Scheduling Assistant Free/Busy data could not be retrieved

Madalina Dinita
by Madalina Dinita
Managing Editor
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Scheduling Assistant Free/Busy data could not be retrieved

Microsoft Outlook users have been reporting all sorts of problems as of late. One such error is that Outlook Scheduling Assistant Free/Busy data could not be retrieved.

This error usually occurs when users try to schedule a meeting or after a mailbox is moved to Microsoft Office 365. If your account is hosted on an Exchange server and the Free/Busy data couldn’t be retrieved by Outlook, the information for other users will be displayed as slash marks.

Ready to solve these Free/Busy data retrieval issues in Outlook? Continue reading down below as we’ve mapped out a couple of procedures you can apply to fix some common Outlook Scheduling Assistant errors.

How can I fix Scheduling Assistant Free/Busy data could not be retrieved?

1. Change the default permissions

default permissions

It’s frustrating not having the chance to see the Free/Busy information for the mailbox in Scheduling Assistant. The issue sometimes further extends to no longer viewing the Calendar folder either.

You just receive a Could not be updated error message instead. Long story short, Scheduling Assistant makes cross-forest requests on behalf of the organization relationship instead of on behalf of the actual user who is requesting.

In a hybrid deployment, with the default permissions set to None or Contributor, no Free/Busy information can ever be natively displayed for remote users.

The mailbox owner can though solve this issue by changing the default permissions to Free/Busy time or Free/Busy time, subject, location.

Check permissions on the Calendar you would like to view Free/Busy information for. Right-click on Calendar > Properties > Permissions. While here, set the new permissions.

Note: The user has to be granted at least Reviewer permission to view calendar item details.


The modified permissions cannot be saved error in Outlook? Don’t worry, we’ve got an easy fix for you.


2. Clear the Auto-Complete caches

Empty Auto-Complete list

Changing permissions on Outlook Calendar solves the Scheduling Assistant Free/Busy data issues for most users. On the other hand, if this doesn’t happen to you too, then move on to the next solution.

Completely clear the auto complete caches via File > Options. Select Mail on the left pane, then scroll all the way down to the Send messages section. While there, just click the Empty Auto-Complete list button.


3. Verify Autodiscover CNAME record

Outlook Autodiscover

There’s also a high chance to find out that Autodiscover record is missing or is incorrectly set up. Verify that the Autodiscover CNAME record has been created for your domain.

Outlook 2007 and up discovers the Availability Service URL using the AutoDiscovery feature in the Exchange environment.


4. Outlook Scheduling Assistant not populating

Outlook Auto-Complete

You’ve just added new Rooms to Resources within the EAC, right? If older rooms auto populate after typing even half of the name, the latest rooms don’t do this. You can type half of the name, and AutoComplete won’t auto fill the rest.

You might even type the full name with exact spelling and capitalization, and it still won’t be recognized as a Room.

To fix this, clear out the Auto-Complete list. Click the Empty AutoComplete List button. Then, you’ll see a confirmation window about clearing the AutoComplete list, so click Yes.

Further troubleshoot the issue by making sure the room mailboxes are defined in Exchange as a room.


5. Turn on Public Folders when Scheduling Assistant is not showing conflicts

Scheduling Assistant Public Folders

You’re used to creating meeting requests using the Scheduling Assistant in Outlook, but there’s a problem when the notification Conflicts with another appointment is missing.

This indication of potential conflicting appointments is often related to improperly configured Public Folders.

If turned off, turn them back on. The Scheduling Assistant should start telling users once again that resources are already booked and invitations cannot be sent without changing the room or the time.

We hope these methods were helpful in solving Outlook Scheduling Assistant Free/Busy data issues. If you have any other questions or suggestions, don’t hesitate to leave them in the comments section below.

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