Configure "Instant Mail" once (and keep the name!)

Instant Mail is a feature of RES PowerFuse to configure a mail profile based on a template. This feature is more than welcome after the work-around Microsoft gave us with the PRF files. Instant Mail has been around since the early versions of PowerFuse and was known as Instant MAPI (because a mail profile is actually a MAPI profile) but with the release of PowerFuse 2010 they will rename it to ‘Mail templates’.

Renaming happens everywhere
As you might have noticed renaming happens everywhere. Citrix, for instance, is known for it’s many different product names which change sooner then the season. They even made a special site about the different names, acronyms and terminology! But that’s a bit off-topic.

Once upon a time there was an Instant Mail profile
Recently I ran into a situation where a Instant Mail profile was configured with the additional option ‘Once’. This option is set so that the profile is set once (duh!) and that changes afterwards are saved. These changes might include opening additional mailboxes or setting a signature.
This all works fine and I have been using it in many deployments.

Renaming the profile
However, somethings strange happend when a customer changes the name of the Instant Mail profile. After the profile has renamed all users lost there settings in Outlook.
The expectation of both the client as RES was that the GUID was changed (I guess RES expected the user create a new profile…). This would mess up the system of the ‘once’ feature because they rely on a file with the GUID in the filename.

After some research this wasn’t the case. After renaming the Mail Profile the GUID remained the same, as expected, and the ‘.once’ file was still valid. However, after launching Microsoft Outlook, with the Instant Mail profile attached, a new mail profile was created and the old one remains in the profile.

In the registry this would look like this:
Key : HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersionWindows Messaging SubsystemProfilesDefault User Profile
Type : REG_SZ
Value : "New Name"

Key : HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersionWindows Messaging SubsystemProfilesOld Name*
Type : Key
Value : *

Key : HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersionWindows Messaging SubsystemProfilesNew Name
Type : Key
Value : *
So what PowerFuse does in the background, is first checking whether the mail profile actually exists and then checking if the ‘.once’ file is present. Altough this is a valid choice (it would prevent an inconsistent behaviour after deleting a / or corrupt profile), it creates a new and unexpected behaviour.

The solution to this challenge, if you really want to rename an Instant Mail profile, is to create a custom script that renames the correct registry values (The subkey in the Windows Messaging Subsystem – profile) before Instant Mail is launched.
This can be achieved by creating a logon script, which is run for each user, of by creating a script which is run once for all users.

My advice would be to keep the name (does a user see the name of a MAPI profile?) . So during the design fase try to create a good name which doesn’t change after the company renames, merges or whatever. And if you really have to change the name, be carefull and think about the consequences (and this article).

Ingmar Verheij