Got Outlook Web App Premium for Chromium/Chrome on Ubuntu working!

TL;DR: Skip the next few paragraphs until you see “The Fix”

What a shitty title, but you had to find my post somehow. At my work, we use Exchange for internal mail and calendar stuff, which is fine. In pastimes, I’d use IMAP clients like Evolution or Thunderbird to connect to our exchange server, and do mail like that… but as time went on I grew tired of how sloppy those mail clients are. I can’t pinpoint the exact grudge I have against them, except that it’s just multiple usability issues which ended up pissing me off and moving me to use Outlook Web Access, also known as OWA.

Being the techie guy that I am, I like to use bleeding-edge whatever of as much as possible. Chromium beta channel for Ubuntu, then. This fix works for any version of chromium/chrome on Ubuntu, so don’t worry. Anyway, the problem with this is that Microsoft only supports a heavily nerfed version of Outlook Web Access (they call it Lite) for Chromium on Ubuntu. For a long time I was OK with that: The bells and whistles of the Deluxe version were too much for me.. so I coped. But with time, it got to the point where that annoyed me as well.

The Outlook Web Access Lite client doesn’t make use of any kind of scripting or advanced features anywhere it matters! It’s all plain HTML for that client. You can’t select multiple mails at once (one click per email) or anything like that. EXCEPT: When someone sends you a file that Outlook recognizes. I’m specifically thinking about attached mail files sent from other Outlook clients. Then you’re in for a fucking treat. Web access suddenly FORGETS that it’s a dumb html web interface and employs advanced techniques intended to make it as fucking hard as possible for you to just get the plain file and let you view the message headers: No no no, that would be too much to expect. You’re supposed to view the file as an Email, in Outlook Web Access Lite. What fucking cuntface decided to make that mandatory? It is in no way possible to download the email file to your computer. Fuck that shit. If I’m forced to use fancy features anyhow, I’m gonna want to use them all at once. Which leads me to…

The Fix

Go to http://ip.nixy.dk?useragent and copy the second line to your favourite text editor. It shoud look something like this:

Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64) AppleWebKit/535.11 (KHTML, like Gecko) Ubuntu/11.10 Chromium/17.0.963.79 Chrome/17.0.963.79 Safari/535.11

Now change the part that says (X11; Linux x86_64) to be (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64) and delete Ubuntu/11.10 (this could be different depending on what version of Ubuntu you’re running. Just delete it, for good measure)

Now go find yourself a User Agent Spoofer for your Chromium. I use this one, seing as it’s the first thing to come up in a google search. Go to the settings screen for the extension. Enter your custom User Agent in the list of Custom User Agents, and add your Outlook Web Access to the Permanent Spoof list.

You’re done! Go play with your fancy OWA. 🙂

9 comments

  1. Thanks, that’s sorted my school email out!

  2. Thanks a million! You just saved my life…! 🙂

  3. Dear DPIS,

    First off, thank you for trying to fix this awful M$oft limitation.

    Tried the instructions and is not working correctly. I would appreciate some guidance in resolving the issue, as it is the only reason that I have a windows partition installed on my machine.

    Followed all the instructions and replaced the line:

    Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux i686) AppleWebKit/537.4 (KHTML, like Gecko) Ubuntu/12.10 Chromium/22.0.1229.94 Chrome/22.0.1229.94 Safari/537.4

    with

    Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; MSIE 9.0; Windows NT 6.1; Trident/5.0) AppleWebKit/537.4 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chromium/22.0.1229.94 Chrome/22.0.1229.94 Safari/537.4

    Installed User Agent Switcher for Chrome:

    https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/user-agent-switcher-for-c/djflhoibgkdhkhhcedjiklpkjnoahfmg?hl=en-US&gl=US

    Set Permanent Spoof List:

    domain.com linked to Custom User-Agent String

    What happens is that it logs me in under OWA full version, but a number of fomatting issues exist and I cannot click any function. (compose mail, open mail, etc. do NOT work.)

    Please assist as you are able.

    Regards,

    Ssidwic

    • What’s happening is that the OWA is trying to serve you up with a fully-compatible IE9.0 interface. This is unwanted because they’re probably using ugly browser-specific hacks. If you ONLY change the Linux -> Windows part, it will work fully.

  4. I ended up finding a slightly easier solution after pulling my hair out for a while…:

    1. use “user agent switcher for chrome” (by Glenn Wilson) and not the other “user agent switcher” in the Chrome store.

    2. in the settings under “permanent spoof list”, add the different URLs needed and choose OSX Safari 5 (not Firefox 15 as some recommend, as it won’t let you drag emails to folders). I used these URLs:
    https://dbxprd0710.outlook.com
    – *.outlook.com
    https://db3prd0702.outlook.com
    https://login.microsoftonline.com

    Of course you might have to work with different URLs. Look in your browser bar at each stage of the login process to be sure.

    Even this doesn’t always work. If you exit Chrome and enter again, and you are still logged in, you might get the light WebApp. Log out and log back in.

  5. My solution is a variation on this. It is slightly less technical.

    1. make sure you use “user agent switcher for chrome” (by Glenn Wilson) and not the other “user agent switcher” in the Chrome store. (The link in the article is correct.)

    2. this is not enough as it will still not allow to drag and drop emails to folders so: choose OSX Safari 5 and not Firefox 15. This worked for me.

    3. I added different URLs to the permanent spoof list, not knowing which one is really crucial:
    https://dbxprd0710.outlook.com
    – *.outlook.com
    https://db3prd0702.outlook.com
    https://login.microsoftonline.com

    Of course you might have to work with different URLs. Look in your browser bar at each stage of the login process to be sure.

    Even this doesn’t always work. If you exit Chrome and enter again, and you are still logged in, you might get the light WebApp. Log out and log back in.

  6. Balaji Cherukuri

    I do not know what is happening now a days, in my Ubuntu it is no more working. 🙁

  7. Thank you so much for this…worked perfectly.

  8. Appreciate it! I was trying IE UA strings and getting the Active X prompt. If anybody wants a chuckle of irony read this post the IE team posted on mobile ua sniffing: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/ie/archive/2014/07/31/the-mobile-web-should-just-work-for-everyone.aspx

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