Exchange & Outlook UPDATE, Exchange Edition, April 29, 2004

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C2C: PST Discovery, Content & Policy Management

Windows Scripting Solutions ===============

1. Commentary
- Customizing Quota Messages

2. Resources
- Featured Thread: Mobile Configuration Suggestions
- Outlook Tip: Removing Phantom Contact Lists from the Outlook Address Book

3. New and Improved
- Back Up and Restore Your Messages
- Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!


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Editor's note: Share Your Exchange Discoveries and Get $100
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==== 1. Commentary: Customizing Quota Messages ==== by Paul Robichaux, News Editor, [email protected]

Last week, I wrote about the cool Really Simple Syndication (RSS) format and how you can use it to stay informed about Exchange Server topics. After I wrote my column, the Exchange Server team at Microsoft (more specifically, Jason Nelson and KC Lemson) proved my point by using the Microsoft Exchange Team blog ( ) and its associated RSS feed to break a significant piece of news: Finally, you can customize the content of quota messages--the messages that Exchange sends to users who go over their mailbox quota limits.

I won't repeat the arguments for and against using quotas. Suffice it to say that many organizations use quotas to keep the size of their mailboxes, and thus their mailbox databases, predictable. For these organizations, the inability to customize quota messages has long been an irritation. Now, those of us who want custom messages can implement them. The solution comes in four parts:

- Support for a registry value that tells the System Attendant not to send quota-related messages to users. When you apply this value, the Store maintenance process works normally and generates quota event log messages but doesn't send quota messages to users.

- Support for a registry value that permits message delivery to mailboxes that are over quota. Only applications or services running in the LocalSystem security context can submit messages for delivery using this mechanism.

- Support for a Store interface change that exposes quota information as a mailbox property.

- A new service--the Exchange Quota Message service--that runs in the LocalSystem security context and scans the mailbox database, checking each mailbox for its quota status. For mailboxes that exceed their quotas, the service generates and delivers a message, which you can customize.

The first three parts of the solution are included in the forthcoming Exchange Server 2003 Service Pack 1 (SP1) and in the recent post-SP3 rollup for Exchange 2000 Server. The fourth part--the Exchange Quota Message service and related documentation--is available from a shared site at GotDotNet ( ).

This solution is fairly elegant but still has several rough edges, the most significant of which is that you must manually install and configure the service. Although this task won't be a hurdle for many of you, it isn't as simple as just double-clicking an .msi file. Also, a lot of potential features (e.g., support for public folders) have yet to be implemented. These shortcomings, though, are more than made up for by Nelson's decision to release the source code for the service, under a license that allows modification and redistribution. Of course, the license doesn't provide unlimited freedom (you can't resell the code, for example), and Microsoft doesn't offer direct support for the service. But making the code available opens up the possibility of someone else developing the features that Nelson didn't have time to implement.

I'm hoping that this trend will catch on, and that other developers with cool ideas will lay the groundwork to build community-supported tools (in addition to the many excellent commercial products that already exist). Not every long-requested feature can be developed and implemented like the new Exchange Quota Message service, but it sets a great precedent.


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==== 2. Resources ====

Featured Thread: Mobile Configuration Suggestions
A forum reader wants to know how other readers set up Outlook for mobile users. If you can help (or just want to join the discussion), go to the following URL:

Outlook Tip: Removing Phantom Contact Lists from the Outlook Address Book by Sue Mosher, [email protected]

Q: Because of the way we update a public Contacts folder with Microsoft Access data, each update operation entails removing the folder and creating a new one. The problem is that removing the folder doesn't remove the reference to the folder in the Outlook Address Book. How can we remove the phantom Contacts lists (one for each folder that's no longer available) from the Outlook Address Book?

A: Outlook provides an interface for removing an individual Contacts folder from the Outlook Address Book, but the interface doesn't seem to work. The only surefire solution is to remove the Outlook Address Book completely from your profile, restart Outlook, then add the Outlook Address Book back into the profile. I recommend that you then check the properties on the public Contacts folder to make sure that the folder is set to appear in the Outlook Address Book. A better solution in your case would be to enhance the Access tool you're using so that it works with the existing public Contacts folder instead of creating a new folder each time.
See the Windows & .NET Magazine Exchange & Outlook Web page for more great tips.

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==== 3. New and Improved ==== by Carolyn Mader, [email protected]

Back Up and Restore Your Messages
ABF software released ABF Outlook Express Backup 1.9, a backup utility that features automatic task scheduling and command-line support. The program can back up and restore messages, address books, settings and preferences, mail and news accounts, message rules, blocked senders lists, signatures, stationeries, and Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) favorites. You can also use the software to synchronize email accounts and to transfer data and settings between computers. AFB Outlook Express Backup runs on Windows 2003/XP/2000/NT/Me/98 and supports Outlook Express 5.0 or later. Contact ABF software at [email protected]

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