Reserve User Properties

This section only applies to Mailbox or Public Folder updates and is ignored for Attachment updates.

Reserved Properties allow you to designate fields that Epicenter Server will never overwrite. Users can safely put information into these fields and that information will not be changed or deleted by Epicenter Server. For example, you could designate Home Phone and Home Address to be reserved. End users would then be able to add this information to contacts created by Epicenter and Epicenter would not overwrite it.

This feature is particularly useful when you are distributing updates to the default Contacts folder in Outlook. By default, Epicenter Server will overwrite existing contacts that match. You can use Reserve User Properties to ensure that user data in fields like Notes or Home Phone won't be overwritten.

Hint: you should select Comment to reserve the Notes field in Outlook.

Prevent Overwrites of Existing Contacts

This feature is particularly useful with Android and Windows Phone devices to prevent users from losing data in the initial sync.

The problem happens when:

  • End users have coworkers in their default Contacts folders in Outlook.
  • Epicenter is required to write contacts to this folder because Android (pre-4.2.2) and Windows Phone devices don't support syncing subfolders with contacts.
  • Epicenter will "take over" and overwrite any contacts that match a contact being distributed.

Using Reserved Properties allows you to define fields that aren't present in the GAL and so make sense for a user to manage themselves.

Note that a field is either completely reserved or completely not reserved. There's no intermediate setting for something like "write the field if the user doesn't have anything there." Such a setting would "sometimes" work, and whether it works or not depends on what Epicenter found when it first wrote the contacts sometime in the distant past. This is not a manageable scenario.

Setting Reserved Properties

The Reserve User Properties command is found under the Tools menu. It opens this window:

This command allows you to choose fields in Outlook that will be reserved for each end-user when Epicenter updates contacts. End users can put data into these fields from Outlook, OWA or their phones and Epicenter will not overwrite or delete that data.

Selected fields are reserved. Unselected fields (as shown in the picture above) are not reserved. Reserving a field is an all-or-nothing choice. If a field is reserved, then Epicenter will never overwrite it, even if the field in the end-user's mailbox is empty.

Using "Never delete contacts"

Do not use "Never delete contacts" if you have Outlook 2010 clients running the Outlook Social Connector (OSC), which is the default in Outlook 2010. You will end up with many duplicates if you use this combination. Related symptoms of this problem can be seen in

The “Never delete” checkbox at the bottom of this dialog allows you to decide what happens when Epicenter needs to delete a contact that contains data entered by the end-user in any of the Reserved Properties fields. If you check this box, then Epicenter does the following instead of deleting a contact that contains user data:

  • Removes internal markers on the contact indicating that it’s being controlled by Epicenter.
  • Removes data from all fields controlled by Epicenter, except for the display name.
  • Retains data entered by the user.
  • Moves the contact to the default Contacts folder, if necessary.