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Forcing the Use of Read Receipts in Outlook and OWA - 26 Oct 2004

I want to force the use of read receipts for all internal email. I've heard about a Group Policy setting for Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 that forces the generation of read receipts, but how can I force receipt generation for Microsoft Outlook Web Access (OWA)?

Read receipts aren't a reliable indication of whether a user actually reads a message; Outlook generates them when it marks the message as read. Outlook marks a message as read when someone opens the message, or when the message remains in the preview pane too long. A read receipt simply means that the email client displayed the message, not that the recipient read or understood it.

Not all mail systems honor the various headers that an email client can use to request return receipts, so absence of a receipt doesn't necessarily mean that the recipient didn't read the message. In addition, with Outlook add-ins such as Grinning Shark Software's Watch Your Back, savvy users can prevent Outlook from sending read receipts or even prompting for them when a message contains a receipt request. To top off this list of problems with receipts, you can't force OWA to automatically send receipts when a user opens a read-receipt−flagged message. Of course, clogging up your queues and mailbox databases with all those read receipts doesn't do anyone any good, either.

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