adding them to the
D - Run ExchGC_COM+.MSI
(*) from the zip file that you downloaded
from this website. (logged on as the Administrator)
(* if you get Error 2755.1601 or another error
trying to install it, check the
troubleshooting section for the solution.
You will also get an error if the com+ component was installed already.)
E - Open: Start menu - Settings - Control
Panel - Administrative Tools - Component Services.
(logged on as the Administrator)
Browse for the gcadmin account you created, enter the password and press OK.
NOTE: Do not right-click and start
ExchGC manually. In fact if you do you will not be able to use step#3 of the configuration tool. The ExchGC component 'ball in the box' will start rotating in the 'box' and stop automatically in
response to events in user calendars.
NOTE 2: If you change the gcadmin password
later, remember to adjust it here as well
F - Now run
'Exchange GroupCalendar Setup.exe'
(still logged on as administrator). Accept all defaults.
The gcadmin.exe administration tool will start and
probably give you an error message "root folder not found"
That's ok. Close the gcadmin tool for now.
Again: Do not
configure anything yet. Close the GroupCalendar Administration tool without
Optional Install: You can skip to H and do G later if you
want. You need step G only when the groupcalendar is not updating correctly.
In c:\Exchange Group Calendar you will find a
subfolder called Service. There are two executables in that folder; the
service and the service-installer
tool. The service should be considered as a second line
of defense to make sure that the Group Calendars always show up-to-date information. Even if the
real-time processing would fail to process the calendar events correctly, the
server service kicks in every 5
minutes and will correct the problem. The
service MUST run with the identity of
the newly created gcadmin account, so you must add the gcadmin
account to the "log on as a service" policy. This can be done by
the policies (Start-Programs-Administrative Tools- Local Security Policy
- Local policies - User Rights Assignment - Log on
as a service) and adding the gcadmin account there. After that, start the service installer
executable in the service subfolder, type in the name and password of the gcadmin account, click Install and click
If it fails to start, go to Administrative tools,
Services, open the Exchange GroupCalendar check&fix service,
make sure that gcadmin name and password are
correct and click apply & start service. Before
exporting existing calendars (in step 3 of the gcadmin.exe), make sure that you
Exchange GroupCalendar Check & Fix
service. When the export is ready and your server CPU is back at a normal level,
open the USERS.INI file in
c:\Exchange Group Calendar\Service and delete everything from it.
Close the Users.ini and start the
Check & Fix service again.
Before you continue to the configuration you may want to adjust the setting that
determines in which
Active Directory user field the configuration info gets
stored by Exchange GroupCalendar.
The default field is the Description field at
the General page of the Active Directory Users And Computers tool.
Some organizations use the Description field
already and prefer another active directory field.
You can/may change this to Custom Attribute
field 1 to 15 (those are located at the Exchange
open the file c:\exchange group
find the following line at the bottom of the
and add the field number of your choice so
it looks like this: ExtensionAttributeFieldNumber=12
Close and save the
config.ini file and log off from the Exchange server.
I - Log back
on to the Exchange server with the new
account (GCADMIN) that you created.
gcadmin.exe(*) from the installation path c:\Exchange GroupCalendar to start the
you get an 'access denied' error when you try to start gcadmin.exe; log back on as administrator and give the
full control permissions on the 'c:\exchange groupcalendar'
directory and make sure that it propagates that to all files in the directory.)
- LOG ON AS GCADMIN! (to the
exchange server console) - Check the properties of your future
groupcalendar users in the
- Do they have information in the initials field? (*1)
- Do they have an correctly formatted email SMTP address in the primary domain? (*2)
. - In Step one, click both buttons
on the left, type a name in the field on the right and click the Add button.
- In Step two, click an Organizational unit on the right, select a user and click the Connect
- In Step three, click an Organizational unit, select a user and click the Share
calendar button. (box turns green)
- In Step three, select a user and click the Import button.
- Test it by creating an item in the outlook calendar of that user and look in
the public folders to see(*3) the item in the groupcalendar.
(*1) By default, Initials will be displayed in
front of the subject in the group calendar like this [JFK] Sales
but it is possible to change this with the 'user name display' setting.
(*2) If you host multiple email domains on the same server make sure the users
have an email address in the primary domain like ALIAS@DOMAIN.COM
(*3) Outlook 2003 uses cached mode
by default. It updates the public folder at a regular interval. Disable cached
mode to see the real performance of the Exchange GroupCalendar software.
step by step detailed version:
LOG ON AS GCADMIN!
Logging should not be enabled in a
production setting. The checkbox should be enabled only to create
detailed logs to send along with a support call.
the first button (step 1) to create the Group Calendars on your Exchange server.
(You must be logged on to Exchange server as gcadmin when you do
Bookmark invalid error? : download
the latest version of
that error seems connected to installation adn removal of some
third party products on you exchange server.
Calendar definition form will open.
Hold your mouse over the buttons or
bold labels for an explanation of the functionality.
The two buttons on the left must both
be clicked once. The 'Check PF root' button checks the name of your
public folders store and gives an OK message or an error.
If you get an error you may have
another Public Folders root name (check that in Outlook) or more likely
(*) check the step C install instructions
and also check if the gcadmin user is able to open, change and save the
Config.INI file which resides in the same folder as the gcadmin.exe
Maybe the gcamdin account has no permissions to edit the files in the
create the Root folder. This is the place in Outlook
where all Group Calendars will be listed. You can accept the
default name 'GroupCalendars' or change the default. Do not use the
name of an already existing folder created with Outlook. You must create
a new root folder with this gcadmin tool.
The 'Create Root folder'
button must be pressed at least once, even if you don't change the name
of the Root. An error message will indicate insufficient access
rights. In that case repeat step C of the installation instruction. If
all goes well you will get two OK messages.
almost unlimited number of Group Calendars can now be created. Press
the 'Refresh' button to see the calendars already created.
Create new Group Calendars by typing the
name in the box and clicking the 'Add' button.
If they fail to show up in the list
that says 'currently defined GroupCalendars'
try to create another GroupCalendar root name on the left hand bottom.
Use the Exchange/Outlook security to
define user access to some of the Group Calendars you create here. By
default everyone will be Author and able to view or even edit the information in the Group
You can change the permissions from
within Outlook (logged on as gcadmin) or from the Exchange System
Manager tool on the server by right-clicking the groupcalendar folder
and selecting properties. Users need only reviewer rights to see
the content. Even when they have no permissions at all, their
appointments can still show up in a groupcalendar.
So it is safe to set user permissions to a
low level or even untick the 'Folder visible' for some users.
One thing is very important though. The GCADMIN account must
always be listed as owner.
Click on one of the GroupCalendars in
the list to see the current status of the two-way
replication feature for that GroupCalendar.
In GroupCalendars that have a green box, users
with sufficient permissions (*) can
create or change items in the GroupCalendar and the change will replicate back to the
personal calendar. This is a nice feature for office managers and
others who need easy access to other peoples schedules for editing.
The egcGridView tool is available and using that,
meetings and appointments can be created for other users as well in the
When a scheduled meeting is moved in
the GroupCalendar, the item will update automatically in the organizers personal calendar and the other users (attendees) will automatically receive an
update notice which seems to come from the organizer.
Single items (non meetings) will simply follow the change in the groupcalendar.
Deleting from the GroupCalendar is
supported in a special way. Please read the
public to personal information page, user instruction 7.
Users that you want to allow to edit items in
two-way sync enabled calendars or users that want to use the GridView
tool to edit and create items, should have Edit permissions.
(Note that you can remove the createitems tick as well but drag and drop will then not work
and create will not work in the gridview tool. Editors will have to open the
appointment and change the item in that way. Another alternative setting
reported by a licensee using GridView is to set the permissions to Publishing
Editor and also click Folder contact )
Users that you want to only view items in two-way
sync enabled calendars should have these permissions.
This goes for non two-way sync enabled calendars as well.
You can edit these permissions in Exchange system
manager or from Outlook (right click the public folder calendar) when logged in as gcadmin.
Permissions for editors
view only permissions
'General Settings' button enables you to configure what type of items
should be displayed in the Group Calendars.
This collection of setting applies to all your GroupCalendars but can be
overruled with specific settings per calendar and per rule.
(example: You can disable the
display of "Free Time" items in the general settings. If you
have a "vacations" groupcalendar you might want to show only
"free time" items there so in the Override setting of the
"Vacations" calendar you would tick the "Show Free
time" option and leave all other settings intact as specified in
There are a lot of options you can use
to make sure that every groupcalendar only shows the desired
information. Combine this with the user permissions you can set on every
Public Folder from within Outlook and you have all the tools to make
sure that every user only sees the information they need.
(With regards to setting permissions
on calendars; nobody needs access but gcadmin. A users' calendar
items can be visible in a GroupCalendar while that GroupCalendar remains
invisible to that user!)
The settings are grouped by the
property that leads the action. The first form holds the Miscellaneous
Rules, the actions based on the Private property and actions
based on the Category property of an appointment.
By default, all items in the
groupcalendars will be displayed with the initials of the user in
If no initials are available in the active directory, the exchange alias
will be used.
However it is possible to override this behavior by selecting the user
name display option and take a pick from the available name parts. The
number 100 represents the choice to use all characters of a name part.
The 'order' 1 to 4 can be changed to compose the desired format.
In the example to the right you see the choice :
All initials + all of last
The two checkboxes for first name and
full name are not ticked so they will not be used.
the mouse over a bolded label to learn how the options works.
Press the "NEXT" button
second form of the GeneralSettings - settings handles the
rules based on the Subject and Body property of an
the General Settings form.
the General Settings form.
in the calendar Definition (step #1) you can now select one of the
GroupCalendars you defined earlier and click the Override Settings
we selected the Vacation groupcalendar we defined earlier.
While configuring the specific rules
for this calendar we can still see what the General Settings are. The
dark grey boxes on the left show the general setting and the dark grey
option on the right shows the effective setting for this Vacation
effective setting has status ON so for this calendar the appointments
with @@@ in the body will not be visible.
If the general settings change, that
change will also effect the settings for this option in this Specific
Override option has status ON. Because Specific is OFF the Effective
result is OFF. This calendar will not hide appointments with @@@ in the
Override option has status ON and the Specific option is ON. The
Effective result is that the option is turned ON for this calendar.
If the general settings change, that
change will not effect the settings for this option in this Specific
dark-grey option is not ticked. This means that the general setting for
this option has status OFF
Override option has status ON but the Specific option is OFF so the
result is still that this option is OFF.
ticking the Specific option box the rule is ON. Now appointments with
Holiday or Vacation as a category will be displayed with a specific
color in this specific GroupCalendar.
the configuration and return to the opening screen.
button # 2 to assign users to GroupCalendars.
Calendar/User Mappings form opens up. This tools enables you to
determine who's appointments will be included in a specific Group
On the left you see all Group Calendar names.
On the right are the Groups in your
Active Directory and once a Group has been selected the users will be
shown in the
For very large organizations it might
be a good idea to select an Organizational Unit that represents the top
level of the active directory where all "your" users are under
and tick the "Show only OU's under" option to narrow down the
list of OU's to an acceptable amount.
one of the users (here 'Amini' has been selected) and look below the
'disconnect' button to see his current mappings. Here it says 'Amini has been mapped
to calendar: Sales '
The mapping information can also be
found in the active directory user field 'Description'. If the
Description field already contains information the calendar mapping
information is added to that existing description.
that the text "GroupCalendar items label color for this user"
appears when you select a user. Click the white field to choose a
specific color for that user's items in the groupcalendars.
one or more of the Group Calendars in the list on the left and notice
that the connect/disconnect buttons are activated. By pressing the
appropriate button you can connect or disconnect one or more users to
one or more groupcalendars.
The other button "List users of
selected calendar(s)" will produce a printable report of the user
mappings. Click that button after selecting the GroupCalendars you are
After completion of this step you have
your GroupCalendars ready to display only what you want, the users are
set up to share their calendar info in the appropriate public calendars
and only one thing remains; start the actual sharing of information in
the calendar / user mapping form and proceed to step three
the calendar / user mapping form and proceed to step two
are back at the administration tool.
Press button # 3 to open the switch
From here you enable or disable the calendar
sharing for selected users.
In step #2 users are mapped to one or
more calendars. However until you switch them ON they will not participate
and their calendar information will not be visible in the GroupCalendars
they have been mapped to.
the users that you configured in step #2 with a GroupCalendar mapping
will be visible in the list and can be switched ON.
sure that before you remove users from all groupcalendars in step #2 you
first unshare their calendar here.
a group from the list to see the users you want to enable or disable
calendar sharing for. If this user is currently switched off,
you will see a red box. Press the 'Key' button to switch calendar
sharing ON for this user.
fails; Check the primary smtp email address of the user. Make sure the
Exchange Alias (on the 'exchange general' tab in the active directory) is
the same as the primary email address. (only the part before the @). So
email address firstname.lastname@example.org would
give alias 'jack'
If you still can not get it to work this way, open the gcadminerrorlog.txt
file from c:\Exchange Group Calendar. Browse down from the top until you
find the entry 'Exchange name :
xxxxx.yyy' When the value xxxxx.yyy differs from the primary email address you
must add a secondary smtp address to the user properties in the form of ALIAS@xxxx.yyy
that you have the com+ component installed and configured to run with
the gcadmin name and password. (identity tab)
you are working on users in a child domain you might have to give them a
secondary smtp address with the same namespace as the exchange server
top level. (example: The exchange server is in opus.com and the users in
child.opus.com. Give those users email@example.com
as a secondary email address.
After these steps you are ready for
testing. Simply create a new appointment in the personal calendar (*) of
one of the users and if it complies to the rules you set up in the
calendar configuration of step#1 you should now see it appear in the
(*) A common mistake is that people
create items in a calendar folder that is part of a PST file and not in
their Exchange Inbox.
To export existing
appointments from your users' personal calendars into the Group Calendar
you first select the users and click the import button. You will have to
do this only once when you start using the software.
It will not create duplicate items if
you use the option later again to fill up a newly created groupcalendar
folder with existing appointments.
(*) Before exporting existing
calendars, make sure that you stop the Exchange GroupCalendar Check &
When the export has finished and your server CPU is back at a normal level,
open the USERS.INI file in c:\Exchange Group Calendar\Service and
delete everything from it. Close the Users.ini and start the Check
& Fix service again.
Read the user
experience to learn what you can expect from the Exchange GroupCalendar
If you like the software you can order
a license here.
No need to uninstall the demo version, we will send you a license after
purchase to turn the demo version into a full version.
If it's not what you are looking for let us know. We welcome all
suggestions; in fact the current functionality of the software was
created based purely on user feedback and suggestions.
To uninstall the software you must
first stop sharing for all users in step #3. After that you select all
users and calendars in step #2 and disconnect everyone. Now you can
uninstall the software from control panel - add/remove programs. This
will remove the com+ component and executable.