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Users start Outlook for the first time and must go through the Outlook wizard to set up their email account. This should not be the case, and the users should automatically sign into their Outlook with minimal user interaction. In this article, you will learn how to automate the mailbox configuration, also known as the Outlook profile configuration, for mailboxes in Exchange Server and Exchange Online.

Outlook new setup wizard

Let’s look at how it looks without setting up the automatic Outlook profile configuration.

  1. The user starts Outlook for the first time
  2. The email address is filled in, or the user has to fill in the email address
How to automate mailbox configuration connect
  1. Choose the email service

Note: Automating the Outlook profile creation works for Microsoft 365, Exchange, and Exchange 2013 or earlier.

How to automate mailbox configuration select email service
  1. Outlook is adding the account
How to automate mailbox configuration getting ready
  1. The account is successfully added
  2. Click Done
How to automate mailbox configuration account added

Many clicks before the Outlook profile is set up for the users. Something that you should automate and make it easier for the user.

Users should not have to see the Outlook setup wizard when they use Outlook for the first time. Everything should happen automatically, and Outlook needs to start successfully.

Let’s look at how to automate the Outlook configuration when starting Outlook for the first time.

How to configure Outlook automatic profile creation

The ZeroConfigExchange registry key will automatically configure the Outlook profile based on Active Directory’s primary SMTP address policy. Using Autodiscover, Outlook finds a new connection point made up of the user’s mailbox GUID + @ + the domain portion of the user’s primary SMTP address.

The automatic profile creation works for:

  • Exchange Server on-premises
  • Exchange Hybrid
  • Exchange Online (Microsoft 365)

To automate the Outlook profile creation, follow the below steps.

Create a GPO

Sign in to your Domain Controller, create a new GPO, and link the GPO to the user group.

Create three registry keys

Edit the new GPO and create 3 registry keys:

How to automate mailbox configuration registry keys

To better understand what you need to fill in for every registry key, let’s look at them one by one.

Important: The number in the key path represents the Outlook version.

16.0 = 2016/2019/2021/365
15.0 = 2013
14.0 = 2010

This is what the registry keys look like for ZeroConfigExchange:

  • Key Path: Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Outlook\AutoDiscover
  • Value name: ZeroConfigExchange
  • Value type: REG_DWORD
  • Value data: 1
How to automate mailbox configuration ZeroConfigExchange

This is what the registry keys look like for DefaultProfile:

  • Key Path: Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Outlook
  • Value name: DefaultProfile
  • Value type: REG_SZ
  • Value data: OutlookAuto
How to automate mailbox configuration DefaultProfile

This is what the registry keys look like for OutlookAuto:

  • Key Path: Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Outlook\Profiles\OutlookAuto
  • Value name: Default
  • Value type: REG_SZ
  • Value data: empty
How to automate mailbox configuration OutlookAuto

Verify registry keys

Start Command Prompt and run gpupdate /force to retrieve the new GPO with the added registry keys. Next, sign off the user and sign in again. Or reboot the machine to have the changes take effect.

Start Registry Editor on the computer and check that the three registry keys are added.

DefaultProfile with the data OutlookAuto.

ZeroConfigExchange with the data 1.

OutlookAuto registry key added with the Default name.

Go to Control Panel and click on Mail (Microsoft Outlook). Verify that you see the OutlookAuto profile

How to automate mailbox configuration Outlook profile name

Note: Suppose you remove the Outlook profile. Run gpupdate /force or sign off and sign in with the user so a couple of the registry keys get added again before you start Outlook.

How it works after automating Outlook profile creation

After implementing the above three registry keys, let’s see how it looks when the user starts Outlook for the first time.

Start Outlook and it will load the mailbox.

There are no steps involved to set up Outlook for the user. Everything works seamlessly.

That’s it!

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