Using General Purpose Public Folder Trees in Exchange 2003

I recently taught an Exchange class, and on the class were a couple of people in the class who worked for, we talked about Public Folders and I demonstrated how to configure a new Public Folder tree and access it via web browser, this is something they are interested in doing to allow people outside of there organization to collaborate with each other, so here is the article I promised I would do for them.

Creating a new Public Folder Tree in Exchange

When you install Exchange, a MAPI Public Folder tree is created for you by default, this tree can be access via MAPI clients, HTTP, IMAP and NNTP, you also have the option to create additional trees, these are called General Purpose Public Folder Trees and can only be accessed via HTTP or NNTP.

To create a new General Purpose Public Folder Tree follow the steps below:

1. Open Exchange System Manager

2. Right click over the Folders container, select New > Public Folder Tree, the Properties dialog box will now appear.

3. In the Properties dialog box enter a suitable name for your new Public Folder Tree, for this article we are going to call in Communities, and then click OK.

4. You will now see the new Public Folder Tree that you have created appear if you expand the Folders container.

We now need to create a new Public Folder Store and associate it with the new Public Folder Tree that we have just created.

1. In Exchange System Manager, right click over the Storage Group that you would like the new Store to be created in and select New > Public Store, the Properties dialog box will now appear.

2. Give your new Public Folder Store a suitable name and then click the Browse button next to Associated Public Folder Tree, and select the Public Folder Tree that you created earlier.

3. Now, because the Public Folders that we create in this Store are going to be used by members of the public we might want to limit the size of the message that they can post into it, you might not want people outside of your organization uploading large attachments to the Public Folder, so click on the Limits tab and set the Maximum Item Size to a suitable value, for my example I only want people to post text messages so a size of around 20K should be enough.

4. While we are on the Limits tab, you might also want to configure this Store to automatically delete messages older than a certain number of days, this way the folders in this Store will not consume large amounts of disk space, you can do this by setting the Age Limits field, I am going to set mine to 14 days.

5. Click OK to exit the Public Folder Store properties, and then click Yes to create and mount the new Store.

Making the new Store Available via a Web Browser

1. In Exchange System Manager navigate to your HTTP Virtual Server.

2. Right click over the Exchange Virtual Server container and select New > Virtual Directory, the Properties dialog box will now appear.

3. Enter an appropriate name, this is the name that the user will enter in the url to access the folders via their web browser, so you don’t really want to make it a large name or include spaces and special characters.

4. Check the Public Folder radio button in the Exchange Path section.

5. Click the Modify button and select the Public Folder Tree that you created earlier.

6. Because we are going to make these folders available to people outside of our organization we will need to enable Anonymous access, to do this click on the Access tab, and then click on the Authentication button, and check the Anonymous Access checkbox, click OK to close the Authentication dialog box, and click OK to close the Virtual Directory properties.

Once you have created the new Virtual Directory, you are all ready to go, the url to access the folders will be something like this:

http://yourserver/<virtual directory name>

I hope this article helps with understand how you can use extra Public Folder Trees to share information using Microsoft Exchange.

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