Exchange & Outlook UPDATE, Exchange Edition--July 17, 2003
- Exchange 2003: New Distribution Group Features
- Exchange 2003: Do You Plan to Migrate or Wait?
- Windows & .NET Magazine Connections: Fall Dates Announced
- XADM: Creating Recipient Policies Based on Administrative Group
- Featured Thread: Setting Up a Test Environment
- Outlook Tip: Printed Footers on HTML Messages
- New Active Directory Web Seminar!
5. New and Improved
- Share Information with Team Members
- Submit Top Product Ideas
6. Contact Us
- See this section for a list of ways to contact us.
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==== 1. Commentary: Exchange 2003: New Distribution Group Features ==== by Paul Robichaux, News Editor, [email protected]
The ability to send email to a group of users through one recipient address is often useful. Windows Server 2003 and Exchange Server 2003 include improved functionality that will make this type of task easier.
Exchange Server 5.5 and earlier let you create static distribution lists (DLs) to which you can add a set of associated members. In Windows NT and Exchange 5.5 environments, the Exchange Directory Service (DS) stores and manages DLs, which exist separately from local, global, or domain groups in the NT 4.0 directory. Windows 2000 and Exchange 2000 Server, both of which use Active Directory (AD), don't make this distinction. Instead, you can mail-enable the security or distribution groups that Win2K stores in AD. (Security groups specify members according to SID; you use these groups to apply access controls to files, folders, and other objects. Distribution groups contain lists of members but don't include members' SIDs, so you can't use distribution groups to assign access controls.) For example, you can build a security group for Project X, then mail-enable the group object so that someone can send a message to each user in the group by sending the message to the group address.
Win2K and Exchange 2000's group implementation is more flexible than NT and Exchange 5.5's implementation but still lacks a few features. The most obvious shortcoming relates to the static nature of distribution and security groups: There's no built-in way to build group membership dynamically. For example, you can't create a distribution group that automatically contains all the users homed on a particular Exchange server or belonging to a particular organizational unit (OU). You can find third-party utilities (such as Imanami's SmartDL) that add this capability, but most administrators don't realize that these products exist or don't want to pay for and deal with a separate product. Many administrators also have asked for more controls over who can send messages to mail-enabled objects. Windows 2003 and Exchange 2003 offer functionality to address both of these requests.
Let's start with the addition of query-based distribution groups. As the name suggests, the results of an AD query form these groups' memberships. You can build these distribution groups from the results of any Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) query, so you can aggregate users according to a combination of employee ID, location, office code, or other AD attributes. However, your organization must run in Exchange 2003 native mode to support this powerful feature--only Exchange 2003 servers can expand the query-based groups. The servers can, however, run on Win2K.
To create a query-based distribution group, open the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in. Right-click an OU or user container, then select New, Query-based Distribution Group from the context menu. After you name the group, you can create a custom filter or select from predefined filters to populate the group with mail-enabled users, contacts, groups, and public folders. The filter is automatically scoped to the OU or container in which you create the group, but you can change the scope before finalizing the group. After you create the group, it appears in the Global Address List (GAL) just like every other mail-enabled group. The Recipient Update Service (RUS) periodically rebuilds query-based distribution groups' memberships, so you shouldn't ever need to manually update membership.
The other interesting and useful change is a new check box in the Exchange General tab of each mail-enabled group's Properties dialog box. In Exchange 2000 and earlier, you can block specific users from sending to a DL or group, or you can restrict email to a particular list of named users. However, you can't configure a DL or group to accept messages only from authenticated users (and not, for example, from spammers). Exchange 2003's new "Accept messages from authenticated users only" check box gives you exactly that capacity.
Setting up and managing mail-enabled groups is an ongoing task for most Exchange administrators. Exchange 2003 offers some welcome improvements that will make the job just a bit easier.
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==== 2. Announcements ==== (from Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)
Exchange 2003: Do You Plan to Migrate or Wait?
Windows & .NET Magazine and Aelita Software would like to know about your organization's plans to migrate to Exchange Server 2003. Take our brief survey, "Windows & .NET Magazine: The State of Exchange Migration," and sign up to receive a free white paper titled, "Upgrade or Migrate? Deployment Options for Exchange 2000/2003." Give us your feedback today!
Windows & .NET Magazine Connections: Fall Dates Announced
Jump-start your fall 2003 training plans by securing your seat for Windows & .NET Magazine Connections Fall, scheduled for November 2 through 6, 2003, in Orlando, Florida. Register now to receive the lowest possible registration fee. Call 800-505-1201 or 203-268-3204 for more information.
==== 3. Resources ====
XADM: Creating Recipient Policies Based on Administrative Group
Each week, Microsoft posts several Exchange Server how-to articles to its Knowledge Base. This week, learn how to create a custom Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) query so that you can find and sort users according to administrative group.
Featured Thread: Setting Up a Test Environment
A forum reader is looking for advice about setting up an Exchange Server 2003 test environment. To offer your advice or join the discussion, go to the following URL:
Outlook Tip: Printed Footers on HTML Messages by Sue Mosher, [email protected]
Q: Why can't I set up a printed footer on an HTML mail message?
A: Although Outlook lets you use File, Page Setup to set up headers and footers for messages printed with the Memo Style, those settings don't apply to HTML mail messages. For HTML-format messages, Outlook turns printing over to Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE), whose components perform the message's HTML rendering.
However, the delegation of control to IE seems to be incomplete--at least in IE 6.0, in which I did my testing. Even if you choose File, Page Setup and change the footer to include both the date and the time, the HTML mail message printout includes only the date. I don't know any way around this bug, except to save the message as an .htm file and open it directly in IE for printing.
By the way, because Outlook, Outlook Express, and IE share the same HTML rendering engine, you don't need three HTML engines running on your machine at the same time. But keep IE updated with the most recent patches to be safe from viruses that take advantage of vulnerabilities in HTML mail messages.
See the Exchange & Outlook Administrator Web site for more great tips from Sue Mosher.
==== 4. Events ==== (brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine)
New Active Directory Web Seminar!
Discover how to securely manage Active Directory in a multiforest environment, establish attribute-level auditing without affecting AD performance, and more! Space is limited--register today!
==== 5. New and Improved ==== by Carolyn Mader, [email protected]
Share Information with Team Members
Stalker Software announced CommuniGate Pro 4.1 with Groupware, a messaging and collaboration solution that provides a framework for team members to share information, discuss ideas online, and prioritize and schedule teamwork and meetings. The software supports Outlook in full workgroup mode, so users on the same CommuniGate Pro server can use the Outlook interface to share folders, calendars, and group-scheduling information. (Outlook users scheduling meetings with users on other external or internal servers send SMTP requests with a multipart MIME message containing the Calendar object.) For pricing, contact Stalker Software at 415-383-7164 or 800-262-4722.
Submit Top Product Ideas
Have you used a product that changed your IT experience by saving you time or easing your daily burden? Do you know of a terrific product that others should know about? Tell us! We want to write about the product in a future Windows & .NET Magazine What's Hot column. Send your product suggestions to [email protected]
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