Enabling Kerberos Authentication

We had a customer recently who was using Outlook 2010’s MAPI in their application to talk to the Exchange server. They wanted to enable Kerberos authentication, but were having trouble enabling it programmatically. They had found the property that gets changed when you enable Kerberos authentication through the UI: PR_PROFILE_AUTH_PACKAGE in the global profile section gets set to RPC_C_AUTHN_GSS_KERBEROS. When they tried setting this value in their profile though, they’d find that OpenAddressBook would return MAPI_W_ERRORS_RETURNED and subsequent calls to ResolveName would return MAPI_E_CALL_FAILED. What was really strange was if they opened the profile using Outlook or MFCMAPI, the profile would somehow be “fixed”, and their application would work.

By comparing the profile before and after “fixing” it, we were able to track the difference down to a single property, which development has given me permission to document, PR_PROFILE_HOME_SERVER_FQDN (0x662A001F). This property is located in the address book section, dca740c8c042101ab4b908002b2fe182 (aka muidEMSAB). Setting this property to the DN of the user’s directory server was sufficient to turn a non-working profile into a working profile using Kerberos authentication. For example, if my DC was named ExampleDC, I might set this property to “ExampleDC.example.com”.

So why would running MFCMAPI or Outlook fix the profile? It all has to do with the flags the customer passed to MAPILogonEx. They were passing MAPI_NT_SERVICE. To the Exchange address book provider, this indicated (among other things) that we should not load our user interface (UI) support object, since we’re running in a context that doesn’t allow UI. Later, when we’re attempting to connect to the server, we check if we have been referred to a DC yet. This is the PR_PROFILE_HOME_SERVER_FQDN property. Finding this property not set, we enter the code that would normally request a referral from the Exchange server. However, this code is dependent on the UI support object, so it does not execute. Ultimately, we decide to just talk directly to the Exchange server and let it handle proxying our calls over to the DC as needed.

This all works fine as long as we’re not using Kerberos authentication. However, as we saw in the Check Names article, you cannot use Kerberos to make address book calls to the Exchange server (Exchange 2010 may fix this, but I believe this customer was using Exchange 2007). That’s why setting PR_PROFILE_HOME_SERVER_FQDN fixes the problem, since we connect directly to the DC.


  • Exchange 2010 handles address book calls made to the CAS differently from how Exchange 2007 and earlier handle them. The DSProxy process is no longer used. So the Kerberos authentication may succeed. However, the client would still be talking to the Exchange server instead of directly to the DC, which may not be desired. Setting PR_PROFILE_HOME_SERVER_FQDN will avoid this.
  • Logging on without MAPI_NT_SERVICE sets additional properties besides  PR_PROFILE_HOME_SERVER_FQDN, but investigation has not shown any of them to be essential. I’ll update this post if this changes.


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