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Exchange Unified Messaging – OVA not playing voicemails

I ran into an issue today where Exchange Unified Messaging’s Outlook Voice Access (OVA) feature was not playing old voice mails.  For example, when you dial into Outlook Voice Access, you will hear the following:

“You have no new voice messages and no new e-mail messages.  Please say voicemail, e-mail, etc….”  A tip here is that you can press 1 if you want OVA to revert to a touch tone (DTMF) interface.

So in our scenario, say “Voice Mail.”  OVA will say that you have no voice messages. Now here is where the problem is.  We definitely do have voice messages in our folders, but they are no longer in our Inbox.  For some users, it would play their voice mails just fine even if they weren’t in the Inbox, but for others, it would not. For the user’s that didn’t work, this is what our Voice Mail Search Folder displays.

If we Right-Click our Voice Mail Search Folder and Choose Customize this Search Folder, we may see the following:

If you were to click Browse, you would see the following:

The reason I say may, is because the “Mail from these folders will be included in this Search Folder” by default.  What I noticed was, is that when I looked at some mailboxes, they had it set to Inbox and when I looked at other, it had it set to the following which had no problems with OVA playing back the voice mails:

If you were to click Browse, you would see the following:

The key thing here, is that when you dial into OVA, it plays back your voicemails based on what the Search Folder displays.

The difference between the two, is that the checkmark was set at the Mailbox and search all subfolders, clicking on your Search Folder would find all voicemails throughout your entire mailbox.  But there’s a catch here though if your Voice Mail Search Folder utilizes the Inbox selected method for its search parameters instead of the checkmark being at the Mailbox level.

You may think to yourself, “This should work even if I only have Inbox selected and set it to search in all subfolders.”  After all, that would be a logical though since your subfolders are subfolders based off of the parent Inbox. That’s what I thought.  But it just wouldn’t work.  And it wasn’t just this one user, it was all the users who utilized the checkmark at the Inbox level even if it was set to search subfolders.  Another thing you may think to yourself is, “This should work then if I change deselect the Inbox and then choose the entire Mailbox and search in subfolders.”  This didn’t work either if you initially had a checkmark at the Inbox level instead of at the Mailbox level.  What I ended up realizing, is that I had to re-create the Voice Mail Search Folder completely for things to work properly.   It’s as if something was entirely wrong with the Voice Mail Search Folder.

The interesting thing here, is that none of these users customized this search folder but they were UM enabled at different times.  I’m thinking an Exchange patch modified the way the Search Folder parameters were configured. The reason why I think it’s an Exchange patch and not an Outlook patch, is because we saw this behavior the same with a mix of Outlook 2003 and Outlook 2007 clients.  Add in the fact the the way this Voice Mail Search Folder gets created, is when a user is UM enabled.

So onto re-creating our Voice Mail Search Folder…  During troubleshooting this, I discovered a bug that was confirmed with Microsoft which you should know when deleting Search Folders.  There is an Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010 bug that occurs when deleting Search Folders in Cached Mode.  So in order to get our Search Folders re-created as how they really should be, I set Outlook in Online mode, deleted the Search Folder, sent the user a new Voice Mail, and saw the Voice Mail folder get re-created.  The Search Folder was set to search the entire mailbox.  When I dialed into OVA, it would play all voice mails no matter where they were stored.  I then re-set Outlook back into Cached Mode.

Once this Voice Mail Search Folder was re-created, the search parameters were displayed as such:

Now if I look at my Voice Mail Search Folder, I successfully see my voice mails stored in my Saved Voicemails subfolder:

And because my Search Folder is finding my voice mails from subfolders, when I dialed into OVA, it successfully played back all those voice mails as well.

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