Lync 2013 Presence Issues

November 13, 2013 Update: the presence issues with Exchange free/busy that were introduced in the September 2013 Lync 2013 Client update have now been fixed in the November 2013 Update; see Lync 2013 November Update – A Much Anticipated Client Fix.

Recently there as been many reports of Presence issues with the Lync 2013 client. Here is a breakdown of three major known issues and what to do about them.

Exchange Integration Issue Introduced in the Lync 2013 September 2013 Update

The most common problem was introduced in the recent September 2013 update package for the Lync 2013 client. The issue is documented in this support KB article: Presence status isn’t updated based on Exchange calendar in Lync 2013. In a nutshell there is an issue with the integration between the Lync 2013 client and Exchange which impacts the synchronization between the Lync 2013 client and the Outlook calendar information (such as “in a meeting”) and the Out-Of-Office status.

If your Lync 2013 client has the September 2013 update installed your Lync client version will be 15.0.4535.1002.

This issue is being actively being investigated by the Lync team at Microsoft so stay tuned.  In the meantime uninstalling the September 2013 Update and/or rolling back to the August 2013 Lync update resolves the issue.

There have been other issues reported after applying this update, but it has not been determined what exactly the combination of factors introduce the issue. Some of the reported problems are:

  • The Presence status color indicator (e.g. Red, Yellow) does not match the Availability text (e.g. “Available”, “Busy”, “Away”, etc…). For example, a contact might show as yellow with an Away status, but their Availability will show “In a call”.
  • Some internal and external contacts appear as “Blocked” with a “Busy” Presence (red color).

Issues with the Local Address Book Files on the Client

This issue is easy to miss because it is published under the heading Script to delete SIP profile for multiple Lync 2013 users (by Edwin Joseph) on Microsoft Next Hop.

In a nutshell, the Lync 2013 Windows client maintains a local cache of the address book and they can get in a state that causes a variety of issues with the Contact List in the Lync 2013 client. In my experience the Presence for some contacts shows as Unknown or Offline, however it can also cause some Contacts to go missing from the contact list, and to not display their Presence in Outlook.

The resolution is simple enough – delete the SIP profile directory and restart the client. The SIP profile folder is located here:

> %UserProfile%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Lync

Note – I achieved the same results just deleting the local address book files (GalContacts.db and GalContacts.db.idx) but you should delete the whole folder to be safe.

As the Next Hop article points out, deleting this SIP profile folder will trigger a complete address book download at a random interval in the next hour from when the client is restarted.  A user can tell if the address book is completely downloaded when the “Address book synchronizing” status goes away when searching for a contact – as shown here:

image

As been previously well documented, if you need to force the Lync client to download the address book immediately you can.

Out-of-Date Outlook Contacts

This issue has been around for awhile but can become more noticeable over time.

When a Lync 2013 user searches for a contact in the Search Contact box, the contact will show an incorrect Presence state.  The Presence will appear as Presence Unknown or will appear to be Offline as shown here:

image

Yet when Lync user manually locates the same Contact in their Contact List (e.g. by scrolling instead of searching), the Presence is accurately shown – in this case the contact is Available:

image

The cause of this is a corresponding ‘bad’ Outlook contact entry for the associated Lync contact. “Bad” in the case specifically means the Email address and IM address of the associated Outlook contact does not match the SIP address in for the same contact in the Lync address book. Here is a sample screen shot of the associated bad Outlook contact used in the example above:

image

In this case the domain name in the Email and IM address fields were different than the SIP address for this contact in the Lync address book.

This might seem like an anomaly but it occurs quite frequently for two reasons:

  1. The Lync 2010 client had a setting called “Save my Lync contacts in my personal contacts folder on the Exchange server” that would create Outlook contact entries for your entire Lync contact list. Many Lync users and deployments had this turned on and some point and then turned it off. This resulted in Outlook contact entries that were created but then never kept in sync – leading to a mismatch of Email and SIP addresses. If the organization did a SIP domain change, or a contact changed their SIP address (i.e. name or user name), this issue would occur.
  2. If a Lync user had a corresponding Outlook contact entry for a Lync contact (i.e. an external contact such as an acquaintance) and that contact changed their SIP address but it was not updated in the associated Outlook contact, this issue will occur.

The resolution is simple enough – correct the email and IM address in the Outlook contact and sign out and back in to the Lync 2013 client.

This issue was more noticable in the Lync 2010 client because it showed the origin of the contact in Lync.  Notice the “Contacts” indicator below:

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