Exchange 2003 Hacks
Exchange Server 2003 is highly customizable and there are plenty of tips, tricks, tweaks and hacks floating around on the web. A lot of the tools and some of the tips have been well documented by the other MSExchange authors (see the links at the end of this article). Let’s take a look at some of the lesser known hacks you can apply to your Exchange organization.
Note: As with any change applied to an Exchange server, or any other server for that matter, always test the change in a test environment before implementing this in your production environment and always take and verify backups before making any change.
View SCL and SenderID Info in Outlook 2003 and OWA
Viewing the SCL of messages going through your Intelligent Message Filter (IMF) is very useful when configuring, monitoring and managing IMF. It is easy enough to configure this option however there is a file that you need to insert into your Office forms to enable this. Copy and paste the following text and save it as SCL.CFG to the %Program Files%\Microsoft Office\OFFICE11\FORMS\1033 directory.
;**********The CFG file**********
DisplayName=SCL Extension Form
Comment=This forms allows the SCL to be viewed as a column
With that in place open up Outlook and click on Tools > Options and then select the Other tab. From there click Advanced Options, then Custom Forms and then choose Manage Forms. In the Forms Manager click on Install and then browse to the directory with the SCL.CFG file and click Open. Click OK until you are back at the main Outlook interface and then right-click on Subject. From there choose Field Chooser and scroll through the drop down until you find Forms. Locate the SCL extension and drag it next to Subject and it will be dropped into the headings (see Figure 1).
Figure 1: SCL Headings
Now to view this in Outlook Web Access we need to make some more changes within Outlook. Start by sorting the view by SCL by clicking on the SCL heading. Now click on View > Arrange By > Current View > Define Views. Click on Copy and then enter the name of the SCL View and then choose “This folder, visible to everyone”. Click OK, then click on Fields and under “Show these fields in this order” choose SCL. Remove the Importance, Flag Status, Icon and Attachment views then click OK, OK and Apply View.
Click Send/Recieve before closing Outlook and then open up Outlook Web Access. Next to the OWA banner, choose the drop down for Two-Line View and choose SCL View (see Figure 2).
Figure 2: OWA SCL View
You can do the same thing with SenderID configuration by using the following CFG file. Same process just a different CFG.
;**********The CFG file**********
DisplayName=SenderID Extension Form
Comment=This forms allows the SenderID to be viewed in a column in Outlook
Using Connectors to Restrict Internet Mail
Another popular but not very well documented feature is the ability to restrict who can send mail to the Internet. If there are users in your organization who should only be sending email internally, this is a great way to restrict this. I’ve used this on internally based web forms so that they could not be abused and it works great. Best of all, it is easy to implement.
One method starts with opening Exchange System Manager and drilling down to Connectors. Right-click on Connectors and choose New > SMTP Connector. Enter a name for the Connector, I use Restrict Internet Mail so I’ll remember what it is for, and then choose a Local Bridgehead server (see Figure 3).
Figure 3: General Connector Properties
Click on Address Space, and then click Add. Choose SMTP and next to Email Domain enter *. Finally under Connector Scope choose Entire Organization (see Figure 4).
Figure 4: Restrict All Internet Mail
Now this is overly restrictive as it will block all Internet Mail. To customize this you can use the Internet Mail Wizard which is a well know tool that you are most likely familiar with (see Figure 5).
Figure 5: Launch Internet Mail Wizard
The registry holds most of the server configuration and settings and as such there are numerous registry hacks you can apply to customize the behaviour. Again, as previously stated, test all these changes in a lab environment first and ensure you have valid backups before you go ahead and apply this in your production environment.
Out of Office (OOF) messages are great for informing people that you are away and not able to respond to email immediately. The problem is that if there are people who are BCC’d, they all get a copy of this message. That can lead to a large number of messages generated. To prevent this open up the registry and drill down to
HKLM \ System \ CCS \ Services \ MSExchangeIS \ ParametersSystem \
Create a DWORD called SupressOOFsToDistributionLists and set the value to 1. You will need to perform this on all Exchange servers in your organization.
Another issue is the reformatting of DSNs but this can also be prevented with a simple registry tweak. Drill down to
HKLM \ System \ CCS \ Services \ MSExchangeIS \ParametersSystem \ InternetContent \
Create a DWORD called RenderDSNsAsMessages and set the value to 1. Again this needs to be done to all Exchange servers in your organization.
Alias matching is a feature, but it requires the user to place an equals sign (=) before the alias. This can be changed to not require the “=” with another simple reg tweak. Drill down to
HKLM \ Software \ Microsoft \ Exchange \ Exchange Provider \OAB Exact Alias Match
Create a DWORD value called “OAB Exact Alias Match” (no quotes) and give it a value of 1 as well. Once again this is done per server.
3rd Party Tools
There are some great applications available to help you manage and improve the usability of Exchange, Outlook and OWA. My favorites are:
OWANotify – This is my favorite application for mobile users who use Outlook Web Access. This little tray application polls OWA for you and pops up a message above the tray when a new message arrives. It works and looks just like the notification in Outlook 2003. Best of all it is free!
Contig – This is one of the many free tools available from SysInternals. Even with the recent buy out by Microsoft, the tools are still available and free. This tool is ideal for defragmenting the OST file which will improve the performance of Outlook.
Usage: contig –v –a –q –s path\to\outlook.ost
PAW 1.1 – PAW, also known as the Picture and Attachments Wizard, is an inexpensive add-in for Outlook that allows you to easily manage attachments sent via email. I cannot tell you how thankful I am for this little tool. If you send and/or receive a lot of pictures or attachments check this tool out. You will get hooked during the 45 day trial.
There are many things you can do to Outlook, OWA and Exchange. As stated, many of these have been covered at MSExchange.org and I hope I have given you a few more to try!