Lotus Notes URLs won't hyperlink in OWA and Exchange 2003

In mixed-mode email environments that use both Lotus Notes Domino and Microsoft Exchange Server, Outlook Web Access (OWA) will not recognize URL links to Lotus Notes documents contained in Exchange Server 2003 email.

When Lotus Notes document links -- denoted by notes:// -- become disabled, OWA users must copy and paste the URL text into a Web browser to access the Lotus Notes documents.

Microsoft's Knowledge Base article 939999, "

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A URL that includes a 'notes:' prefix does not work in Outlook Web Access for Exchange 2003," describes this Lotus Notes/Microsoft Exchange interoperability problem and also offers a solution.
More on Exchange Server 2003, OWA and Lotus Notes:
Microsoft Outlook and Lotus Notes calendar interoperability

Prevent bogus URLs in email with Outlook antiphishing filter

OWA Administration Guide

OWA Reference Center

Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 Administration Guide

Exchange 2003 Reference Center

This isn't a Lotus Notes-specific issue, however. It has more to do with the fact that OWA will filter, by default, any protocol URL types that aren't part of a known "safe" list.

This list contains all of the obvious protocol types -- http:, https:, mailto:, and so forth -- and a few that are Microsoft-specific, such as msdaipp:. Outlook Web Access in Exchange 2003 does not recognize the notes: prefix as safe protocol link.

If you're using a Lotus Notes server in a mixed-mode Exchange Server environment, you'll want to restore access to notes: links in Outlook Web Access. You will need to edit the registry on your Exchange server to do this.

Under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services
, create a new Multi-String Value with the name AdditionalSafeURLScheme. Set the value to NOTES. You can add more protocols by comma-delineating them.

NOTE: If you have a front-end/back-end environment, you'll need to configure this change on both the front-end and back-end servers. Also, this only works on Exchange Server 2003 Service Pack 2 (SP2) or higher.

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 October 2007

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