Lesson Learned: Outlook and Changing SharePoint Site URL’s

In outlook connected libraries, calendars, tasks, contacts and synchronized SharePoint areas information will no longer synchronize (and rightly so) if you change the related SharePoint site’s url.

So if you notice you cannot see newly added calendar events, or documents and the synchronization is off, double check the URL of the site has not changed.

The solution’s seems pretty simple if this does happen to you, you just reconnect the libraries using the out of the box SharePoint connect options and the existing outlook entries will now be properly connected (no need to delete and re-add for document libaries), but Calendars DO seem to need to be removed, and then re-added to update appropriately, and seemingly the same result with tasks, contacts, etc…

In fact I would say the key here is to really think about the impact changing a URL has, from bookmarking to services, applications, and things that reference the url externally (in this case, outlook 2007).

So why am I sharing this?

So during a conference this weekend I was setting up for my presentations (on SharePoint as an Idea and Innovation Platform) and opened up my synchronized sharepoint libraries in outlook.

I immediately noticed something that makes any presenter groan. The version of my presentation that was synchronized was several versions back. Well of course I connected through a VPN tunnel to my exchange and SharePoint environment and performed an update… but for some reason all of my SharePoint Lists in outlook didn’t update.

I navigated to the SharePoint site, downloaded the presentation and continued on for the next several hours with the different groups and presentations but then as soon as the presentations were over and I had resolved any outstanding questions I sat in the corner and scratched my head as to what had happened.

Then it hit me: Recently I had changed the site properties of the SharePoint site housing the connected library. In SharePoint 2007 you can modify the title, logo, description, and “URL” of the site.

What I had done was cleaned it up a little bit to account for a new managed path and architecture I was putting in place, what I forgot to think of is how this could impact anyone who has synchronized the libraries and calendars within the site.

In this case it was a minor hiccup, but could you imagine if this had been a site with important data hundreds of people were viewing? Now all those off site who might rely on Outlook synchronization would be unable to see new changes, and because it might not be immediately obvious this could happen for sometime creating a huge cost in misinformation. Not to mention that obviously I had not fully considered the impact other services might experience if they are referencing that previous site url.

(To be fair I also knew I was the only person using this site, and the only person who has access to/uses the site’s materials right now, so (and this could be me trying to excuse it) really I fully expect had this been a different situation I would never have changed the URL without considering the impact in far greater detail.)

Well I won’t make that mistake again! And hopefully someone else out there reading this avoid the potentially extremely costly and dangerous mistake I made.
Richard Harbridge

Explore posts in the same categories: Reference, SharePoint 2007, Tips and Tricks, Troubleshooting

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4 Comments on “Lesson Learned: Outlook and Changing SharePoint Site URL’s”

  1. Dan Usher Says:

    Any recommendations on how to update a large system? For a few users with a single team site this seems reasonable as stated above. For a large system though, it doesn’t.

  2. rharbridge Says:

    Unfortunately I don’t know of any easy/enterprise wide methods to use to adjust something like this.

    If it’s a root site change you could try alternate access mapping etc so that the old address reference works still. If were talking about turning off an old address and 100% going to a new one though there really is no easy way to do it.

    I guess in that case my best recommendation is make it clear to users who might use this functionality that this might happen and provide the steps to resolve it.

    Sorry for not having alot more. P.S – I liked your blog entry about the document and I am in agreement with you on alot of points. 🙂

  3. Dan Usher Says:

    Thanks for the thoughts back!

    I suppose through a crafty SQL query or console application it could be rectified… maybe. 🙂

  4. Maybe, but it would be related to the outlook/exchange side I think, and not the SharePoint side.

    Still, best of luck, and if you do figure something out let me know. 🙂

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