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On a fresh install of Exchange 2010, new distribution groups are not appearing in the GAL. I have also forced a download of the GAL to no avail. I have tried creating the groups in both the default OU and other locations as well. Nothing seems to work. I have successfully created distribution groups before and had no problems. The groups appear in Outlook Web Access, but even if I manually type in the address of the group and press "Check Names" in Outlook it does not work. I have been unable to find the exact issue on ServerFault, although I have seen posts about replication/cache time, since I am forcing the download AND it has been 24 hours (when the setting is 8 hours) I don't think that is the issue.

EDIT: If I disable Cached Exchange Mode, it works - I see the distribution groups as expected. However when I enable cached exchange mode again it stops working and even if I force a download I do not get the new groups.

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Can you try running the Offline Address Book generation manually, and see if it works? Make sure the schedule is set to actually run it, that there's no event log entries about it failing, and that it's got a working distribution point (either through IIS or public folder). –  Shane Madden Dec 29 '11 at 21:16
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up vote 1 down vote accepted

As you have noticed, this has to do with running Outlook in cached mode. When in cached mode your outlook client pulls a copy of the OAB (Offline Address Book) from a distribution point (web or public folder) on the server running the CAS role. This happens by default when you close/ re-open outlook, manually pull down the OAB, or every 24 hours if Outlook is left running.

The CAS role pulls the OAB from the server it is generated on (a server with the Mailbox role). This pull happens on default interval of 8 hours. The OAB is generated by default, every night at 5am.

So let's say you add a group at 4pm today. That means first the OAB has to be generated with the new group at 5am. This could take a few hours depending on the size of your GAL. Let's say it takes 1 hour. The furthest point your client could see the updated OAB in Outlook would 8 hours after the OAB finishes generating. That would be 2PM the following day. So you should calculate the time updates should appear, and look for them in that time frame. If they don't show up long after that time frame, then troubleshoot.

You can change the polling interval for the CAS and the time the OAB is generated to control the timing.

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