Exchange & Outlook UPDATE, Exchange Edition, July 15, 2004

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Security Administrator


1. Commentary
- Fine-Tune Your Exchange 5.5 Migrations

2. Resources
- Featured Thread: Problem Sending Delayed Messages
- Outlook Tip: Sending HTML Messages to Outlook 2003 Users

3. New and Improved
- Back Up Outlook and Outlook Express Data
- 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
Share your Exchange Server and Outlook discoveries, comments, or problems and solutions for use in the Exchange & Outlook Administrator print newsletter's Reader to Reader column. Email your contributions (500 words or less) to [email protected] We edit submissions for style, grammar, and length. If we print your submission, you'll get $100.


==== 1. Commentary: Fine-Tune Your Exchange 5.5 Migrations ==== by Paul Robichaux, News Editor, [email protected]

As Exchange Server 5.5 gets ready to ride off into the sunset, the process of migrating Exchange 5.5 mailboxes to Exchange Server 2003 is taking the top spot on many administrators' to-do lists. Microsoft has an arsenal of tools, white papers, case studies, and other documentation that outlines the process of moving mailboxes, public folders, connectors, and other messaging objects to a new system (or even a new Exchange organization). Here are a few of the best tips that I've collected from migrations large and small.

You might have noticed that some of Microsoft's migration guidance recommends running the Directory Service/Information Store (DS/IS) consistency adjuster after you move mailboxes to Exchange 2003 machines. The consistency adjuster does a number of things, including removing bogus ACLs from mailboxes and ensuring that every directory entry in the Exchange 5.5 directory is linked to a mailbox and vice versa (the Microsoft article "XADM: Function and Effects of Running the DS/IS Consistency Adjuster," at , more fully describes the adjuster's functions). Running the consistency adjuster is a good idea, but you should run it BEFORE you move mailboxes, not after--at that point, it's too late for the adjuster to fix much of anything.

An often overlooked tip is to clean up users' mailboxes before you migrate them. This task can be as simple as running the Mailbox Manager to clean out old junk. If your users are cooperative, you can ask them to archive some of their messages to .pst files (assuming that doing so won't violate your corporate retention policy). Once you've cleaned up the mailboxes as much as possible, you'll find that moving them will take less time, and the moved mailboxes will take up less space on the target servers. On a related note, you need to perform an offline defragmentation on the original server only when you're going to keep it around and need to immediately reclaim the space occupied by the moved mailboxes. If you're just going to decommission the server, don't worry about defragging it.

Speaking of decommissioning servers: Many migration schedules are front-loaded so that only a brief time is allotted to tasks that have to happen after the mailboxes and public folders are moved. Resist the temptation to just turn off your servers and dump them at the curb, though. Instead, make sure that you've successfully rehomed all your connectors and public folders--by shutting the servers down for a day or two, then checking to make sure that all your migrated mailboxes and folders work properly--before you permanently remove them from your old servers. Doing so gives you an easy recovery route if you run into problems--just turn your old servers back on.

I'm sure that as more customers get Exchange 5.5 migrations under their belts, we'll see new (or slightly revised) best practices from Microsoft. In the meantime, feel free to share your best practices for smooth migrations with me. I'll publish the best ones in a future column.


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==== 2. Resources ====

Featured Thread: Problem Sending Delayed Messages
A forum reader is trying to solve a problem in which a Windows XP user's delayed delivery options aren't working correctly. If you can help (or need help with a similar problem), go to the following URL:

Outlook Tip: Sending HTML Messages to Outlook 2003 Users by Sue Mosher, [email protected]

Q: We distribute a newsletter in HTML format and have heard that Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 users can't see the graphics that make up a large part of our newsletter's layout. What can we do to ensure that readers see our newsletter as we intend them to see it?

A: By default, Outlook 2003 blocks the automatic download of images from the Internet when users view a message either in the reading pane (Outlook 2003's new name for the preview pane) or in an individual message window. For each image, users see a red X and the message Click here to download pictures. Microsoft calls this behavior a privacy feature because many HTML messages with a marketing focus include invisible Web beacons—images with embedded URLs that tell the sender that you've opened a message, thus providing readership data for advertisers and confirming an email address. (Oddly, though, the feature seems incomplete: Outlook downloads images when you forward or print a message.) Your Outlook 2003 readers can turn off picture blocking for all the messages they receive by selecting Tools, Options, Security; clicking Change Automatic Download Settings; and selecting Warn me before downloading content when editing, forwarding, or replying to email in the Automatic Picture Download Settings dialog box. (Readers will still receive a warning message.)
Alternatively, you can tell your Outlook 2003 readers how to disable picture blocking just for your messages. To do so, readers must add the newsletter's From address to the Safe Senders list. To manage the Safe Senders and Safe Recipients lists in Outlook 2003, readers can click Tools, Options, Junk E-mail. Then, in the Automatic Picture Download Settings dialog box, readers can leave automatic download of images turned off and select the option to permit downloads in messages from and to the people on their Safe Senders and Safe Recipients lists.
See the Windows & .NET Magazine Exchange & Outlook Web page for more great tips.

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