Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Outlook Web Access does not open some messages

Outlook Web Access may have problems opening some messages. The commonality is usually that the message has a period at the end of the subject line, but it may also have other special characters in the subject line.

This problem is probably because the URLScan.DLL has been installed on the IIS Server. The URLSCAN.DLL feature was designed to help prevent directory traversal by a hostile intruder. Character sequences that are blocked include two periods ("..").

For more information on URL Scan, see KB 823175: Fine-tuning and known issues when you use the Urlscan utility in an Exchange 2003 environment If you have installed the IIS Lockdown tool on an Exchange 2000 / Windows 2000 server, then URLScan gets installed automatically.

You can allow certain URL sequences by editing the \%windir%\system32\inetsrv\urlscan\urlscan.ini file. Below is an example of the section of

.. ; Do not permit directory traversals.
./ ; Do not permit trailing dot on a directory name.
\ ; Do not permit backslashes in URL.
% ; Do not permit escaping after normalization.
& ; Do not permit multiple Common Gateway Interface processes to run on a single request.

You can comment out the character sequences that you want to allow. In order for a message with a period at the end of subject line to be opened, you must comment out the ".." line.


At 1:45 PM, Blogger panks said...

I am having this problem. My subject line has ..

Is there a way to work around this at the client end to display the email message

At 3:42 AM, Blogger HoTWiReZ said...

Very nice post. I had been having this problem for the past year or so, and couldn't think of the reason (I was focusing on it being an Exchange problem).

Although my problem was not the same, it was similar. There was a rule in my ISAPI rewrite module that caused URLs containing any ".." to be rejected with a 403. I updated the rule and now all is well.


At 3:36 AM, Blogger Alex said...

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