Normally Outlook AutoDiscover works as expected and no tweaking is necessary.
Outlook AutoDiscover is a process which follows a certain series of steps to locate settings for a particular user's email account. Based on nothing more than the email address, AutoDiscover normally can locate all necessary settings including server names and other specifics. Outlook requires AutoDiscover, it is not optional. AutoDiscover is performed when a new account is added and it is performed continually on existing accounts.
In some cases it may be necessary to help the AutoDiscover process by directing it to skip certain steps, if and when those steps have become problematic in the particular user's case.
Recently we've seen Outlook AutoDiscover failing in some cases where the user has a Microsoft online or Office 365 account under the same email address as the Webville-hosted email account. This results in Outlook attempting to connect to outlook.com instead of connecting to the Webville servers.
This can result in:
If you see errors similar to these you can tweak Outlook AutoDiscover and force it to skip Office 365, which will enable it to locate your Webville-hosted email account.
Tweaking AutoDiscover involves making changes to the Windows Registry on your computer. If you're not comfortable making changes to Windows Registry you may want to seek help from an administrator.
To force AutoDiscover to skip Office 365, create the following registry entry:
Value = 1
Step by step instructions for implementing this registry change are shown in option 1 available here.
Close Outlook before implementing the registry tweak. After implementing the registry tweak, restart your computer, reopen Outlook, remove any erroneous Outlook profiles and create a new Outlook profile. Steps for creating Outlook profiles are available here.
Specifically, AutoDiscover failed because it was directed to Office 365 for account settings in step 4 of the AutoDiscover process. AutoDiscover never made it to step 9 of the AutoDiscover process where it would have located the correct settings from Webville's servers. Full details of Outlook's AutoDiscover process and all the steps involved are available here.
If you're annoyed this registry tweak is necessary, you're not alone. A brilliant rant which illustrates the frustration a small hosting provider or corporate email administrator feels as a result of Microsoft's decision to create this problem is available here.
If you have trouble with these instructions, or comments about how to make this page more useful to other clients, please let us know.