How do I install and configure instant messaging with Exchange 2000?

A. Exchange 2000 includes an instant messaging (IM) module that lets users with an IM client (e.g., MSN Messenger Service client) communicate with each other faster and more interactively than email allows. IM uses the rendezvous protocol (RVP), which uses an extended subset of HTTP—HTTP-DAV—with an XML payload to send subscriptions and notifications between IM clients and servers.

You need several components to install and use the IM module:

  • For Windows 2000:
    • Microsoft IIS
    • Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP)
    • SMTP
    • Dynamic DNS (DDNS)
  • For Exchange 2000:
    • Exchange Messaging and Collaboration (typically, this component is installed)
    • Exchange System Management (typically, this component is installed)
    • Exchange Instant Messaging (typically, this component isn't installed, and you might need to install it by rerunning setup)

The first step is to configure an IM virtual server:

  1. Start the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) Exchange System Manager snap-in (Start, Programs, Microsoft Exchange, System Manager).
  2. Expand Administrative Groups, First Administrative Group (or the group the server resides in), Servers, \[Server name\], Protocols.
  3. Select Instant Messaging (RVP).
  4. Right-click Instant Messaging (RVP), and select New, Instant Messaging Virtual Server.
  5. Click Next.
  6. Enter a display name for the virtual server, and click Next.
  7. Select the Web site to enable with IM (e.g., Default Web Site), and click Next.
  8. Enter the DNS Domain Name for the virtual server (e.g.,, and click Next.
  9. Check "Allow this server to host user accounts" to let the server host accounts; otherwise, it will act as the Internet Mail Service (IMS) router. Click Next.
  10. Click Finish.
  11. Close the Exchange System Manager snap-in.

The next step is to configure the DNS server with the required RVP records:

  1. Start the MMC DNS snap-in (Start, Programs, Administrative Tools, DNS).
  2. Select the zone you want to configure (the zone the IM belongs to).
  3. Right-click the selected zone.
  4. From the context menu, select Other New Records.
  5. Select Service Location, and click Create Record.

  6. Click here to view image

  7. Enter the details as follows:
    • Service: _rvp (you MUST type the underscore)
    • Protocol: _rvp (again, type the underscore)
    • Priority: 0
    • Weight: 0
    • Port number: 80
    • Host offering this service: The IM server's Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN)—e.g.,

  8. Click OK.
  9. Close the DNS snap-in.

The server is now configured. You also need to configure users' systems for IM and install the MSN Messenger client on them. See How do I enable a user for instant messaging? and How do I install the MSN Messenger Service client? respectively.

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