Reader to Reader - 29 Nov 1999

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To facilitate sending important company broadcast messages, my company wanted to automate the membership of a distribution list (DL) called All Exchange Users in our Exchange site. We rejected our first plan—to use Address Book Views—because that solution required placing 3000 names in the To: line, which slowed down the Outlook client. Instead, we decided to use a tool called Rules Based Distribution Lists (RBDL).

You can obtain RBDL, which Greg Visscher developed, for free at This tool automatically populates and updates DL memberships based on a directory attribute (e.g., company, department, city). RBDL.exe uses Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) 3.0 to query the Exchange directory and locate the DLs that you want to populate or update.

To run RBDL, you need to connect to an Exchange Server 5.5 server and be running Active Directory Service Interfaces (ADSI) 2.0 build 58 or later and Microsoft Data Access Components (MDAC) 1.5c or later.

We created a DL called All Exch Users. In the Administrative note field, which is on the Advanced tab of the DL's Properties page, we typed the following LDAP query on one line, exactly as shown:

   adspath; onelevel\]

where EX01 is the name of the Exchange Server 5.5 server to connect to, ORG is the organization name, and SITE is the site name.

This code is the ActiveX Data Objects (ADO) query string that instructs RBDL to make all mailboxes in the Recipients container with the specific company attribute members of this DL.

Finally, run the RBDL executable program. From the directory where you copied the program, execute the following command:

RBDL /container:"LDAP://EX01/O=ORG/OU=

This syntax is the path to the location of the DL. If your DLs are in the Recipients container, the syntax changes to cn=Recipients.

The program parses the DL's Administrative note and uses the parameters after the prefix RBDL= as the connection string to the Active Directory (AD) OLE DB provider. The LDAP query returns a list of items that match these criteria and automatically updates the DL. You can run the RBDL program manually on the command line, as a scheduled process, or as a Windows NT service.

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