Exchange OWA logon customisations

There are several customisations that can be done to Exchange OWA so that the look and feel can be tailored to your company needs. The changes that are possible are:

  • Sign-in and Sign-out pages
  • OWA Logo
  • Font colors and styles
  • Themes and web-parts (not covered here)

How to customise OWA

Customisations have been documented in Technet and will simply link to them as they are a good resource.

Customize the Outlook Web App Sign-In and Sign-Out Pages
Create a Theme for Outlook Web App

Dealing with Update Rollups

There is another aspect that provides little or no documentation from Microsoft (and after having a request for some more info from my blog reader) decided to investigate.

The answer is quite simple really and there are some manual steps that need  to be taken when working with OWA customisations. Below is a response from a Microsoft technical engineer after logging a support incident:

When you apply an update rollup package, the update process overwrites the Microsoft Outlook Web App (OWA) files if it is necessary. If you change the Logon.aspx file or you change other OWA files, customizations are overwritten. Then, OWA is updated correctly. After you apply the update rollup package, you must re-create OWA customization in the Logon.aspx file. We recommend that you make a backup copy of customized OWA files before you apply the update rollup.

So far there is no way to stop this behavior.

I then clarified the above points with him:

  1. If the OWA files (images/ASPX/css/etc) files have been updated by ANY Update Roll-up including the one you are trying to apply or ANY prior Roll-ups the files will be overwritten. This means that if you are to install the current rollup, it will overwrite some files.
  2. You must manually copy over the modified files, unless the updated file is newer than the file you are copying, in which you will have to manually add the customisation to the new file. EG. Roll-up makes an update to logon.aspx, so now you have to manually modify the code with your changes so that both the Roll-up changes and your customisations are present.
  3. No automated way to do this.

Its all a bit grim but atleast its documented and people dont spend countless hours finding a way to do it programatically.

If you mark the files are Read Only, they will still be overwritten by the MSP install.
If you copy your ones straight over the new files you may have issues with OWA.

My Approach

  1. Dont bother with it, but I understand why you would
  2. When you modify the files, make sure you make a backup of the Original files and call it xxx_bkp.xxx where xxx is the filename/ext. Eg. logon_bkp.aspx and do not modify this file. When you install the Roll-up, you can compare your backup file with the newly overwritten file – if they are identical then you can simply overwrite the files with your modified file. If they are different then i recommend using windiff or similar tool to compare the two files and make the updates to the new file appropriately.
  3. Refer to this article every time you do a roll-up to refresh your memory.

More Info

Exchange Server and Update Rollups Builds Numbers
http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/exchange-server-and-update-rollups-builds-numbers.aspx

Microsoft support policy for the customization of Outlook Web Access for Exchange
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/327178

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