Issues with setting default language for Outlook Web App 2010

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Now and then I get request to implement a default language for Outlook Web Access or App. This meant that users already had their language and regional settings set for OWA. Exchange only asks this the first time the user logs into OWA, this is because the language code is set to 0. It’s just a little service for your users for when you are certain the organization only uses one language.

The solution was to set the default language on the OWA virtual directory. This has worked fine in Exchange 2007, but I have discovered some issue that took some time to figure out.

First off, according to this Technet article, setting it to the preferred language code should make this work. The syntax would be:

Set-OwaVirtualDirectory -identity "Owa (Default Web Site)"
-DefaultClientLanguage <language code>

For Dutch, the language code would be 1043.

This seemed to work fine, no screen for default language and regional settings appeared anymore for new users. But, whenever the user tried to enter the option screen, the language screen reappeared! Setting the language only resulted in a server error. Every time. Hence, the user could not enter the options screen in OWA anymore. In which you could set regional settings….

It seems as this is a bug. Luckily resetting is possible by setting the language code to 0.

The aforementioned Technet article has a workaround, unfortunately one that has to be implemented on a per mailbox basis. So, this has to be set on every new mailbox. The syntax is:

Set-Mailbox -identity <mailbox identity> -languages <language code>

However, the value <language code> seems not to be the codes in the table shown in the article. The correct input for Dutch was NL-nl, and probably for US English EN-us. That is not explicitly mentioned in the article and cannot be deduced from the help page on the cmdlet set-mailbox.

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