Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 – Recipients

Introduction to Microsoft Exchange 2003 – Types of Recipients

The classic Exchange 2003 recipient is a Windows 2003 user account with a mailbox.  Microsoft refer to this as a mailbox enabled user.  If you research Exchange 2003’s recipients, then you will discover a type of recipient for every occasion.  For example, a Universal Distribution Group to send emails to a list of people or a Contact for you supplier.

Topics for Exchange 2003 Types of Mail Recipients


Understanding the Recipient Types in Microsoft Exchange 2003

There is no doubt, knowledge is power.  If you truly understand the names and capabilities of email objects, then you will always choose the right recipient for the right job.

Mailbox enabled user – Standard email account in Exchange Server 2003.  A regular Active Directory user with a full MAPI mailbox.  (90% of all email accounts are this type.)  See PowerShell New-Mailbox.

Mail-enabled user – Tricky recipient.  An Active Directory account with an email address, but no mailbox in your Exchange Organization.  I call this the contractor object.  Their email is delivered, not to your exchange mailstore, but to their external account, e.g. hotmail or gmail.Universal Distribution Group Exchange 2003

Distribution Group – The old Exchange 5.5 DL (distribution list).  Big organizations may favour the Universal Distribution groups, while companies with one domain prefer Global Distribution groups.

Query-based Distribution Groups – A great new idea in Exchange 2003.  You must investigate these dynamic groups which are populated by LDAP queries.  See how to manage these Query-based Distribution Groups groups here.

Security Enabled Group – Where ever possible, avoid this object and use Distribution Groups instead.

Here is my reasoning for shunning Security Enabled Groups for email recipients.  Technically it takes longer to logon if users are members of lots of Security Groups – SIDS have to be checked and Universal group membership has to be verified. 

However my main objection is because security groups are normally used for share permissions.  I once saw an administrator add a user to a group that had access to the printer.  What they forgot was that this was a mail-enabled group and the new user started receiving emails that were not meant for their eyes.  (It was unpleasant because they were emails about that person’s redundancy.)

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Contacts – Easy recipient.  These are your suppliers, customers with external email accounts.  Contacts have no Active Directory account, just the email address of important people who your users regularly email.  When you create a contact it appears in the Global Address List. 

If there is a surprise with Contacts, it is that like User objects, Contacts have more tabs once you install Exchange, note the Exchange General and Exchange Advanced tabs.

 Microsoft Exchange 2003 recipients

Mail-enabled Public Folders –  I think sending emails to public folders is a neat idea, however, it does not seem to have caught on at the sites that I have visited.

Creating Mail Enabled objects

Start by launching Active Directory Users and Computers (Not the Exchange System Manager).  Now I love OUs (Organizational Units).   So I would create the new users, groups or contacts in a suitable OU rather than in the default users container.

Tip for creating exchange 2003 mailboxes   If you get a choice of which server to create the mailbox, then choose a server physically close to the user.  One company choose the server for the mailbox based on alphabetic order.  This resulted in unnecessary traffic as the servers were in separate routing groups.

By default the mailbox name or alias = logon name.  This makes sense and the user will soon get used to their alias.  However if you have a strange rules for logon names, for example works number, then you can uncouple the alias = logon name and give the alias a more descriptive identifier.

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Microsoft include an object class called InetOrgPerson in their Active Directory schema.  It seems to me that InetOrgPerson has been on the fringes of Microsoft products since NT 4.0 days.  Whereas object classes such as user and computer are tightly defined, InetOrgPerson is a general class suited to people objects that are migrating from other systems.

One use of the InetOrgPerson in Exchange 2003 is to create mobile (OMA) accounts for people who may be migrating from other LDAP systems.  The situation is you do not wish to create a normal Active Directory user object.  If you wish to provide this facility, then on the OMA client, tab ActiveSync, then Tools, Options and Server.

* Note InetOrgPerson can only be mail-enabled in Exchange 2003 Native mode

Summaryof Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 Recipients

Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 provides a rich variety of recipient objects, mailbox enabled, mail enabled and various distribution groups.  Knowledge is power, so research the advantages and disadvantages of each recipient that has an email address.  In particular take advantage of the new Query-based Distribution Groups in Exchange 2003.

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