Outlook using Office365 account instead of exchange server

We have emails on an Exchange server, which is not hosted by Microsoft.  For the sake of discussion, emails like *** Email address is removed for privacy ***

We also have Office 365 accounts that use the same *** Email address is removed for privacy *** as logins.

This has been working fine for a long time, nothing has changed recently on either the Office accounts or the exchange host.

Two of my coworkers now have problems with their local installs of Outlook.  Nothing is wrong with the exchange host (and everything works fine on their phones and on a test setup on a different computer).

Instead of connecting to our exchange server, Outlook now connects to their Office 365 accounts.

For example, one of them sent me two emails on Monday, which did not deliver to my exchange inbox, instead I can see them if I log in to Office.com and go to the web version of Outlook.  They're the only things in that webpage, it's not a clone of my non-microsoft exchange inbox.

When I look at the File menu on Outlook on those two machines the "Access this account on the web" link is pointing to Outlook.Office365.com.  On my own computer it properly points to our exchange host.

I've tried deleting and re-adding the email accounts in Outlook, using autodiscover to find the info for the exchange host.  They just revert back to trying to use Office.

Both of those users recently stated using Skype for Business through their Office 365 accounts, but that was a few weeks ago and the email issues started only two days ago, and people who also recently stated up Skype have no similar outlook problems, so it seems particular to these two installs.  I just mention it if it's relevant, maybe some feature like right-clicking on Skype and initiating an email from there broke this?

What told Outlook to start using the office365 servers instead of the non-microsoft exchange account?  and how do I undo this?

thanks.

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Hi CB(42),

May I know which kind of environment do you have set up, is it Hybrid deployment or simple domain sharing for SMTP email addresses? Could you please provide us with the detailed information about this.

Where the users mailbox located in On-premise Exchange server or in the Exchange Online cloud?

Are those two Office 365 users able to send/receive email via using Outlook desktop client and Outlook Web App without any issue?

When you say “Outlook on those two machines the "Access this account on the web" link is pointing to Outlook.Office365.com”, make sure that whether the users mailbox are migrated to Office 365 Exchange Online.

Best regards,
Shyamal
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Hello Shymal, thanks for the reply.

I'm not entirely sure how to answer some of those questions, let me try my best.

Our email is on an Exchange server hosted remotely by a cloud provider.  They also handle our webpage and some cloud databases.  So it's not SMTP.  I don't know how Exchange is configured on their end, but everything they host is working fine.

Everyone can use the outlook web app hosted by our email provider.  This is an address of connect.em###.com/owa (at the provider's domain).  That should be the address on the Outlook file menu where it says "access this account on the web".

On the two trouble computers, the outlook file menu instead says to go to outlook.office365.com/owa/fr###.com (the last being our own domain).

When I go to that office365 web app, it accepts my office account login, and it has the emails those users have sent me in the past few days and nothing else.  That's what I expect to see there - everything else of mine is at our email provider.

The trouble is Outlook using the office365 domain for these two users.  I think that's how the emails from them went to my own office365 account, because outlook was connected to that domain when the users sent me mail.

So if it's the answer to your question, the users are able to send and receive through outlook desktop, but they go to the wrong email host.  Outlook is "working" to the extent it sends/receives OK, it's just got the wrong exchange settings and I can't get it to use the right ones.

I tested if it was the user's email accounts themselves.  I set up outlook on a new machine and was able to take one of these two accounts and it autodiscovered all settings at our email provider, not at office365.  So this looks to be something outlook or windows is doing on their machines.

To your last question, no user mailboxes are migrated to office365, nor do we intend for them to be.

Outlook is insisting on using an office365 domain that we never set up - no changes made on these two machines, no changes made to our office accounts.

I need to stop outlook from replacing our email provider info with office365 accounts.  (I'd also like to know what triggered this issue a few days ago - nothing in our office accounts has changed for weeks.)

I hope I'm explaining this well.  It's pretty convoluted from where I'm sitting.

thanks for the help.

Chris

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Hi CB(42),

Thank you for your sharing. And in view of that it is a little confused for us to identify the environment of your accounts, I’d like to ask you to contact the Exchange server side and consult the information above. In addition, I want to collect your tenant information for the further investigation. Please send me the information via PM if it’s convenience. 

Regards,
Marvin
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Hi Marvin.  Thanks for the reply.

I just want to be clear that our Exchange server seems to be working just fine.  Dozens of users have no problem with their email.  The two affected users are still using the Exchange server just fine over webmail and on their phones.  I took an old laptop running Office 2010 - so no connection to a 365 account - and was able to have Outlook connect to the account just fine.

As far as I can tell, this is entirely a Windows/Office problem where Outlook is talking to the wrong server.  Those two Outlook installs are ignoring our usual email host and instead direct to office365 accounts - accounts that I didn't even know had the ability to receive email until this issue started.

If I delete and rebuild the Outlook profiles on those laptops the problem persists, so it's something in windows that probably needs to be cleaned up, not just something that broke Outlook once.  But of course it'd be nice to figure out what tripped it, in addition to cleaning it up.

thanks

Chris

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Hi CB(42),

Thank you for the updates. As I understand it, the two affected accounts in the same domain are connected to the wrong Exchange server as you mentioned. And I need the information about the two affected accounts to check whether the sign-in process went wrong. Please send me the information I listed in PM

Moreover, you can run a Microsoft Remote Connectivity Analyzer test to verify if it goes wrong when sign in. In this page, please put in the affected accounts email address and click Perform Test. And please send me the report of the test result via PM as well.

Thanks,
Marvin
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"And I need the information about the two affected accounts to check whether the sign-in process went wrong. "

I can't give you our company's email info.  But I shouldn't need to.  You're still not seeing where the issue happens.

The sign-in process did not go wrong.  The accounts successfully connect to the Office autodiscover.

The problem is that the accounts go looking for that autodiscover in the first place, instead of going to our email host's autodiscover.

(Once Outlook is connected to the office inbox, then the emails sent by outlook go internally to other similar office inboxes and not external to our actual email provider, but that's sort of a secondary question at this point, so I'll table that unless there's some way we missed to disable all this emailing through the office accounts themselves until such time as we actually migrate our emails.)

This is particular to the installation of Outlook.  I have put the two account's email credentials into Outlook on other installs on other machines and they connect to our own email server just fine.

Further indicating it's Outlook, I asked the user to run the debugger, on the affected computer, and that pointed to our proper email provider.  The results matched the autodiscover that I get from a working email account.

So any email addresses not functioning would probably appear quite correct to your tests, since it's Outlook that appears broken here (or some aspect of Windows that Outlook is leveraging, or so on, but it doesn't look to me to be anything about either our server or the office server.)

I've cleared the DNS and reset the network info.  I've cleared everything from the windows credential manager and let it prompt for passwords anew.  I've run the Office repair features.  Is there anything I can try in order to check how Outlook resolves an autodiscover (different from the tracing website) before I resort to re-imaging these machines?  Cause that might clear up whatever changed earlier this week, but I'd rather not have to restore all the backed up documents if there's an Outlook setting that's overriding to office.com.


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Hi CB(42),

Based on your description, I want to make a summary for this issue. If there is any mistake, please tell me.

1. The two affected accounts are in an Office 365 domain and you never set it up. So I wonder whether this domain is verified in Office 365 or managed by Office 365.
2. This situation only happened in Outlook client which are installed in the two specific laptops. And when the users login to OWA (Outlook Web App) in those laptops, the accounts connect to your own Exchange server.
3. You have cleared DNS and the DNS records are properly pointed to your Exchange server.
4. You have tried reset the network information, cleared credentials in windows credential manager, repair the Office, create a new profile, and the issue persists.

In order to check the domain configuration, could you please send me the test report of ExRCA to me via PM?

Regards,
Marvin

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1, yes, there is a verified domain on office365.

We've had a Business plan for quite some time (using the onmicrosoft domain), and on April 25 we upgraded to Business Premium and verified the domain.  The issues didn't begin until a few weeks after that change.  We haven't added any new office365 accounts, this is all affecting accounts that existed under the old plan.

We never migrated any emails to the office exchange server.  Our email, and our website, is still hosted by our usual provider.

We double checked the provider setup, and the temporary files that verified our domain for the office365 setup did indeed delete after they expired.

2, Yes, it's specific to the outlook client on those laptops.  Web interface on those laptops works fine.  In fact, the outlook client on those laptops also behaves improperly when adding another email account, so definitely not the exchange account itself.

Further, those email accounts work OK in Outlook on another machine, so it seems nothing configured at the exchange level is causing this.  (Though that other test of Outlook was a fully licensed 2013, not using an office365 account.  Is this broken only in outlook 2016?)

3, Yes, I have cleared DNS.  I'm not sure how to force DNS to our exchange server, and haven't needed to do so until now.

4, I'm not sure what network information to reset - I do know this is happening on remote networks, too, so it's not something on one office's ISP.

Yes, credentials cleared, Office repaired (and in one attempt fully uninstalled and reinstalled), tested under new user profiles.

One of the real oddities is that the Office Admin center likes to mix and match accounts.  I did a password reset for an office365 user and it emailed the new password to my actual exchange server.  Then I did a group invite (while configuring Sharepoint) and that was sent to my office365 inbox.  Is there simply a way to completely turn off our office365 inboxes until such time as we do migrate our email accounts?

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Eureka!  It's indeed related to the Office365 account itself.
A third user had the problem on a brand new computer (old email account, old office365, just a new computer) where all she did was install Office (so didn't use Skype yet, didn't use OneDrive yet, etc).  I stumbled on a solution....
1.  Delete the affected email from Outlook.  (This involved creating a new data file.)
2.  Close Outlook and delete the remaining data files for that account.  (Just to be sure.)
3.  Opened Outlook.  Under the File menu \ Office Accounts, on the left it has User Information and on the right it has Product Information.  Signed Out the user from the link on the left list.
4.  Add the email account.  This found the right server.

Something about being logged in that account is overriding Outlook finding our actual email server.  That's the bug.

Left the new account running for a while to be sure, it's still OK.  After a while I thought "we should sign you back in to office and see if the email is still OK" and she was already signed back in somehow.  I have no idea what app did that.  But, it's still working, that's what matters.

I guess the attempt at uninstalling and reinstalling failed to fix this because the office install itself signs the user in.  It was repeating the bug on reinstall.


Now the follow-up question is this:  Why did these other users only have this break last week?  What could they have done that made Outlook lose their regular inboxes (including the locally stored version of their contents) and start using the office365 exchange instead?

In other words, how do I stop this from happening again?

Plus I still have my general question of can I turn off the office365 boxes entirely so this can never happen, even with emails sent from office.com itself?  Is there a setting for that?

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Hi CB(42),

Based on your description, the third user account connected to the right server when signed out. As my understanding, the account can connect to the right server when it is on premise, while the account connect to Office 365 Exchange server when it’s online. So I wonder, 

1. Is the third account on-premise or online?
2. Is that all the items of these accounts are changed, such as SentItems, DeletedItems?

And you can try to update folders by navigating to Send/Receive > Update Folders to check whether there are error messages at the bottom of the Outlook.


Moreover, could you provide me the report of the Microsoft Remote Connectivity Analyzer test and the affected email addresses? Cause those information will provide the accurate information about this issue. As the official technical support of Microsoft Office 365, we always try the best for keeping the private information safe and secure of our clients. Besides, we set up the private message feature to provide the professional service when it is related to your personal and private information. 

Regards,
Marvin

 
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Last updated November 16, 2020 Views 5,042 Applies to: