ActiveSync Random Password Prompts Fixed

They were getting random prompts for passwords in ActiveSync on Windows Mobile 6.0 and 6.1.  They had Exchange 2007, and ISA Server 2006, but this problem showed up months after Exchange was migrated to 2007.  It seemed random.  The error on ActiveSync was the generic:

please log in access was denied 0x85010002

In the ISA Monitoring you would see a denied connection on your ActiveSync rule with this status:

12239 The server requires authorization to fulfill the request. Access to the Web server is denied. Contact the server administrator.

I tested with Windows Mobile Emulator from outside the firewall and was able to reproduce the error within hours (just letting it sit there).

I first thought this was the HTTP session timeout that changed with a Exchange 2003  service pack when Direct Push came out back in 2005.  I remembered that setting and looked under the ISA Web Listener for ActiveSync on the Connections tab>Advanced>“connection timeout”.  The wizard had correctly set it to 1800 seconds (30 minutes). No dice.

I poked around the web listener settings some more and noticed the timeout settings for forms authentication were set (this same web listener was used for OWA).  ISA is supposed to be smart enough to not apply any of the forms auth settings to clients that don’t support it (falling back to basic auth as with ActiveSync).

ISA Web Listener Advanced Form Options

Tom and the forums at confirmed my suspicion.  The forms auth timeout was indeed affecting ActiveSync.  To find it, look for the web listener of your ActiveSync rule, go to properties>Forms tab>Advanced> and make sure “apply session timeout to non-browser clients” is unchecked.