Wednesday, November 10, 2010

BPOS: Setting up Email on a Blackberry Device

I recently have been working with Microsoft Online Services since it provides a viable solution for my friend's up-and-coming campaign for a certain elected position. When signing up for BPOS or one of the other online services, you need to select a domain. The resultant final domain becomes <domain entered>

Since we didn't want the user's email addresses to be so long like that, we added our own domain which we registered for public website purposes. I have the steps posted on the RDA Collaboration Blog here.
Anyway, after setting up the Exchange Online Services, my friend wanted to access the email from his Blackberry device which looks like it runs a flavor of Outlook. The interface, instructions, and messages were a bit confusing or misleading and it took several tries to enter the right information in the right locations to add the email to his device.

For example purposes, let's say the domain that we added was named "". When I added the users, even though it requires a first and last name, I only used their first name as the user name (per my friend's request). So a valid email for this Exchange server would be A temporary password is assigned and when the user logs into MOS for the first time, they are prompted to change it.

So the first step was to click on Add a New Email on the Blackberry. You are prompted to use POP/SMTP or Outlook Web Access (OWA). Select the the OWA option and hit enter. That renders a screen asking for a Username and Password. For this prompt enter the email address for the username and then the email password. There is a Show Password button on the Blackberry screen which will umask the entered values - highly recommended! - with the need for upper case and numbers it is real easy to type the wrong password with those micron-sized keys.

The request is processed and the first misleading error message is presented. The messages states something like "The username and/or password are wrong. blah blah blah...or additional information is required". My friend thought it was the wrong password but it wasn't. In reality additional information was required. Those words are a link that you need to click such that you can enter the additional information.

When the additional information page comes up, you are asked for the OWA address. Here we go. There were several iterations of trial and error to figure out which URL to use. The important URL listings for OWA within BPOS are posted here.

There is a seperate section for OWA Access and Mobile access URLs. The prompt asks for the OWA Server URL but it is a Mobile device. So which one to use? I think both will actually work as if you type the OWA address in a broswer it resolves the Mobile address (adds the Redmond server prefix e.g. red001), however, I used the Mobile device listing from that list making sure to use the https:// and not http://.

Now, the screen also prompts for a User Name. Now since we were in the Exchange settings I was thinking that this was the first and last name of the user I created in BPOS or even just the first name. Nope! It is still the email address (e.g. The example on the screen domain/lisa.perry really makes you think it's the user you setup - but if you think about AD names and such it makes sense - but my friend is not technical..

Next, it asks for a mail box name. Oh boy. In Outlook and OWA on the laptop, the mailbox is showing the full name - so is that the mailbox or is just the username in front of the "@"? After doing it wrong the first few times, it is indeed just the userrname in front of the "@" in the email address (e.g. steve). The example on the screen does elude to this.

Entering this information correctly allowed us to easily setup the email account on his Blackberry device. It does take up to 20 minutes before the email starts sync'ing properly. Hopefully this provides some claification and saves someone some time. We searched online for the correct values to use but with no luck.

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  1. Great Instructions - Thanks.

    However I have found that if the email is read on the main mailbox, it does not get marked as read on the blackberry. Have you experienced this?


  2. This is similiar to using Outlook to grab your internet provider email (e.g. Comcast, Verizon). When the client application (regardless of Blackberry, Latptop, PC, iPad, etc.) retrieves the emails from the email server source they come in as unread because Outlook sees them as new emails and doesn't know or care that they were read on the source server. Has nothing to do with Blackberry or BPOS.

  3. OMG! Steve!! I love you- I have been messing with this for HOURS!! it was the user name same as the email address that was throwing me off- Got it! Thank you

  4. No problem Dana! I am glad this helped.