Managing Exchange 2007 Recipients using the Active Directory Users and Computers MMC Snap-in


One of the things that have changed drastically with Exchange Server 2007 is the way in which you manage recipients. As most of us are aware, back in Exchange 2000 and 2003, recipients were managed using the Active Directory Users and Computers (ADUC) MMC snap-ins. However with Exchange 2007, the recipient management tasks have been removed from ADUC and integrated back into the Exchange Management Console. So this means things, once again, look similar to how they did prior to Exchange Server 2000. In addition to performing the recipient tasks using the Exchange Management Console, you of course also have the option of using the Exchange Management Shell, which is perfectly suited for performing bulk user changes typically using one-liners (single line commands).


Let me be honest and say there has been a lot of hype on the Internet about whether moving the management of recipients to the Exchange Management Console was a good idea or not. During the Exchange 2007 Technology Adoption Program (TAP) and the Exchange 2007 Rapid Deployment Program (RDP), many Exchange administrators, as well as independent consultants, expressed their opinion about this decision. The majority of them thought it was a bad decision primarily because it leads to huge retraining costs (for service desk etc.), and means you suddenly have to administer users using two different consoles, the ADUC snap-in and the EMC. I think the overall concern is valid but, at the same time, kind of understand the Exchange Product group’s decision to make the move. Since the group has no intention of changing this anytime soon, we’ll have to live with it for now or do we?


No we do not. In this article I will explain how you with the help of a nifty little 3rd party utility once again can move back and start using the ADUC MMC snap-in to manage Exchange related tasks for mail and mailbox-enabled users in your Active directory domain.


Installing Exchange Tasks 2007


The very first thing you want to do is to download a demo version of Exchange Tasks 2007 here. Next extract the binaries to a folder and then launch the setup wizard by executing Setup.exe. On the introduction page shown in Figure 1, click Next.



Figure 1: Exchange 2007 Tasks 2007 Setup Introduction page


Accept the license agreement and then click Next. Also accept the default installation path and click Next (Figure 2).



Figure 2: Installation Path


On the Confirm Installation page, click Next to begin the installation process. When the installation has completed, click Close to exit the Setup wizard (Figure 3).



Figure 3: Installation completed successfully


Mail or Mailbox-enabling Users


Alright with Exchange Tasks 2007 installed, we can begin to look at the features included in the tool. First, I want to show you how Active Directory objects are mail or mailbox-enabled. Since everything is done from within the ADUC MMC snap-in, click Start and type DSA.MSC and then hit enter.


In the ADUC snap-in, select one or more Active Directory user objects, then right-click and on the context menu select Exchange Tasks (U-Btech) as shown in Figure 4.



Figure 4: Selecting Active Directory User objects in the ADUC MMC Snap-in


After a few seconds a new windows will open. Here you’ll see the selected AD user objects listed in the left pane and in the right pane you can see the tasks available for the user objects. Since they are neither mail nor mailbox-enabled, the only tasks available is to either mail or mailbox enable them (Figure 5).



Figure 5:
Selected AD user objects listed in the Exchange 2007 Tasks window


Let’s first try the Create an E-Mail Address (aka mail-enable) task. You’ll be asked whether you really want to run this task for all the selected AD user objects (Figure 6). Click Yes.



Figure 6: Confirming you want to run this task for all selected AD user objects


You’ll now be prompted to enter the external E-Mail address that should be stamped on the AD user objects (Figure 7). Do so for each and click OK.



Figure 7: Entering the external SMTP address that should be stamped on each AD User object


When you have entered an SMTP address for each AD user, you’ll be presented by a running tasks window, where you can see how long in the process Exchange Tasks 2007 are as shown in Figure 8. When the tasks have completed, click Finish.



Figure 8: Task that stamps the external SMTP addresses on the AD user objects


Let’s try to open the Exchange Management Console in order to confirm these users now are listed as valid Mail Contacts (Figure 9).



Figure 9: Mail-enabled users listed as Mail Contacts in the Exchange Management Console


I won’t go through the process of Mailbox-enabling users since you now have the idea of how this is accomplished. I just want to mention that when you mailbox-enable AD users, you specify the server, storage group and mailbox database where the Mailbox should be created as shown in Figure 10.



Figure 10: Specifying where the User Mailboxes should be created


Also note you can select these settings to apply for all selected users.


Managing Mail and Mailbox-enabled Users


Now that we have mail and mailbox-enabled a couple of users, let’s see how these users are managed. As can be seen in Figure 11 below, I’ve selected 10 mailbox-enabled. Notice all the tasks available in the tasks list in the right pane. We now have the option of either deleting mailboxes, mov the mailboxes to another server, storage group or mailbox database, hide/unhide them from the Address list (GAL) as well as get mailbox statistics for them.



Figure 11: Managing Mailbox-enabled Users


In addition, we can configure mailbox settings such as add/remove E-mail addresses (Figure 12).



Figure 12: Adding or removing E-Mail addresses


We can set delivery options (Figure 13).



Figure 13: Delivery Option Settings


Set message size restrictions as shown in Figure 14.



Figure 14: Storage Quota Settings


We can set message delivery restrictions (Figure 15).



Figure 15: Message Delivery Restrictions


And set messaging records (Figure 16)



Figure 16: Messaging Records Management


Set storage quotas (Figure 17).



Figure 17: Storage Quota Settings


And finally enable or disable mailbox features such as OWA, EAS, MAPI, IMAP4, POP3, and UM (Figure 18).



Figure 18:
Enabling or disabling Mailbox Features


As you can see, basically all the settings you can control via the Exchange Management Console.


Same is true for mail-enabled user settings as shown in Figure 19.



Figure 19: Mail-enabled users settings


Mail-enabling and Managing Groups


In addition to mail and mailbox enabling users, you can of course also mail-enable AD security groups, so that can be used as distribution groups (Figure 20).



Figure 20: Mail-enabling a Security group


Figure 21 shows the tasks and settings available for a mail-enabled security group (aka distribution group).



Figure 21: Settings available for a distribution group


Conclusion


For those organizations that insist on continuing to use the Active Directory Users and Computers (ADUC) MMC snap-in to manage mail or mailbox enabled users, contacts and groups, the Exchange Tasks 2007 utility is exactly what you need. This utility makes it very simple and easy to configure the most important settings on users, contacts or distribution groups on an individual basis or in bulk. Actually it reminds me a little of ADModify.NET (which has been a favorite utility of mine for many years).


Besides what we covered here, the guys behind the Exchange 2007 Tasks utility have plans on adding features such as Export to PST, Export to Mailbox, a fully integrated Active Directory property page for valid recipient objects, the ability to handle and manage Dynamic Distribution Groups, a Hide Group Members task, the ability to handle and manage Resource Mailboxes, improved management of Unified Messaging and more to future versions of the product.


I urge you to take a look at Exchange Tasks 2007. I bet you will like it.

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