Monday 26 October 2009

How to make Snow Leopard REALLY work with Exchange

I was very excited when Apple released the Snow Leopard, also known as Mac OS X 10.6. The main benefit would be the native support of Microsoft Exchange in iCal, Address Book and And this is something I was complaining about for years.

So, I upgraded my computers as soon as I could, and I was initially quite surprised how easy it was to configure the applications to work with Exchange server. (Yes, we have Mictosoft Exchange 2007 over here).

But the very next moment some dire disappointments came:

  1. Push email doesn't work with Exchange account any more. If I want to be able to react to emails instantly, in a kind of IM way, I would have to poll the servers every minute or so. This clogs the network and puts extra workload on my workstation. And it is so archaic to poll your email in 2009.

  2. Every so often the message counter would show that I have some unread messages, while in fact I don't. White day glitch. I would have to go to "Mailbox ⟶ Rebuild" to reindex the account to get rid of this glitch. And it would happen again next day.

After suffering for a couple of weeks and hoping for a fix from Apple, I have found a workaround to make Snow Leopard work with Exchange almost the way I want it to work. The whole procedure is very simple and only takes 10 seconds more than usual setup. The only additional requirement is to have IMAP access enabled on your Exchange server. Ask your system administrator.

  1. Open and add your Exchange account just the way you normally would. This will add the Exchange account to your iCal and Address Book as well.

  2. Now, you have to remove the newly created Exchange account from This would still leave the accounts for iCal and Address Book.

  3. Create a new account in using "Exchange IMAP" account type instead. Sometimes this option is not available as detects your Exchange server and disables the choice. Just type a fake email address in the first screen to avoid that. Something like would do. Then select "Exchange IMAP" as an account type, and fill in all the appropriate options. Don't forget to change your email address to a normal form (from a fake one) once you have your account created.

Enjoy push email, proper counting of unread messages, and iCal support of Exchange calendars at the same time!

1 comment:

Norma said...

We use Intermedia’s hosted version of Exchange 2013 at work. It was an easy transition since they took care of the migration for us. It’s cool how it lets you be completely mobile. You can really work from any of your devices.