Understanding Mailbox Enabled and Mail Enabled Recipients in Exchange 2003

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What is the difference between a Mailbox enabled recipient and a Mail enabled recipient?

A Mailbox enabled recipient can log on to network resources and can access domain resources. Users can be added to groups and appear in the global address list. Mailbox-enabled recipients can send and receive messages and store messages on their Exchange server mailboxes. You can use mailbox enabled recipients for all aspects and functions in Exchange Server 2003.

A Mail enabled recipient can receive messages only at an external e-mail address. The mail enabled recipient cannot send or store messages on Exchange message stores. A mail enabled user has an account in Active Directory but no Exchange mailbox. A mail enabled user is listed in the global address list. This enables other users to easily locate and send e-mail to a mail enabled user even if the account does not have a mailbox in the Exchange organization. For example, you may create a mail enabled user for onsite contract employees who require access to the network but who want to continue receiving their e-mail through their Internet service provider.

Mailbox enabled recipients

Start Active Directory Users and Computers to create a new Mailbox enabled recipient.

Figure 1: Create a Mailbox enabled recipient

After successful account creation you can see several additional maps with possible Exchange configuration settings as you can see in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Mailbox enabled recipient properties

Mail enabled recipients

Now it is time to create an mail enabled recipient. The only initial difference between the creation of a mailbox enabled recipient and a mail enabled recipient is that you clear the checkbox Create an Exchange mailbox until account creation.

Figure 3: Create a mail enabled recipient

After you have successfully finished the account creation click into the account properties and you will notice that there are no additional Exchange maps. Additional Exchange maps don’t appear until you assign an E-Mail address for this account.

Figure 4: Mail enabled recipient properties before E-mail address establishment

Now it is time to establish an E-Mail address for the newly created account. Right click the account – click Exchange Tasks and select Establish E-mail Address.

Figure 5: Establish an E-Mail Address

You must assign an External E-mail Address for this account. In our example we will create the external SMTP E-Mail Address [email protected], shown in Figure 6.

Figure 6: Assign a SMTP E-Mail address

After mail enabling this account you can see additional Exchange maps for this account as shown in Figure 7. As you can see there are no options to configure mailbox properties like Mailbox Store limits and Exchange features like OWA and OMA.

Figure 7: Mail enabled recipient properties after E-Mail address assignment – Part I

There are still more differences between mailbox enabled accounts and mail enabled accounts. In Figure 8 under Exchange Advanced you cannot see the button to assign mailbox rights because this account has no mailbox.

Figure 8: Mail enabled recipient properties after E-Mail address assignment – Part II

Differences between mailbox enabled recipients and mail enabled recipients in LDP.EXE

For our last example of the differences between Mailbox enabled recipients and mail enabled recipients we will use the LDP tool from the Windows Server 2003 support tools. You can use LDP.EXE after you install the Windows Server 2003 support tools from the Windows Server 2003 installation media. The support tools can be found in the support directory on the CD. After installing the Support Tools, start LDP.EXE, bind to the directory and select the Mailbox enabled recipient. On the right hand side you can see the attributes and values for mailbox enabled accounts. 

Mailbox enabled recipient (MBEA)

Figure 9: Mailbox enabled recipient view with LDP.EXE

As an example notice the following attributes for the mailbox enabled account:

  • msExchangeHomeServerName
  • msExchangeMailboxGuid

This attributes (and some more) are unique to mailbox enabled accounts.

Mail enabled recipient (MEA)

After viewing the attributes for the Mailbox enabled account select the mail enabled account in LDP and there will be displayed the attributes and values for this account as shown in Figure 10.

Figure 10: Mail enabled recipient view with LDP.EXE


I hope that you understand the difference between Mailbox enabled users and Mail enabled users and how to use them in Exchange Server 2003. The important difference between a Mailbox enabled account and a Mail enabled account is only the assigned mailbox for the mailbox enabled account.

Related Links

Exchange User and Group Management

Mailbox Management in Exchange Server 2003

Windows 2000 Contacts and Users

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