Exchange Server 2007 - Recipient Types
Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 - Recipient Types
For old timers, Microsoft's new way of categorizing Exchange 2007 recipients takes some getting used to. Part of the problem is that there are just more and more types of recipient, each of which needs a new name. Another factor seems to be that in Exchange 2007, Microsoft has decided to 'bite the bullet' and re-define old names that are misleading, or no longer make sense. Rather like 100 years ago when they changed the name of the horseless carriage to the car.
The final factor may be my prejudice for short names such as 'distribution list', whereas Americans in general, and Microsoft in particular, prefer long names such as 'Mail-enabled universal distribution group'.
Exchange 2007 Recipient Types
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Three questions to make sense of Exchange's recipient naming policy
While I have been rude about Microsoft's written description of Exchange 2007 recipients, I would like to praise their graphics. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then an icon must be worth a hundred words. This is how you create a User mailbox
Mail-enabled universal distribution group (DL)
Potential confusion: In Active Directory, a distribution group means that the object does not have a security context, therefore it has no associated Active Directory account. In contrast, Exchange 2007, calls all mail-enabled groups distribution groups. Exchange 2007 terminology does not differentiate between universal distribution groups with, or without, a security context. Confused? Just create a few objects, and the wizards will magically disolve your mist of bewilderment.
Import users from a spreadsheet, complete with their mailbox. Just provide a list of the users with the fields in the top row, and save as .csv file. Then launch this FREE utility, match your Exchange fields with AD's attributes, click and import the users. Optionally, you can provide the name of the OU where the new mailboxes will be born.
Mail-enabled universal security group
Take care before you mail-enable a universal group. Guy says these objects are designed to control permissions. They obviously have a use, but to me they are disaster waiting to happen.
Dynamic distribution group
This recipient type was (is) also known as a query-based distribution group. One factor that makes this recipient even better is that senders must be authenticated in Exchange 2007. The only downside is the performance hit placed on the Global Catalog server when determining dynamic group membership.
Mail forest contact (Exotic and rare)
Linked mailbox (Uncommon)
Please note Mail forest contacts are read-only recipient objects that are updated only through MIIS. You cannot modify a mail forest contact by using the Exchange Management Console or Shell.
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Room mailbox (Resource object)
Equipment mailbox (Resource object)
Mail-enabled public folder
Microsoft Exchange Recipient
Mail-enabled non-universal group (Phased out)
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The best way to understand Exchange 2007 recipients is to consult the 'Wizards' in the Exchange Management Console --> Recipient Configuration container. By clicking through the menus, Microsoft's options and terminology begin to make sense. When you focus on creating one recipient type all becomes clear, whereas if you just read about the myriad of recipient options, eventually a fog of confusion descends.
Once you have some experience of creating recipient objects with Wizards consider using PowerShell. Trust me; PowerShell is the easiest scripting language for non programmers to learn enough to get by and create, enable and modify your Exchange 2007 recipients. The benefit of PowerShell is speed, especially if you want to modify lots of recipients with one command.
Example of PowerShell adding Guy to a distribution group called Techies:
Do you think you could add a user called Fred to a distribution group called Managers. I believe you could using PowerShell.
If the recipient object needs an account in Active Directory, then connect to a domain controller and use the ADUC. This page will give you practical advice on how to create Exchange 2007 recipients.
Summary of Recipient Types in Exchange Server 2007
When it comes to understanding recipient types in Exchange 2007, ask yourself, does the object have an account in active directory? And, where is the email stored? To shortcut your learning seek out icons, they are so much more descriptive than the labels.
Also remember that with Exchange 2007, Microsoft has moved recipient tasks to the Exchange Management Console. Thus if you are familiar with Exchange 2003, try and unlearn managing recipients via Active Directory Users and Computers, instead switch to the Exchange Management Console
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