Handout to Deal With Out of Office Assistant Not Turning Off Issue

Anuraag Singh | Modified: July 13, 2016 | General Exchange Issue | 4 Minutes Reading

Overview of Out of Office Assistant

Outlook has an inbuilt option embedded within it i.e. Out of Office Assistant (OOA). If user has to leave Office for a long time, then they can inform the people (who are sending emails) that you are on leave or away. When this option is enabled from user’s account, the people sending them the mail get to know that receiver is on leave.

Problem Statement

Sometimes when users come back from leave, they try to disable the Out of Office Assistant option, but the task gets failed. Hence, the problem occurs in which Out of Office Assistant is not turning off and Auto reply keep sending from Outlook.
However, the normal way to disable this option is by going to File tab >> Automatic Replies >> Do not send automatic replies >> OK (For Outlook 2013 or 2010). However, in some situation, this approach gets failed and hence, trouble in turning off the ‘Out of Office Assistant’ option.

Solution to Resolve the Problem

For getting rid of this problem, you will have to turn off the OOA option via different applications. Therefore, troubleshoot the problem, by choosing any one technique out of the four below-mentioned methods:

Technique 1: Using Outlook Web Application

If user has rights to access mailboxes on Outlook web application (OWA), then they can disable the feature using OWA account. Therefore, below-mentioned are the alternatives to disable the feature from different versions of OWA.
  • From OWA 2003
    Take the cursor on left-hand side of OWA window, go to Options panel and then disable OOA from it.
  • From OWA 2007
    Move your cursor towards right-hand side of OWA 2007 window and turn off OOA option from there.
  • From OWA 2010
    For disabling the option, go to Option >> Organize E-mails and then disable the Automatic replies by selecting it.
  • From OWA 2013
    Click on Gear icon of OWA 2013 and next to your name select Set automatic replies option and disable it from there.
  • From OWA 2016 & Office 365
    Login into your account and click on Gear icon, then select Automatic replies to manage the option.

Technique 2: Using Disabled Items

If the above approach does not resolve your problem, then examine that the Microsoft Exchange Add-ins list is not set up as disabled items. However, if list items are set disabled, then enable them for resolving the problem.

Technique 3: Managing Rules & Alerts

In this technique examine and verify that rules are not configured in such a way that they automatically send replies to incoming mail. Following points give you knowledge for opening Rules setting window:
  • In Outlook 2002/XP and earlier versions: Tools >> Rules Wizard
  • In Outlook 2003 and 2007: Tools >> Rules and Alert
  • In Outlook 2010/2013 and 2016: File >> Section Info >> Manage Rules and Alerts

Technique 4: Using MFCMAPI

The last approach to disable the OOA option is by using MFCMAPI tool, which is hosted on CodePlex (an Open Source Community) from Microsoft. Go through the following steps to troubleshoot your problem:
  1. Close Outlook from your system and start MFCMAPI.exe
  2. Go to Session >> Logon and Display Table
  3. Select your Outlook profile and then click OK
  4. Now you will be able to view a list of configured emails stored within your account
  5. From the bottom of the window pane, search for PR_OOF_STATE property
  6. Take a look at the Value column of the above property and you’ll find it True. Now to disable the feature, double-click on PR_OOF_STATE property
  7. Press OK for terminating the current window
  8. Log off your session & again open Outlook

Observational Verdict

From above discussed measures, user can conclude with the fact that one of the technique will definitely troubleshoot the problem. User just has to go through each technique (one-by-one) and then they will be able to get rid off this problem.