Exchange 2013, up-to-date, running on Server 2012 R2. All servers on the domain are 2012 R2 and domain/forest level is the same.

We have a nagging issue where details that are changed in Active Directory such as a users title are not being replicated to the address list entry in Exchange and we believe its because we have changed a lot of users aliases over the last couple years. We were using a partners ID scheme which was a 6 digit alpha numeric code such as IF2K3L. We now use a standard First Initial Last Name. The issue seems to be that any new user alias is fine. Any old user that has had their alias changed and even some that haven't are not updating their AD details.

I thought it might be a issue with the GAL so I forced a update using

Update-GlobalAddressList -Identity "Default Global Address List"

I waited 15 minutes then tried a "Download Address Book" within Outlook with the "Download changes" box unchecked. Checked a contact and no change. So I closed Outlook, manually deleted the OAB, started Outlook, downloaded it again fresh but again the changes weren't there.

Did some more searching online and a couple things said to check Outlook Web Access and see if the updates are in there. Checked OWA but the old information for title/phone/etc is in there also. The suggested fix for that was:

Update-OfflineAddressBook "Default Offline Address Book"

Ran that with no errors. Verified under "C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\V15\ClientAccess\OAB{GUID}" that everything updated with a new date/time, waited another 15 minutes, checked a contact in OWA again but still no change. Restarted the Mailbox Assistants service just in case. Still no change. Rebuild the GAL again and waited 15 minutes. Still no change.

So as a test I created a new domain user called "Test User" with a description of "Old Description", a title of "Old Title", a department of "Old Department", and a company of "Old Company". I created a mailbox for the user and forced a OAB/GAL update. I jumped into OWA and find the user, everything looks correct with "Old" in each field. I downloaded the GAL in Outlook and viewed the user. Outlook finds the user, all the fields have "Old" in the name. So OAB/GAL generation seem to be working just fine with the new user.

I then updated the user in AD to "New Title" and "New Company" leaving "Old Description" and "Old Department" there, waited 15 minutes, then forced the OAB/GAL updates again. Wait a bit then check the user in OWA. The user updated correctly. I then forced the GAL download in Outlook. Checked the user and it also updated correctly there.

I then went into EAC and looked at a old user whos alias was changed in AD. Sure enough under "alias" it had their old alias. So I updated that to their new alias. Waited 15 minutes, forced OAB/GAL again, and checked the user again. But it did not update. I manually update one of the fields through EAC and regenerate OAB/GAL. The changes correctly replicate. So I try the same with a "old" user whose alias hasn't changed but her changes also don't replicate. So now I'm really stumped.

What am I missing? How do I get Exchange and AD to sync user details again for these old users? On a related note is there a way to tell Exchange to update every ones "alias" to what is in AD so don't have to manually update 200 users?


If all users encounter the OAB update issue, are they distributed in the same database? Are the new user and old users in the same database? And are they using the default OAB or custom OABs?

Here are some troubleshooting steps and hope these may be helpful to you. 1. OAB generation: You should check OAB generation cycle check point, the OAB is generated every 8 hours on the Mailbox server by default in my exchange 2013. So you can run this command to check OAB generation cycle: Get-MailboxServer exchange201313 | fl oab

You run this command: Update-OfflineAddressBook to force update OAB and then open event viewer to see if Event 17001 and Event 17002 would be generated immediately.

  1. OAB distribution: Distributing OAB to clients depends on Internet Information Services (IIS) virtual directories and Autodiscover services. You need to check the URL in the OAB VD via the command below: Get-OabVirtualDirectory | fl name, URL and then test Email AutoConfiguration in Outlook and check if Autodiscover returns the correct OAB URL: //.

  2. OAB download: Outlook use BITS service to download OAB, make sure the BITS service stratup type is automatic, and restart this service.

More details for your reference. Troubleshooting OAB issues in Exchange 2013

  • How about your issue? – Joy Zhang Dec 17 '19 at 8:58
  • Sorry but this doesn't have much to do with my problem. I have no issues downloading the OAB as mentioned in my question. – Allan Dec 17 '19 at 15:34
  • Have you tried to move an old user to a new database for a test? Does this issue happen? – Joy Zhang Dec 26 '19 at 5:25

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