Be careful when copying Outlook Web Access (OWA) hyperlinks

Find out why hyperlinks copied from an Outlook Web Access (OWA) message don't work for some email recipients and learn two workarounds for this problem.

If you copy and send a URL from an Outlook Web Access (OWA) message using a different OWA interface, the email recipients will likely get an error message when they click on the hyperlink.

When a hyperlinked URL is embedded in an email message read by Outlook Web Access, OWA edits the HREF portion of the hyperlink to include a redirector -- typically /exchweb/bin/redir.asp.

The redirector anonymizes the referrer link that gets sent to the remote host to prevent any OWA-specific information from being sent in the referrer URL (such as your mailbox name). Unfortunately, this also can cause copied URLs to break.

Luckily, there are two workarounds:

  1. Open the hyperlink and then copy the URL out of the new browser window rather than from the link itself. This way you'll get the final product of the redirector, which in some cases may be more accurate.
  2. If you need the URL in the original link, copy it and remove the portion of the URL that reads http://exchangeserver/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=, and then replace exchangeserver with your server name instead. It should be evident what to snip and what to retain.

About the author: Serdar Yegulalp is editor of Windows Insight, a newsletter devoted to hints, tips, tricks, news and goodies for all flavors of Windows users.

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This was first published in November 2007

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