Connecting Outlook to Your Server from a Remote Location

Connecting Outlook to Your Server from a Remote Location

Wherever you are in the world, if you can connect to the Internet, you can probably work in Outlook from a remote location without much extra effort. In this context, remote doesn't mean far away; it means not directly connected.


The process of connecting your computer to your local area network (LAN) or to the Internet is beyond the scope of this book, but you can read all about it in the Step by Step book for the version of Windows running on your computer.

After establishing your connection to the Internet, if you use Outlook to connect to a POP3, IMAP, or HTTP account, you will immediately have access to those resources from wherever you are. If you use Outlook to connect to an Exchange Server account, your options vary depending on the version of Exchange Server your organization is running, and the types of connections allowed. In this topic, we discuss the three most convenient methods.

Connecting over HTTP

Within a network domain, Outlook communicates with your organization's Exchange server by using remote procedure calls (RPC). If your organization is running Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 or later on Microsoft Windows Server 2003, your Exchange administrator can configure the server to permit connections by using the RPC communication path. You can then connect from Outlook to your Exchange account over the Internet by using the Outlook Anywhere feature (formerly called simply RPC over HTTP). No special connection is required. This is by far the simplest method of remotely accessing Exchange resources.

In this exercise, you will configure Outlook to connect to an Exchange account by using Outlook Anywhere. There are no practice files for this exercise.

BE SURE TO start Outlook and connect your computer to the Internet, but not to your organization's network, before beginning this exercise.

  1. On the Tools menu, click Account Settings.

    The Account Settings dialog box opens, showing the configured e-mail accounts.

  2. On the E-mail tab of the Account Settings dialog box, in the Name list, click your Microsoft Exchange account, and then click Change.

    The Change E-Mail Account dialog box opens, showing the account settings for the Exchange account.

  3. In the Change E-mail Account dialog box, click More Settings.

    The Microsoft Exchange dialog box opens.

  4. In the Microsoft Exchange dialog box, click the Connection tab.

  5. In the Outlook Anywhere area, select the Connect to Microsoft Exchange using HTTP check box.

    Image from book
  6. Click the Exchange Proxy Settings button that becomes active.

    The Microsoft Exchange Proxy Settings dialog box opens, with options for connecting to Exchange over the Internet.

    Image from book
  7. In the Connection settings area, type your organization's secure Exchange proxy address in the https:// box.

    You can choose to have Outlook connect first through Outlook Anywhere and then once established, transfer the connection to TCP/IP, by selecting either or both of the check boxes at the bottom of the Connection Settings area. Your specific organization might require an authentication method other than the default; check with your network administrator.

  8. In the Microsoft Exchange Proxy Settings dialog box, click OK.

  9. In the Microsoft Exchange dialog box, click OK. Then in the message box that appears, click OK to acknowledge that the change will not take effect until you restart Outlook.

  10. In the Change E-mail Account dialog box, click Next, and then click Finish.

  11. Close the Account Settings dialog box, and then quit and restart Outlook.

    Outlook attempts to connect to your Exchange server, and when it doesn't find a domain connection, switches to Outlook Anywhere. When Outlook Anywhere makes contact with the proxy server, Outlook prompts you to supply your credentials.

  12. In the Connect to dialog box, enter your user name and password, and then click OK.

    Outlook connects to your Exchange account.

BE SURE TO repeat the exercise and turn off Outlook Anywhere if you don't want to use it.

Connecting Through a VPN

A virtual private network (VPN) is, as the name implies, an extension of a network domain through which authorized users can connect securely to network resources. After connecting through a VPN to your network, you have access to all network resources, including servers and printers, and can connect directly to Outlook exactly as you would when sitting in the office with your computer connected to the LAN. Your organization might require that you use a special authentication method, such as a smart card or token, to prove your identity in order to maintain network security.

To support VPN connections to your network, the network administrator must set up a VPN server. Information traveling between your remote computer and the network over the Internet passes through the VPN server.

The process of setting up a VPN connection is relatively simple, but varies depending on the operating system your computer is running.

To set up a VPN connection from a computer running Windows Vista:

  1. Click the Start button. Then in the right pane of the Start menu, click Connect To.

    The Connect To A Network dialog box opens.

  2. Click Set up a connection or network.

  3. Scroll the Choose a connection option list, click Connect to a workplace, and then click Next.

  4. Under Do you want to use a connection that you already have?, select No, create a new connection, and then click Next.

  5. Under How do you want to connect?, click Use my Internet connection (VPN) option.

  6. Under Type the Internet address to connect to, type the Internet address you want to connect to in the Internet address box. In the Destination name box, type a name for the VPN connection, select any options that you want, and then click Next.

  7. Under Type your user name and password, type your user name and password (the domain name is optional), and then click Connect.

To disconnect from a VPN connection on a computer running Windows Vista:

  • Right-click the connection icon, point to Disconnect from, and then click the VPN connection name.

To set up a VPN connection from a computer running Windows XP:

  1. Display the Start menu.

  2. If the Connect To menu appears on the right side, click Connect To, and then click Show all connections. Otherwise, open Control Panel, switch to Classic view if necessary, and then open Network and Internet Connections.

  3. In the Network Connections window, on the Network Tasks menu, click Create a new connection.

  4. On the first page of the New Connection wizard, click Next.

  5. On the Network Connection Type page, select the Connect to the network at my workplace option, and then click Next.

  6. On the Network Connection page, select the Virtual Private Network connection option, and then click Next.

  7. In the Company Name box, type a name by which you will identify the connection (for example, Wingtip Toys). Then click Next.

  8. If the wizard displays the Public Network page, select the Do not dial the initial connection option to indicate that you will always connect to the Internet before starting the VPN connection. Then click Next.

  9. On the VPN Server Selection page, type the URL of your organization's VPN server (for example, in the Host name box, and then click Next.

  10. If the wizard displays the Smart Cards page, select the Do not use my smart card option, and then click Next.

  11. On the Connection Availability page, select My use only, and then click Next.

  12. On the Completing page, click Finish.

    The Connect dialog box opens.

  13. In the User name box, type your domain\username (for example, WINGTIP\chris).

  14. In the Password box, type your domain password.

  15. Select the Save this user name check box and the Me only option. Then click Connect.

    After your computer connects to the network domain, a connection icon (depicting two computers) appears in the notification area at the right end of the status bar. You can now operate as though you are using the computer at the office.

To disconnect from a VPN connection on a computer running Windows XP:

  • Right-click the connection icon, and then click Disconnect.

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