“Cannot expand the folder. The set of folders cannot be opened. Microsoft Exchange is not available. Either there are network problems or the Exchange is down for maintenance.

Unable to access Public folder via outlook in Exchange 2010 environment

“Cannot expand the folder. The set of folders cannot be opened. Microsoft Exchange is not available. Either there are network problems or the Exchange is down for maintenance.”

Steps taken?

  • Verified that the Mailbox databases are pointing to correct Public Folder database.
  • Verified that the RPC Client access service is running on the CAS/HUB server.
  • Something hit my mind at this point, and I took a look at the “RPC Client access service” in the mailbox server, it was stopped.
  • I tried to restart it and bang!!! PF access thru outlook restored.
  • taskkill /f /pid xxx

Logic applied:

We know that “RPC Client access service” in the CAS/HUB servers do a lot of operations pertaining to managing client connections for exchange. But, why do we need this service in the Mailbox server?

“RPC Client access service” in the mailbox server is used for none other than public folder access. When the outlook client queries for Public folders, it directly connects to the PF server (You can view it by checking the “Connection status” from outlook). This request is taken care of by the “RPC Client access service” in the mailbox server. In any case if this service is stopped/Hung, then we may see the above problem.

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