IT News

Solving complex problems: Root Cause update for May/June 2014

The Root Cause team in IT is tasked with finding the causes of significant IT issues that affect campus. In this news update we draw your attention to some of the problems being investigated or issues handled recently.

Outlook Email/Calendaring – An email ‘TIGER’ team investigated the issues reported occurring from the email system upgrade performed at the end of 2013.  Several issues were linked to external system updates which have been addressed or were due to the network bandwidth (congestion) issues caused by the number of faculty, staff and students utilizing the network.  Actions are being taken to address and increase the amount of network bandwidth over the summer in preparation for the fall semester. Other issues addressed include:

  1. Outlook continues to prompt for password.  Windows 7 contains the ‘credential manager’ feature (similar to the KeyChain feature used by Apple OS X) which was not utilized by the previous mail server structure.  The server upgrade performed at the end of December takes advantage of this feature.  If previously used by the client, credential manager will ask for the password to be updated anytime the password is changed.  Please call the IT Help Desk at 227-7487 for assistance in updating or clearing out the credential manager information on your computer system if you continue to be prompted for your password.  Additional information concerning credential manager can be found by visiting http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/what-is-credential-manager
  2. Slowness in loading Outlook. Microsoft Outlook contains a ‘cached exchange mode’ feature that allows you to keep a copy of recent mail messages and calendar events on the computer in case of limited or no network connectivity.  As with the credential manager feature above this feature was not fully utilized by the previous mail server structure.   This feature is  set by default when a new Outlook account is set up on a computer workstation.  However, this feature may be inactive on accounts set up on computer workstations performed before late December.  Additional information on cached exchange mode or how to verify activation can be found by visiting the following links:What is cached exchange? How can I check to see if it is activated or turn it on?
  3. Various calendar events or recurring appointments are not updating correctly.Investigating the issues reported under this heading lead the team to discover confusion with the different type of events available for use within Outlook and their use. This was even evident within the investigative team.  The team reviewed various documents published around the web in order to create an Outlook Calendar Best Practices document. Not all of the practices listed in the document are adoptable due to departmental and organizational structures as well as the use of various computer platforms and operating systems.  However, the document will assist in educating individuals to the different type of events, their appropriate use and handling which will assist in preventing the issues reported.

Please contact the IT Help Desk at 227-7487 to report any issues you are having with Outlook or if you have any questions concerning the information listed above.  You may also visit IT’s self-service website at help.wcu.edu to open a ticket for assistance.

May 22-June 26 Global Problems: (Total 17) Email & Collaboration Tools: 3 Network, Internet & Phone Services: 7 Servers & Storage: 3 Services & Support: 2 Web: 2

The Division of IT is committed to adopting a proactive, process-oriented approach to prevent problems before they arise. We will continue to keep you informed on our progress.