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How Dave Does It: Un-exploited Features of the GroupWise Client Application

Novell Cool Solutions: Trench
By Dave Muldoon

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Posted: 4 Dec 2002
 

I know that in my last article I said that I would outline some of the consolidation strategies, processes and procedures that I used successfully to move over 10,500 users. That was my plan but after some overwhelming response from the GroupWise Client Application Best Practices Guide, I've decided to point out some of the "unexploited features of the GroupWise client application". Those features are beginning to provide a lot of usefulness to users within in my organization. Some of these features may be familiar to many administrators. The benefit of getting your end-users to fully utilize the GroupWise client application reduces the need for support and increases the amount of time administrators have to work on enhancements and other valuable projects. By following these recommendations, the GroupWise Client application should prove even more valuable to those who use it to the fullest extent (and their administrators). This is a rather lengthy, information-packed article, so, grab your highlighter and a cup of coffee - you'll need it.

Saving Filters:

  • For those users who file many of their received items into the same folder, or like to search for those very important Sent Items, the use of filters has most likely come in very handy. Now let me ask you this, "Have you ever gotten that perfect filter setup and when you're done wish there was a way to keep it for future use?" Well the answer is "yes", it's actually possible through a relatively simple few steps. In the filter creation window, once you have it working perfectly, you can click on the, very often overlooked, single menu within this window - Filter. There is a save feature under this menu. By saving a filter, you can create a unique name which then becomes part of the filter menu associated with the icon found in the lower right-hand corner of the client application window. To access that filter again in the future while viewing any folder, click on the filter icon and choose the unique name that appears from the pop-up list.

GroupWise Archive:

As you're probably aware, archiving has a few basic setup options; manual and automatic, and an option which allows you to select the item types to archive. Those users who use the automatic archive option you may be surprised by this next item.

Sent Items in Archive:

  • Archived items are not specific to received or sent, for example; cleanup options for "mail and phone" will archive all mail and phone items (both sent and received). That being said, by default the GroupWise archive does not have the predefined "Sent Items" folder that the online account has. A user who is trying to see why their archive's size on disk seems too large for the number and size of items that they see, may have a large portion of Sent Items in the archive that they are not aware of. Most likely, they are not using these Sent Items from the archive and they might be able to be deleted. To view these items, the user must:
    1. Create a new folder with the following process:
    2. File - new folder
    3. Click on Find Results Folder
    4. Click on "predefined folders" radio button
    5. Select "Sent Items"
    6. Click the next button
    7. Click the finish button. That should provide the proper folder to display Sent Items stored within the archive.

Regarding this whole topic, you may be thinking that this is a bug. You may also be thinking that the Sent Items folder should be a default option just like in the online mailbox, but that's not really logical. Let me explain why it shouldn't be a default option it's rather simple. A user can't send items from the archive, consequently there really doesn't need to be a Sent Items folder, as long as, the archive is properly managed by the user. That brings me to this next item.

Archive Usage:

  • Internally our company has a policy that sets a support limit on archives. This policy doesn't limit the size of a user's archive in megabytes, but rather by the number of items contained within the archive. The policy stems from GW 5x days when I used to see frequent support calls related to users having no guidelines when dealing with archives. At that time, I put in a significant amount of research and came up with a standard that has significantly reduced the number support calls to only a few each year (just a reminder - I'm only talking about support calls related to archives). In the below example, I've indicated my "max number". Please keep in mind, my "max number" pertains to my system and may or may not be suitable in your environment. The bottom line is, having a policy for users to follow significantly reduced the total cost of supporting archives. This is mainly due to end-users being more cautious about what they use the archive for. Our policy reads something like this:

    ...GroupWise Archive size limitation is not a size in regards to the amount of hard drive space taken up by the database; rather the number of items contained within the database itself. Research has shown, on our systems, archive databases containing over 4,800 items tend to be costly for support. This means the actual size of the database in hard drive space (MB) may vary widely but the number of items that it contains is limited and cannot exceed the number stated above....

    GroupWise Archive was developed and is intended as a temporary storage area for GroupWise items needed to be kept for longer than the period set by the GroupWise "Expire and Reduce" Maintenance procedure. This period is set to 90 days (within our company), meaning anything older than 90 days is automatically removed from GroupWise on a weekly basis (calendar appointments are the only exception to this rule). The individual user is responsible for any customization of the GroupWise account, this includes utilization of the GroupWise Archive database if necessary.

    Additionally, GroupWise administrative personnel do not recommend using the GroupWise Archive to store "external" attachments. Attachments (WordPerfect, MS Word, MS Excel, etc.) should be saved to a network drive or other more permanent device for storage purposes, thus reducing the amount of items stored in the GroupWise Archive database, causing fewer problems to end users.

GroupWise Proxy Settings:

  • To enhance the collaboration within our company, we recommend that users grant read access of calendar items to the minimum user. This allows assistants and others to locate a person in the event of any situation; personal emergency, support issues, etc. It also allows users to use "cautious judgment" in over-scheduling existing appointments based on the ability to view the items. Making this modification extends the out-of -the-box GroupWise System which allows users to perform many tasks such as personal calendaring and group scheduling at a higher level. In addition, supervisors like the ability to see what and where a staff member is when they can't be reached at their desk. All of things that I've mentioned require the ability for one client to view certain items of another client's information based on trust and a set of rules defined within the GroupWise client application.

    NOTE: This should not be considered an invasion of privacy. Users can use their own discretion to mark an item as private which removes the access to specific items (F8 on the appointment screen). When an appointment is marked as private it will only show up on the user accounts who are attending. It cannot be viewed via proxy although, it does mark the calendar as busy without showing the subject or other parties attending the appointment.

    NOTE: Users can remove the read option from the minimum user. This will remove the ability to view the subject and contents of all appointments while showing the times and dates as busy, for all users when performing a busy search. However, this decreases the collaboration within your environment.

Proxy and Security:

  • Let's cover a potential internal security issue concerning GroupWise Proxy Access, this came up a few years back in my system and addressing it was somewhat complex. As a user adds another user to have proxy rights, by default (even after the add button was clicked) the account selected for additional modification was the minimum user, not the account that was added intentionally. This created a security issue that allowed anyone on the network to have various levels of access to others GroupWise account unintentionally. To make things worse, the users involved in misconfiguring the proxy were not even aware, as the end user they were trying to provide rights to was able to gain access via the minimum user (without knowing). Thankfully in GroupWise Six this was changed and the added user is selected by default. Although this can still be an issue for anyone running an older GroupWise client.


  • Novell has provided a way to detect and fix this through GWCHECK. For more information see the following; http://support.novell.com/cgi-bin/search/searchtid.cgi?/10066312.htm

GroupWise Vacation Rules:

  • I've seen a lot of ideas on creating vacation rules, some of those ideas are really well thought out. I provided the following to our user population as a recommendation. This has some nice things for end users so that they don't get annoying "undeliverables" back in response. If users don't configure their rule properly, it is possible to inundate your email system with unnecessary messages. Below is my recommendation to setting up a vacation rules:


  • If you are a member of any Internet Newsgroups or Internet Listservers you should read the section entitled "Internet" before following the below procedure.

    1. From the Tools menu, choose Rules to bring up the Rules dialog box.
    2. Choose New to open the Create Rule dialog box.
    3. Enter in a descriptive name in the Rule Name text box.
    4. Make sure that the Event is based on when a New Item is received by clicking the checkbox next to the word received. NOTE: If you are subscribed to any Internet Groups, Listservers, or wish to block replies to the Internet see section entitled "Stop Rule Processing" below.
    5. Leave the Appointment Conflict option set to it's default as well.
    6. Under the Actions section, choose click on the Add Action button,
      1. Then choose Reply as the action you want the rule to perform by clicking on it.
    7. When the Reply dialog box opens select Reply to Sender and then click OK. NOTE: Do not select reply to all.
    8. Enter in your personalized message regarding being out of the office, on vacation, etc. in the box that appears.
    9. Choose OK to set this rule.
    10. Choose Save to save the changes
    11. Choose Close to close the Rules dialog box.

    Stop Rule Processing:

    • If you are subscribed to any Internet Groups, Listservers, or wish to block replies to these. To do so, perform the following operation when creating the vacation rule to exclude a specific sender from receiving your vacation rule:
    • When viewing the rule (after step 5) click the Define Conditions button
      1. Under the "Include entries where..." section select From
      2. In the Contains field, type: ! (for example: !MANAGERS)

      The ! will tell the rule to execute for all items except those where the sender was MANAGERS(a possible group in GroupWise).

      Internet Mail:

      If you are able to receive mail from the internet or are a member of any Listservers you should perform the following: NOTE: Before creating a rule for replying to incoming mail, you must create a rule using steps 1 through 4 from above and use the below section:

      1. When creating the rule click the Define Conditions button.
      2. Under the "Include entries where..." section select the "from" option.
      3. Click the button that contains the [ ] brackets and the up and down arrows, select the = matches option.
      4. In the Contains field, enter in the following characters exactly: <*@*>
      5. Under the Actions section, click on the Add Action button, choose Stop Rule Processing as the action you want the rule to perform by clicking on it.
      6. Choose OK to set this rule.
      7. Choose Save to save the changes.

Quick Correct:

  • For those of you who are like me and have trouble getting the keyboard to type words correctly this one is for you. When you know that you just can't type certain words, you can enable Quick Correct to automatically fix the misspellings as you type them. For example, I cannot type the word "server" without concentrating on the keyboard - it always comes out "sevrer".


  • From within an item creation screen (i.e. mail item) you can go to the tools menu and select the quick correct option (you need to have something typed in the message body to activate the menu option).


  • From this screen you can add to the list of defaults by typing in your frequent misspelling in the "replace" field (i.e. "sevrer") and how the word should actually be spelled in the "with" field (i.e. "server").

"Change To" Feature:

  • GroupWise has the ability to change an existing sent/received item such as an email into an Appointment, Task or Reminder Note (or various other combinations). This very handy feature is an easy way to manage these types of changes, without having to re-type or move between various screens. For example, while having a mail message opened, from the Edit menu choose the "Change To" option and select the option you wish to convert the mail item to (i.e. - Appointment, task, reminder note, etc and the item type; posted or group.), this will automatically retain the original message text in the new item.

Finally:

The GroupWise Client application Help Menu contains detailed information and describes many more features that GroupWise is capable of. To access this area, from within the GroupWise Client choose Help and then click on "Guides". This can be very useful to those who are new to GroupWise, as well as those who use it daily.

Watch for more articles by Dave Muldoon, every couple of weeks, under the resources link on GroupWise Cool Solutions - http://www.novell.com/coolsolutions/gwmag/features/trenches/tr_how_dave_does_it_gw.html.


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