Exchange Online: Missing confirmations for rooms bookings

[German]Currently users are facing many issues with Exchange Online. German blog reader Georg emailed me yesterday (October 25, 2023) about an annoying bug in Exchange Online: They don't get any confirmations / rejections sent for rooms bookings in Exchange Online since a week. 


Exchange Online Rooms bookings

In Microsoft's cloud solution Exchange Online, rooms can also be booked as resources (room mailbox). Microsoft describes the feature in this support document. Administrators can set up a so-called room mailbox as a resource in Exchange Online. This resource is assigned to a physical location, e.g. a conference room, a lecture hall or a training room.

Room mailboxes allow users to easily reserve these rooms by including room mailboxes in their meeting requests. In doing so, the room mailbox uses options that you can configure to decide whether to accept or decline the invitation. That's Microsoft's theory on this feature.

Room bookings without status confirmation

At the moment, it looks like Microsoft has broken this cloud feature, because users have to act blind. Blog reader Georg told me yesterday that he has been struggling with the problem in his IT environment for almost a week now that resource bookings can be made in Exchange Online, but no confirmations/rejections are sent for these bookings anymore.

A few days ago, the IT department of the reader received reports about inconsistencies in the booking of resources. Initially, the booking confirmations did not work at all. Later, the problem was limited to a few, the reader notes.

An old Q&A forum post

Georg then pointed out in his mail that after much testing he found another post Room is not Auto-accepting the room bookings, and not sending responses from 2021 where someone had the same problem in the past. The solution outlined there is to log in with the resource's account in the Outlook desktop client(!). Then the problem should be gone.

The reader tried this on an example with success. Regarding the workaround from the Q&A forum post, the reader writes that this suggested solution is unusable for a large number of resources.


Microsoft confirms the problem

The reader then opened a ticket with MS and received confirmation that this was known. A global incident was created by Microsoft under the ID EX682507 about the problem. There it currently states:

October 24, 2023 at 8:36 PM GMT+2

Title: Users may not receive accept or decline email notifications from room mailboxes in Exchange Online

User impact: Users may not receive accept or decline email notifications from room mailboxes in Exchange Online.

Current status: We're preparing our long-term fix for deployment to our internal testing environment for validation before we continue its deployment to the affected environment. We anticipate that we'll be able to provide a resolution timeline in our next communication, at which point we expect this deployment to be underway.

Scope of impact: Any users hosted on the affected infrastructure scheduling meetings with room mailboxes aren't receiving accept or decline email messages in Exchange Online.

Start time: Tuesday, October 17, 2023 at 9:00 PM GMT+2

Root cause: A recent change to improve diagnostic logging has caused impact to room mailbox accept or decline notification email delivery.

Next update by: Thursday, October 26, 2023 at 9:00 PM GMT+2

What's going on in Microsoft's cloud?

Currently, it looks to me like Microsoft is letting the whole cloud thing with Exchange Online slip away. A few hours ago I had reported in the article Exchange Online show foreign address lists (GAL) – a GDPR violation about the effect that on October 24, 2023 users were shown address books (Global Address Lists, GAL) of foreign tenants in Exchange Online when creating mails and appointments.

The above reader told me an interesting observation, he was made in this context on October 24, 2023. A colleague of him noticed that some resources in GAL were no longer available. The reader could observe the same in his own Global Address List (GAL). Currently (25.10.) the resources are all there again. The reader wonders if there is a connection with the display of foreign GAL entries.

Similar articles:
Exchange Online show foreign address lists (GAL) – a GDPR violation
Exchange Online: Microsoft deaktiviert Spam-Regel, die alles als Junk-Mail betrachtet hat (EX682041)

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