Please stop polluting my MacBook with Exchange

Please stop polluting my MacBook with Exchange

Summary: Just a few weeks ago I took possession of a shiny black MacBook, which was running like a dream till our IT folks insisted I join the corporate Microsoft Exchange domain and dump Thunderbird for Microsoft Entourage.Before Entourage was put on the system, it was fast, reliable and gave me exactly what I need from a laptop.


Just a few weeks ago I took possession of a shiny black MacBook, which was running like a dream till our IT folks insisted I join the corporate Microsoft Exchange domain and dump Thunderbird for Microsoft Entourage.

Before Entourage was put on the system, it was fast, reliable and gave me exactly what I need from a laptop.

Now, even the simple task of changing between e-mail folders takes up to 30 seconds, which is just crazy. I click on the folder and then ... nothing. No little multi-coloured spinning ball thing, no sign that the MacBook even acknowledged my click.

Then, when it feels quite ready, the folder will change. Obviously by the time it does, I have lost the will to live or moved on to something more interesting instead.

Colleagues have told me that it is not just Entourage that has this problem -- even those using Outlook have the same delay.

Another serious pain in the bum is that, after using Thunderbird for the past year or two, I had the junk e-mail rules and folder organisation set up to work pretty darn well. Now I find my inbox full of junk and I have to spend far too much time dragging good e-mails out of the junk folder -- after of course waiting, and waiting, and waiting for the application to simply open that folder.

It amazes me that I can edit and render videos with ease but reading e-mails is a nightmare.

Why the hell is this stuff called "productivity software"? It should be renamed head-banging, frustration-generating, time-wasting bloatware.


One of my friends has managed to set up his system to synchronise Mail and iCal with Entourage, which apparently works very well. I am going to give that a go and will update you on my progress real soon.

However, can anyone out there suggest a better alternative that is IT department-friendly, will help connect to the work Exchange system and leave me with a functional Mac?

Or am I asking too much?

Topics: Apple, Hardware, Microsoft, Operating Systems

Munir Kotadia

About Munir Kotadia

Munir first became involved with online publishing in 1998 when he joined ZDNet UK and later moved into print publishing as Chief Reporter for IT Week, part of ZDNet UK, a weekly trade newspaper targeted at Enterprise IT managers. He later moved back into online publishing as Senior News Reporter for ZDNet UK.

Munir was recognised as Australia's Best Technology Columnist at the 5th Annual Sun Microsystems IT Journalism Awards 2007. In the previous year he was named Best News Journalist at the Consensus IT Writers Awards.

He no longer uses his Commodore 64.

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  • There is a solution

    You need to talk to Jimmy 'The Hand'. He has Mail working natively and properly. Lord knows how he does it -- I think it is a mixture of voodoo and good luck
  • IMAP

    I have a similer situation @ work with my macbook pro. However we have IMAP emulation enabled on the exchange server so I just use IMAP to connect to the Exchange server with Mail, but it works like a dream.

    I absolutely loath Entourage, it's just so god damn awful! The only thing i haven't figured out yet (and to be honest I haven't spent more then 5mins looking into it) is if I can configure Address Book to hook into Active Directory, which I would love. I'm going to give Thunderbird a try @ a later date as well and see if I can hook it's address book into Active Directory. Obviously it has IMAP so that won't be a problem :-D Good Luck Munir!
  • Have you patched it?

    Without trying to teach anyone to suck eggs, have you run the Microsoft Autoupdate - this sounds like a problem (that has been around since the dawn of time) that M$ have finally fixed with a patch, just in time for Office 2008 to come out and make it (hopefully) irrelevant. Last bunch of updates fixed my MacBook Pro.
  • Why not just use OWA?

    I know that its slow, and its not the best but it would enable you to get Entourage off your Macbook.

    Outlook Web Access
  • black MacBook on Leopard?

    I wanted to know when Leopard comes out will it be available on the black MacBooks? or will the MacBook line be renewed in all white?
  • Exchange issues

    Since being forced to move from an SMTP server setup with Eudora on Windows XP, I've been very disappointed in the slow performance of the exchange server and that's even when running the standard MS email client, Outlook (don't get me started on Outlook, it's the most badly written email client I've ever had the misfortune to use).

    Basically everything is slow, sending/recieving, navigating mailboxes, moving mail, applying rules/filters. I just can't believe the decrease in functionality. All this, ostensibly for "integrated mail and calendaring" which most of our staff haven't even learnt how to use yet... Moving to outlook/exchange is a huge step backwards.
  • yeah...

    Since when does 'MS' and 'fast' exist in the same sentence.... ??
  • MS and fast

    As in MS will embrace, extend and extinguish something for break"fast"
  • Same here

    I would have to agree with Tony. Due to company pressures, I have moved to Outlook from Thunderbird, and am very disappointed. I reckon I spend 40% of my screen viewing time now waiting for something to happen.
  • What's your Exchange connection?

    Entourage and Exchange can work decently together without the sluggishness you're seeing. Are you using a backend server address for your Exchange address or are you using your external OWA address. While internal, don't use an external OWA address. You're leaving the network, going through some firewalls, proxies, etc.
  • OWA is your friend

    I also recommend using OWA.

    I configured my Mac for Active Directory which worked fine but had trouble with Entourage and the certificate that I needed to install. This is possibly the age of Entourage and compatability with Exchange 2007. I generated the certifiate from IIS and loaded it on the Mac I still had authorisation errors.

    I found some of the older versions of Outlook have problems with Exchange 2007 if the connection was over a VPN.

    So make sure all the applications are the latest versions and you have patched everything to current levels or expect problems.
  • I agree, use OWA

    I agree with anonymous #1 and anonymous # 2, just use Outlook Web Access. OWA is pretty feature rich on the latest release. Make the Server do the hard work, rather than your PC (the client). If your user experience is shared by your peers then it sounds like your IT dept have bigger fish to fry (no disrespect). I've been involved in some fairly hardcore Exchange Performance improvement exercises before and I can say from experience there is never a single silver bullet. Bearing that in mind I have seen huge implementations of Exchange absolutely hum. So I don't know if this problem is restricted to Entourage users or you've discovered many other users with the same plight. It's quite scary how reliant on email we are these days. So the productivity app is a double edged sword (re productivity) when it's not up to par. Good luck Munir.
  • OWA - on a mac?

    I wouldn't recommend OWA on a MAC. Have you ever tried to delete emails? You have to check one at a time to delete .
  • Latest release of OWA for Exchange is feature rich

    Latest Anonymous. Perhaps you're right with an older version of OWA (I think it used check boxes to the left of each message from memory) but I'm talking about the latest release. Deleting multiple messages at a time should be a breeze. Refer to the bottom of page 4 of this PDF.

  • Answers

    "However, can anyone out there suggest a better alternative that is IT department-friendly, will help connect to the work Exchange system and leave me with a functional Mac?"

    Doesn't exist. The IT guys are brainwashed MCSEs.

    "Or am I asking too much?"

    Sorry, but yes.
  • And this relates to security how?

    Like so many other ZDNet blogs this one is just a joke. What the f* has this little rant about connecting a MacBook to Exchange got to do with frigging security??? Only your 'Full Duplex' blog actually bothers to make itself relevant and address the topic, this one (like 'Snorage') is just a p*ss-weak piece.
  • Entourage

    In our (winblows) organization we have to use cached exchange mode in order to get any kind of performance out of our remote locations using Outlook 200*. Look into it for Entourage if you can't hook Mail or Thunderbird up to it and you can't use Outlook Web Access.

    If you can't use OWA, then ask the IT Manager where'd they get the gimp who can't/won't turn on OWA. It's great stuff.
  • Simple Solution

    They should fire you. Everyone wins. You don't have to use Entourage anymore and they can get a writer who knows something about technology.
  • mac

    if you want to stick with toy macs
    wear the consequences.
  • A First

    Quote... "I also leave the machine running for weeks between reboots and there are no memory leaks or other quibbles"

    There is a first for everything, sadly I think this person is either lying to himself or has got so use to the shortcomings of the OS they do not notice then as defects.

    Oh and the reason these people whine is because they go from a responsive system that works to somthing that feels like it is stuck in the early 90's, but then the code proberbly is.