Exchange Server email certificate error

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This is Round 73 of my never-ending battle with my college’s Exchange Server. In the last round, I lost in attempting to access my college email using Outlook for Mac 2011. This time, I was trying to set up my college email account on my “Trophy Wife”, the HTC Trophy.

I used the settings that worked fine on my iPad 2 and on my Android devices. But this time I was greeted with:

"The security certificate on this server is invalid. Contact your Exchange Server Administrator or ISP to install a valid certificate on the server. Support code: 80072f0d."

According to Mr. Google, this is not an uncommon problem. So perhaps one or more of you may find useful my journey to a solution.

Not being on a first (or last) name basis with Mr. Error Code 80072f0d, I sought the help of my friend Mr. Google. The advice: Obtain the site’s certificate file and install it on your phone.

Installing it on the phone is easy enough. You email the certificate file to an email account on your phone, download the file, and click on it again to install it.

Obtaining the certificate file is a different issue. The process reminded me of a 60’s song, Easier Said Than Done.

I was told to just get the certificate file from the site administrator. However, to be fair, I doubt college IT gets these requests too often (if ever). Given the likely lack of an existing policy, the bureaucracy at our college and district would require them to kick the issue upstairs. And upstairs, the safe response is no. I had been down this road before. So I decided asking for the certificate file would be a last resort and instead try something else.

Mr. Google also told me that since I already could access the college’s Exchange Server on Outlook 2010 on my Windows desktop, I already had the certificate on my computer. But where, and under what name?

Using Internet Explorer, I entered the URL for the college’s Outlook Web Access. Once the site loaded, I clicked the lock icon to the right of the address. That enabled me to view information on the certificates. Though not to copy them.

I then opened Certificate Manager on my computer. I searched for one or more of the names on the certificates I viewed. I found a certificate. I exported it to my desktop. Then, following the procedure mentioned above, I emailed the certificate file to an email account on my phone, downloaded the file on my phone, and clicked on the file again to install it. Alas, once again my access to my college email was barred by Mr. Error Code 80072f0d.

I then remembered something that works well on BlackBerries when installing certificates: Power-cycle the phone. I did, and when it powered on, Nirvana! My first college email on my phone; an invitation to a college committee meeting. Maybe I was better off before I solved the problem Sad smile

The real moral of the story isn’t the college email server. It’s why this issue is such a big problem on Windows Phone 7 when it isn’t a problem on the iPad 2 or Android? Especially since Windows Phone 7 is made by the same folks (Microsoft) that makes Exchange Server.

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