If a user tries to schedule a meeting in the "far" future, where ""far" future" seems to mean "seven or more weeks into the future", no existing meetings show up, and resources (at least) frequently (if not always) show up with the white-with-black-hatching "No Information" indicator in the meeting creation window, but shows up fine if you look at the actual calendar from the main Outlook window.

Is this expected behavior? If so, is there any way to extend how far out Exchange/Outlook will look?

Okay, many people are saying that this is controlled by Outlook, or that it's a function of Outlook. My specific problem is that I have a conference room as a resource that automatically accepts meetings, and it has very limited future data. No one ever logs in as that user (except for debugging).

So is it that Outlook controls Exchange's free/busy publication span, or does Outlook actually calculate free/busy time and upload that data to the Exchange server? If it's the former, I should be able to log in as those users and set the Free/Busy span once and have it be fine. If the latter, I'd have to log in as those resource users every once in a while to update that data. Which would raise the question of how Exchange has even a few weeks of such data considering no one has logged into those accounts for many months. Regardless, if it's the latter, is there a known way to automate updating the data?


The default is to publish free/busy data for something like 1 month into the future. You just need to change the settings in Outlook. It's easiest to accomplish with a GPO if you're in an AD setup.

Outlook controls the publication of the free/busy data. If you have a resource, you can either login with Outlook to the resource (use an Admin account, make a profile for the resource, then login to that profile); or set a GPO and that will effect the whole domain, resources included (no Outlook login necessary for resources).

  • Please see info added to question. – wfaulk Apr 14 '10 at 14:45
  • Please see edit added to answer. – Chris S Apr 14 '10 at 22:14

Publishing Free\Busy data is a function of Outlook, not Exchange. In both Outlook 2003 and 2007 the default is 2 months.

  • Please see info added to question. – wfaulk Apr 14 '10 at 14:48
  • 1
    In response to your edit: It's both in a sense, Outlook controls Exchange's free\busy publication span for the mailbox in question by calculating free\busy time based on Outlook's Free\Busy options settings. As Chris S stated, you can set these options via GPO, so if you set it to the time span desired, then log in to the mailbox one time via Outlook, it should then set it for that mailbox. – joeqwerty Apr 14 '10 at 15:27
  • I guess I wouldn't interpret that as Outlook's function, but, rather, Exchange's function, which is configured using Outlook (or a GPO). It also looks like that option is not available via OWA. Why would it? That would be easier. – wfaulk Apr 14 '10 at 20:50
  • The Free\Busy data is stored on the Exchange server, and Exchange facilitates the publication and storage of said data, but the "act" of publishing the data is the function of Outlook, hence why the GPO setting is an Outlook setting, not an Exchange setting. – joeqwerty Apr 14 '10 at 22:26
  • If that's the case, and I never run Outlook once I change that setting, does that mean it will never be updated again? That is, assume that I changed the setting to 24 months. Two years' worth of Free/Busy data shows up. Now wait 12 months, and look again. Is there only one year's worth of data left? If so, how did these accounts show Free/Busy data for tomorrow when no one had run Outlook under those accounts in months, if not years? – wfaulk Apr 16 '10 at 15:15

This is normally an Outlook setting, rather than Exchange, it's to do with how much free/busy information each user publishes to the server. You don't mention which version of Outlook you're using, so I'll take a couple of guesses.

Outlook 2003 or 2007, go to Tools -> Options -> Calendar Options (button) -> Free/Busy Options (button), you should now see the "Publish [x] months of of Calendar free/busy information on the server". (it's set to 6 months by default at my company)

When you're deploying Office (or creating a corporate install package) this is one of the settings you cans set in the Office custom install wizard/customization tool (2003 CIW, 2007 OCT).

  • Please see info added to question. – wfaulk Apr 14 '10 at 14:45

It also looks like if there are no scheduled meetings "nearby" that Outlook also shows "No Information". I guess Outlook and/or Exchange don't really publish "Free/Busy" information, but just "Busy" information, so that there's no difference between "Free for a long time" and "No Information".

Anyway, I scheduled a weekly meeting at 4AM on Sundays and that seems to have resolved that problem as well.

  • Sounds like a possible reason. I wonder if what you are seeing is an effect of it knowing the LAST entry in the busy info. Maybe if you set a far future meeting for 4 am on 1/1/2011 it would have the same effect as your recurring meeting. I'm intrigued now, and want to go test! – AdamV Jun 2 '10 at 9:20
  • Well, it didn't help forever. Maybe I should try setting up a single far-future meeting. – wfaulk Jun 14 '10 at 18:01

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