Errors Opening ViewMail for Outlook

Paul Smith
Senior Engineer I

Under certain circumstances, when opening Outlook on a Windows computer, ViewMail may throw the following error:

Cisco ViewMail encountered one or more errors.  ViewMail functionality is not available for the following Outlook email accounts(s): [sic]

(Gives the name of the account, probably “Microsoft Exchange Server”)

To send a log file to your system administrator for troubleshooting, from the Help menu, select Cisco ViewMail for Outlook, then Email Log Files.

This error arises because ViewMail logins are case sensitive when it comes to the username.  When ViewMail is installed, and Outlook is opened, an initialization wizard is run that creates a hash which includes the username (including the domain name).  The username in that hash is compared to the credentials provided in every subsequent login.  If the cached credentials don’t match the current login, ViewMail will not work and will post the above warning.  The moral of the story is to make users log in the way they will always log in before installing ViewMail.  They should then continue to login that way.

The suggestion is to log in using all lowercase usernames because logging into a computer and then into a network using the Cisco VPN client will ALWAYS pass a lower case username even when upper case letters are typed.

If things get messed up there are three workarounds.  Realize that workaround number 1 is Cisco sanctioned, but numbers 2 and 3 aren’t so much.  Also realize that numbers 2 and 3 require an engineer to play with the registry of the computer which can cause very icky things to happen if done incorrectly.  By “icky” I mean that things stop working, like, forever.  Therefore, proceed with caution.

1)    Uninstall ViewMail.  Restart the computer.  Let the user log in the way he or she wants to be.  Reinstall ViewMail.  Rerun the VMO Initialization Wizard.

2)    Make sure the user is logged in the way he or she wants to be.  Make sure Outlook is closed (but that the wizard was run).  Go to the Registry, navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Software > Cisco Systems, and delete the ViewMail for Outlook key as well as all of its subkeys.  Reopen Outlook.  The Initialization Wizard should pop up.  Once the wizard is rerun, ViewMail will continue to work using the current username.

3)    EXTRA CARE HERE: Cisco says the following workaround may affect the ability of VMO to do single sign-on.  We didn’t see it, but the guy we worked with did!  If you’re still game to try it, go to the Registry, navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Software > Cisco Systems > ViewMail for Outlook > Profiles > (username of the person) > Servers > Microsoft Exchange Server.  Look for the value named “PasswordEnc”.  This is the value that holds the hash.  Delete this value.  From that point on it won’t matter what case is used, the person will be able to log in.  This will continue to work unless the Initialization Wizard is run manually, at which point the hash will be recreated.  EXTRA WARNING: Cisco says this could affect the ability of VMO to do single sign-on, although that was not our experience.

Update: The word was that Cisco’s new version of ViewMail wouldn’t be case sensitive.  However, version 8.6.7 came out on 6/12/2012, we tested it, and it sufferes from the same issue.

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Nick Kelly

Cybersecurity Engineer, Cisco

Nick has over 20 years of experience in Security Operations and Security Sales. He is an avid student of cybersecurity and regularly engages with the Infosec community at events like BSides, RVASec, Derbycon and more. The son of an FBI forensics director, Nick holds a B.S. in Criminal Justice and is one of Cisco’s Fire Jumper Elite members. When he’s not working, he writes cyberpunk and punches aliens on his Playstation.


Virgilio “BONG” dela Cruz Jr.

CCDP, CCNA V, CCNP, Cisco IPS Express Security for AM/EE
Field Solutions Architect, Tech Data

Virgilio “Bong” has sixteen years of professional experience in IT industry from academe, technical and customer support, pre-sales, post sales, project management, training and enablement. He has worked in Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC) as a member of the WAN and LAN Switching team. Bong now works for Tech Data as the Field Solutions Architect with a focus on Cisco Security and holds a few Cisco certifications including Fire Jumper Elite.


John Cavanaugh

CCIE #1066, CCDE #20070002, CCAr
Chief Technology Officer, Practice Lead Security Services, NetCraftsmen

John is our CTO and the practice lead for a talented team of consultants focused on designing and delivering scalable and secure infrastructure solutions to customers across multiple industry verticals and technologies. Previously he has held several positions including Executive Director/Chief Architect for Global Network Services at JPMorgan Chase. In that capacity, he led a team managing network architecture and services.  Prior to his role at JPMorgan Chase, John was a Distinguished Engineer at Cisco working across a number of verticals including Higher Education, Finance, Retail, Government, and Health Care.

He is an expert in working with groups to identify business needs, and align technology strategies to enable business strategies, building in agility and scalability to allow for future changes. John is experienced in the architecture and design of highly available, secure, network infrastructure and data centers, and has worked on projects worldwide. He has worked in both the business and regulatory environments for the design and deployment of complex IT infrastructures.