Blank page (auth.owa Http 500) when logging into Outlook Web Access running on Exchange 2010

Recently had to restart a client’s server after running some Windows Updates. A few hours after the restart the client contacted me stating that they couldn’t access their e-mails via the web.  I quickly had a look, the login page presented itself, so I logged in and after clicking Sign in I was presented with a blank page pointing to auth.owa.  This was a little puzzling as there were no updates for Exchange so why did it break?  Checking the IIS logs, I found that the error was 500 which indicated some kind of authentication error.

A little powershell cmdlet you can run is Test-OWAConnectivity. So I ran the cmdlet and recieved WARNING: An unknown failure occurred during logon. So I checked IIS and ensured that all of the authentication was set correctly and indeed it was.  So after some poking around on the web I found out Exchange 2010 palms off the Forms Based Authentication to a seperate Service called  Microsoft Exchange Forms-Based Authentication Service. Starting this service fixed the blank page issue and allowed clients to authenticate correctly.

74 thoughts to “Blank page (auth.owa Http 500) when logging into Outlook Web Access running on Exchange 2010”

  1. Thanks, worked for me. The service was set to start Automatically but had not started as well.

  2. cool worked for me.. i check auth, bindings, recreacted vdir’s almost was thinking of installing latest roll up thinking that this is a themes issue..

  3. Hi,
    I’ve been suffering this problem. Thanks a lot for the workaround. It helped me a lot. Any idea why it is not starting when booting the server.

  4. Thanks a lot, this helped. has anyone figured out why the service does not start automatically even though set to start automatically?

    1. This happened again the other day on an SBS 2011 Standard Server. There wasn’t anything in the event log about the service not being able to start. I believe it could just be an issue in the way the services start-up. At the time we were removing Hyper-V which could have affected the start-up process.

  5. It seems like the only way to resolve this is to set the service startup to automatic with delayed start. Worked for me! Thanks for the great find!

    1. Hi Pete. I’ve actually tried this and it seems to be working fine at the one site this continually happens to me. Good find.

  6. Unfortunately I did not manage to see the service to restart it. I am running Windows Server 2008 R2, and installed Exchange 2010. Please help.

    1. The Server must have the CAS roles installed for the service to be there.

      Open up a command prompt window and type in sc query MSExchangeFBA and see what you get.

  7. Wow, I find this 2 years later and it worked for me. I checked all Exchange services, all working, then rebooted the server and the Forms Based Auth service was not running (even when it’s set to Automatic Start). Started the service, checked OWA and working again.


  8. Thanks So much!! We had an old 2003 server crash today, but shouldn’t have had anything to do with this and it didn’t…

    Had me worried till I found this and tried it. Thank goodness for the tech community and sharing or we would all be much worse off and staying places all weekend, in my case at a school.

  9. Thanks!!!! Just experienced this with our new Exchange 2010 environment after its first real update. The service was not running on one of our two CAS so OWA was working for some but not others. Thank you again!!!!

  10. THANK YOU! I have been scratching my head on this after a planned server reboot for an appassure agent install…how did I overlook that service? 😛

  11. And Microsoft managed to screw this up again. There is no such service in Exchange 2013 and I still have the problem.

  12. This helped a ton! Not sure why the service stopped but after reading this and restarting the service all is well now 🙂

  13. thanks for the info !

    I have since set that service to delayed start, rather than just automatically and it hasn’t not started again!

  14. Happened to me after update rollup 15 on exchange 2010 SP3 on CAS server.
    Thanks for lowering my blood pressure quick !!

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