Autodiscover Service (SOAP) in Exchange 2010

Last modified: May 27, 2009

Applies to: Exchange Server 2007 | Exchange Server 2010

The SOAP Autodiscover service provides a mechanism that allows you to automatically configure Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 client applications to access the Client Access server. SOAP provides the messaging framework for messages sent between the client application, and the Exchange server and the SOAP messages are sent by HTTP. Autodiscover provides a powerful tool for configuring client application profiles that are used to discover Exchange Web Services and associated mailbox information. Autodiscover provides configuration information inside or outside firewalls. In addition, Autodiscover will work in resource forest and multiple forest scenarios.

The SOAP Autodiscover service is described by two files:

  • Services.wsdl   Describes the contract between the client and the server.

  • messages.wsdl   Defines the request and response SOAP messages and the elements used in the SOAP messages.

These schema files are located in the Autodiscover virtual directory of the computer that is running Exchange 2010 that has the Client Access server role installed.

You can use Microsoft Visual Studio to develop client applications that use the SOAP Autodiscover service. Visual Studio and the Microsoft .NET Framework provide a set of tools that you can use to create Web service–based client applications. Visual Studio provides a tool named wsdl.exe that is used to create proxy classes in C# or VB.NET. Web services proxy classes act as an interface for client/Web server communications. The proxy classes provide user-friendly abstractions of the XML messages, XML serialization, and formation of the HTTP requests and responses that are sent between the client and server. The .NET Framework provides classes that are used to create and read SOAP messages. These classes provide access to the XML DOM and XML readers/writers.


For Exchange 2010 and later versions, we recommend that you use the SOAP Autodiscover service instead of the POX Autodiscover service for the following reasons:

  • The SOAP Autodiscover service supports batch requests.

  • The SOAP Autodiscover service provides the ability to request only the settings that you need.

  • The SOAP Autodiscover service has first-class support in the Microsoft Exchange Web Services Managed API.

  • In the future, all new Autodiscover features will be added to the SOAP Autodiscover service but not to the POX Autodiscover service.