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Outlook Help Desk 3.0 FAQs & Documentation

OUTLOOK 2003 USERS
You will need the latest version (3.4) of Redemption.dll. If you upgrade to Outlook 2003, please be sure to download and install the latest Redemption.dll to avoid errors.

General Information

Overview of how Outlook Help Desk works

What the Help Desk folder structure should look like

Setting Help Desk folder permissions

Automatic Notification when a new Help Desk Ticket is entered

Launching a new Help Desk ticket from button on Outlook toolbar

Outlook 2002/2003 and the security patch

Outlook 97 Limitations

When a ticket is assigned, can the message to technician be sent to a pager?

Web & Email interfaces

Web-based Outlook Help Desk

Email to Outlook Help Desk creates Help Desk Ticket

Issues

"MAPI Session not created" or "CDO not installed" when pressing Assign button

Clearing the forms cache and forms cache issues

'RecurseFolder' error when using Web pages

Opening Help Desk Tickets from an Intranet page link

Using Custom Forms with Terminal Server or Citrix

Link to ticket in Assigned Message does not work

How do I contact support?

How does Outlook Help Desk work?

An end user goes to the Help Desk folder in the Exchange Public Folders and creates a Help Desk Ticket. They can also use a Web browser to create the ticket or just send email to the Help Desk folder. Whatever way, the ticket gets created in the Help Desk folder and then the Help Desk staff reviews the Tickets and assigns it to one or more Technicians. Once assigned, the Technician gets an email and the Ticket is moved to the Assigned Help Desk Ticket folder.

In the Assigned Help Desk Ticket folder, the Technician enters information on the progress and time spend on each ticket. Users can view the Ticket and see the status. Updates can also be sent from the Ticket to the user. When done, the Technician marks the Ticket as completed. An email is sent to the user saying the Ticket has been resolved. (A Ticket can be re-opened if it was closed mistakenly.)

Several utilities, a report generator, a knowledge base and other features fill out the basic program to provide a simple,  robust and effective help desk.

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Automatic Notification when a new Help Desk Ticket is entered

Automatic Notifications allows you to designate email addresses that will receive notification every time a new Help Desk ticket is created in the Help Desk folder. The message can be sent to any pager or cell phone that accepts email. This significantly improves your response time and effectiveness.

The “Choose from GAL” buttons allow you to choose names from the Global Address List rather than type them in. The “Send Test Message” button is used to see if the names can be resolved. Ambiguous or non-resolvable names will prevent the message from being sent. Also, the notification is not sent to the person filling out the ticket if his or her name or address is in the list. Presumably, the person knows there is a new ticket in the Help Desk folder and does not need a notification.

New in 3.0: Automatic Notifications allows you to set a separate address for tickets marked Emergency or High Importance. This allows you to respond quickly to critical issues.

How users can mark an item “High Importance”:

A.  Outlook form – the end user page of a new Help Desk Ticket has an “Emergency or High Importance” check box

B.  Web form – the web form has an “Emergency or High Importance” check box

C.  Email to Help Desk – an email can be marked high or low importance

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What should the folder structure look like?

The Help Desk folders can sit anywhere under the Public Folders as long as they retain the structure below:

(NOTE: If you are using the Web files, see these remarks below.)

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How should the folder permissions be set?

Set permissions for the folders as follows:

Help Desk 
    Default = Author
    Help Desk or IT staff = Publishing Editor (or Owner)

Assigned Help Desk Tickets, Knowledge Base, and Reports
    Default = Reviewer
    Help Desk or IT staff = Publishing Editor (or Owner)

 Utilities
    Default = Reviewer
    Help Desk or IT staff = Publishing Editor (or Owner)
    People assigning tickets (if other than Help Desk staff) = Read Items, Folder Visible, Edit items (All) and Delete items (None)

NOTE: Version 2.4.2 eliminated the Numbering folder that was under Utilities. If you are using an earlier version than 2.4.2, the permissions on the Numbering folder are as follows:

Numbering

    Default = Custom -- Folder Visible, Read, and Edit All

    Help Desk or IT staff = Publishing Editor (or Owner)

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Web-based Outlook Help Desk

For Your Users

Outlook Help Desk includes a web-based version that allows your users to submit and view Help Desk tickets. A set of files that we provide is installed on your OWA server in a "helpdesk" directory under Inetpub/wwwroot. A Virtual Directory is set in IIS to point to this "helpdesk" directory. Users can then enter http://yourOWAservername/helpdesk in a browser to bring up the web-based version. The users need to login, then are presented with a page where they can choose to submit a new ticket or view existing tickets. This allows users to enter and view tickets without using Outlook client. The Web files are provided with purchase of the full release version.

For Your Customers

Another option is to put a Web form on a “Support Page” on your Web site. This would be geared towards external customers, though of course your users could fill it out also. People fill out this support form and press a Send button. The Web form is sent as an email to the Help Desk folder where it is converted into a new ticket. Since this does not require a login, it can be available to anyone who can access your web server.

See User Manual_30_Web

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Email to Outlook Help Desk creates Ticket

With Outlook Help Desk, users can send email to the Help Desk and this email will be converted into a Help Desk ticket. In Exchange 5.5, this is done with the Microsoft Exchange Event Service and a VB script added in the Agents tab on the Help Desk folder. In Exchange 2000 and 2003, we provide a DLL that uses Web Storage System Event Sinks to convert the emails. This DLL is added as a COM+ Component and registered on the Help Desk folder. The VB script or DLL is provided with the purchase of the full release version.

For Exchange 5.5: User Manual_30_Email55

For Exchange 2000/2003: User Manual_30_Email2K

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"MAPI Session not created" or "CDO not installed" when pressing Assign button

The Help Desk or IT staff members who assign tickets from the Help Desk folder need to have Collaboration Data Objects (CDO) or Redemption.DLL installed in Outlook. CDO is not installed by default, but can be easily added to Outlook by running Outlook setup again, selecting "Add or Remove Features", then setting Collaboration Data Objects to "Run from My Computer". Redemption.DLL is provided free with purchase of the full release version. Redemption comes with a simple install program.

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When a ticket is assigned, can the message to technician be sent to a pager?

Yes, if the pager has an email address. If the pager's email address is in your address book, you can choose this address when you press the "Assign" button in the Help Desk Ticket. Alternatively, you can assign the Ticket to a technician and then add the pager address to the TO or CC line when the message to the technician comes up.

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Launching a new Help Desk ticket from a button on the Outlook Toolbar

A new Help Desk Ticket can be opened from a button on a toolbar in Outlook. No need to navigate to the Help Desk Ticket folder to open a new Ticket! We provide an Outlook COM Addin that installs a "New Help Desk Ticket" button. This COM Add-in comes with a Setup.exe that can easily be run on each client that needs the toolbar button. Please contact us for more information on this.

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Clearing the forms cache and forms cache issues

Outlook forms that have been opened are cached by the Outlook client on the local hard drive. When a form is opened, Outlook will look for a cached copy. This can present problems when the form has been changed or updated. The old form reappears from the cache and prevents the new one from being viewed.

The cache should be in Documents and Settings\%username%\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Forms. The "Local Settings" folder is a hidden folder. If it is not visible, you must go to Tools/Folder Options.../View and choose "Show Hidden Files and Folders"..

To clear the cache, close Outlook, then delete the Frmcache.dat file and all subdirectories and other files in this Forms folder. This is the same place in Outlook 2000, 2002/XP and 2003. When you start Outlook again, it will recreate the frmcache.dat once you try to access a custom form...

Note that if you do a search for frmcache.dat: If you are searching in Win XP or 2000 with the new style search, you have to select the advanced search option "Search hidden files and folders". The frmcache.dat file is in a hidden folder...

Also, you can go to Tools/Options/Other/Advanced Options/Custom Forms/Manage Forms, and there should be a Clear Cache button there. This button is in Outlook 2002 and 2003. Some later versions of Outlook 2000 also had this button, but it did not work right until Outlook 2000 SP3.

All in all, deleting the files and subdirectories directly from the Forms folder, as described above, seems to work better.

Microsoft has a number of Q articles addressing this issue:

    Q195754: How to Clear the Outlook Forms Cache (Outlook 2000 & 2002)

    Q181057: How to Clear the Outlook 98 Forms Cache

    Q171372: How to Clear the Outlook 97 forms cache

    Q232303: How the Forms Cache Works    

    Q232314: How to Troubleshoot the Outlook Forms Cache

    Q324130: Outlook 2000: The 'Clear Cache' Button Does Not Clear the Forms Cache

OUTLOOK 2003 FORMS CACHE ISSUE:

Some users are reporting issues with using custom Outlook forms on Outlook 2003. The form cache gets corrupted, then it needs to be cleared. Microsoft has issued Office 2003 SP1 and this should help correct most custom Outlook form cache issues. Please download and install this Service Pack if encountering forms issues with Outlook Help Desk on Outlook 2003.

Download: Office 2003 SP1

For users who do not want or are unable to download Office 2003 SP1, a workaround is to use the ForceFormReload registry key:

ForceFormReload registry key:

When the forms cache seems to cause problems sporadically, and you cannot determine the cause of the problem, you can to set the ForceFormReload registry key in Outlook. When the ForceFormReload registry key is enabled, and Outlook encounters an error when opening an item that is based on a custom form, Outlook automatically clears the cache for this specific form. Then, Outlook tries to open the item again. While this method does not correct the cause of the forms cache problem, this method does make the problem transparent to people who use custom forms.

To enable the ForceFormReload registry key functionality, follow these steps:

  1. Start Registry Editor.
  2. Click the following key in the registry:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Outlook
  3. On the Edit menu, click Add Value, and then add the following registry value:
    Value name ForceFormReload
    Data type REG_DWORD
    Value data 1
  4. Quit Registry Editor.

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Outlook 2002/2003 and the security patch

Outlook Help Desk 3.0 works on all versions of Outlook. However, Outlook 2002 and 2003, as well as versions of Outlook 98 and 2000 with Microsoft’s security patch installed, will generate a security warning when programs try to access the address book. (See this chart for list of secure versions.) 

We have programmed Outlook Help Desk to avoid generating this warning through the use of Redemption.dll. Secure versions of Outlook will not raise the security warning after this DLL is installed. If they do not have Redemption.dll installed, Outlook Help Desk will continue to function properly, but users will encounter the security warning box.

We provide Redemption.dll free of charge with the purchase of Outlook Help Desk. Redemption.dll takes only a few seconds to install. The DLL can also be installed through a login batch file.

NOTE FOR OUTLOOK 2003 USERS: You will need the latest version (3.4) of Redemption.dll. If you upgrade to Outlook 2003, please be sure to download and install the latest Redemption.dll to avoid errors.

Redemption.dll (also known as Outlook Redemption) is a third-party COM object that uses Extended MAPI to provide secure access to Outlook and Exchange. More information on Outlook Redemption is available at http://www.dimastr.com/redemption/

For more general information on the Outlook 2002 security issue, see http://www.slipstick.com/outlook/esecup.htm#autosec

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Outlook 97 Limitations

Users with Outlook 97 can submit tickets in Outlook Help Desk. However, they cannot view Assigned Help Desk Tickets in Outlook 97. They can use the Web forms to view Assigned tickets. Technicians and help desk staff need Outlook 98 or higher to work with the Assigned tickets, as they need to do more than just view the tickets.

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Opening Help Desk Tickets from an Intranet page link

Help Desk Tickets can be opened from a Web page. Since this launches an Outlook form, not an HTML form, the user needs to have Outlook installed locally with a profile that connects to the Exchange server. This solution works best on an intranet when you want to put a hyperlink to the Help Desk.

Click here to view sample HTML code to set this up. The sample code shows how to set up a button on a Web page that will open a Help Desk Ticket. This code can be adapted for your needs. Note that you will need to have the correct path to the Help Desk folder in the code.

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Using Custom Forms with Terminal Server or Citrix

There are some minor issues when running custom Outlook forms over Terminal Server and when using Citrix. These are easily remedied. Please see these Q articles from Microsoft: Q249965 and Q302003. Microsoft has more information at their support site. Do a search for "terminal server forms" under Outlook.

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Link to ticket in Assigned Message does not work

Versions of Outlook with the Outlook Email Security Update do not allow users to open shortcuts in email messages. Outlook Help Desk places a shortcut to an Assigned Help Desk Ticket in the message that is sent out when the ticket is assigned. This shortcut has a "LNK" extension and is blocked as a Level 1 attachment. The link is visible in the message, but does not open when clicked. This is a security precaution instituted by the Update.

Use the following chart to determine if the Outlook client has the Security Update installed (go to Help/About Microsoft Outlook to view version number):

Outlook 97 Not applicable, since the security update is not available for Outlook 97
Outlook 98 Version 8.5.7806 and later
Outlook 2000 Version 9.0.0.4201 and later
Outlook 2002 All versions (10.0.x.x)
Outlook 2003 All versions (11.0.x.x)

Sue Mosher provides a very thorough explanation of this issue at http://www.slipstick.com/outlook/esecup.htm.

By configuring certain customizations, the "LNK" shortcut can be used on Outlook clients with the Security Update. Here is how (The information and links below are from www.slipstick.com. Thank you to Sue Mosher.):

"Microsoft has provided two ways to customize the security settings:

If these measures cannot be taken for whatever reason, the technicians will need to ignore the shortcut link in the Assigned message and access the Assigned Help Desk Ticket directly in the Assigned Help Desk Tickets folder.

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'RecurseFolder' error when using Web pages

Error Type:
Microsoft VBScript runtime (0x800A01A8)
Object required: 'recursefolder'
/helpdesk/default.asp, line 48

The Web page error 'recursefolder' comes from the Help Desk folder not being right under "All Public Folders". This is easily fixed in the default.asp in a section near the top (we can do this for you for no charge or you can do it by opening default.asp file in Notepad). A leading apostrophe (') on a line means the line is ignored when the code is processed:

****Default.asp now says this****

Set myrootfolder = objOMSession.GetFolder(bstrPublicRootID, objInfoStore.ID)

'Now get the folders collection below the root
Set myfoldercollect = myrootfolder.Folders
Set recursefolder = myfoldercollect.GetFirst()

'Recurse it until we get the folder we are looking for
While recursefolder.Name <> "Help Desk"
Set recursefolder = myfoldercollect.GetNext()
Wend
****************************************

****Replace the above lines with these ****

Set myrootfolder = objOMSession.GetFolder(bstrPublicRootID, objInfoStore.ID)

Set recursefolder = myrootfolder.Folders("xxxxx").Folders("xxxx").Folders("Help Desk")

  

***************************************************

Three important points:

1. Set the folder path in the line below by replacing the xxx with the real folder names. The first Folders("xxx") must be the folder right under "All Public Folders". The next Folders("xxx") is a sub-folder under the first one, etc. Use only as many Folders("xxx") as you need to get to the Help Desk location. Make sure the folder names are spelled exactly as they are in the Public Folder tree.

       Set recursefolder = myrootfolder.Folders("xxx").Folders("xxx").Folders("Help Desk") 

2. This line is not needed and must be removed or remmed out:   

       Set myfoldercollect = myrootfolder.Folders

3. The lines below are not needed and must be removed or remmed out:

'Recurse it until we get the folder we are looking for 
 While recursefolder.Name <> "Help Desk"
 Set recursefolder = myfoldercollect.GetNext()
 Wend

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How do I contact support?

Send email to support@crowcanyon.com

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