ExchMbx: Swiss Army Knife for Exchange

Everywhere I go (except on airplanes), I carry a Swiss Army knife. Over the years, my knife has helped me fix Marine Corps helicopters, open countless FedEx boxes, pull more than a few splinters, and hammer on the occasional stubborn computer. I can't imagine how I got along without this wonderful tool. In the same vein, I wonder how I ever managed Exchange Server systems without ExchMbx, a free command-line tool from joeware ( http://www.joeware.net/win/free/tools/exchmbx.htm ).

ExchMbx provides a great deal of handy functionality for creating and managing mailboxes. The tool's five primary functions are as follows:

- To create one or more mailboxes in a specified mailbox database
- To move specified mailboxes to a specified mailbox database
- To mail-enable users, groups, and contacts
- To remove all Exchange attributes from a specified set of objects
- To set the Internet mail encoding format to be used for a mail-enabled object

This functionality would be useful and valuable all by itself because most existing alternatives require that you write your own scripts or adapt the sample scripts posted on Microsoft TechNet. But wait! There's more! ExchMbx features a number of nifty touches that show careful attention to ease of use. For example, you can specify the mailbox database in the URL format that Exchange uses natively (e.g., cn=Mailbox Database,cn=First Storage Group,cn=InformationStore,cn=Exchangeserver,cn=Servers,cn=First Administrative Group) or as a simple triplet of server, storage group, and database (e.g., "Batman:SG1:Users A-L"). This option makes it much easier to get the right mailbox database without making frustrating typos.

Another example: You can easily pipe lists of distinguished names (DNs) to ExchMbx by using standard Windows input mechanisms. You can create a thousand mailboxes, no problem. For moving, mail-enabling, or clearing attributes of objects, you can specify whether you want to process all objects (using the -unsafe parameter), the first N objects (using -safety N), or the first N objects (using -upto N). These options make it easy to accomplish such tasks as moving the first 100 mailboxes that can be moved, as in the command

exchmbx –move MDB –upto 100

or stripping out all Exchange attributes, as in the command

exchmbx –clear –unsafe If you combine ExchMbx with joeware's AdFind utility, you can easily run ExchMbx on the result of Active Directory (AD) queries. Doing so lets you quickly perform tasks that would be difficult or time-consuming if you were to use only native Windows GUI tools. For example, you can easily find a user by name and mail-enable the associated object, or you can move all the mailboxes for users in a specified office from one server to another.

Joeware has some other useful tools, but I'll leave them for you to discover. In the meantime, remember that like a pocketknife, these tools can be dangerous if misused--but their power and utility outweighs the danger as long as you're careful.

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