HOW TO: Use System Policies to Configure Mailbox Storage Limits in Exchange Server 2003

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SUMMARY

You can use system policies to apply consistent settings to multiple servers, mailbox stores, and public folder stores at the same time. This step-by-step article describes how to use mailbox store policies to manage the following items:
  • Storage space
  • Indexing databases
  • Associated default public folder stores
  • Mail archive settings
  • Offline address lists
This article also describes how to apply these policies selectively to one or more mailbox stores throughout your Exchange 2003 organization.

Requirements

The following list outlines the recommended hardware, the software, the network infrastructure, and the service packs that you must have:
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Server with Service Pack 3 (SP3) or later, or Microsoft Windows Server 2003
  • Microsoft Active Directory directory service
  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2003
This article assumes that you are familiar with the following topics:
  • The Exchange 2003 Administrator console
  • The role of administrative groups in Exchange 2003

A Description of the System Policy Functionality

Before you implement mailbox system policies, you must understand the areas that policies can configure. The areas that policies can configure include:
  • General settings such as default public store settings, offline address list settings, message archival settings, Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (S/MIME) signature settings, and message display settings.
  • Database settings such as maintenance intervals.
  • Storage limits such as mailbox sizes, maintenance scheduling, and deleted item retention settings.
  • Timings for running incremental and full populations of full-text indexes.
You can use system policies to configure most of the settings that you see on the General tab, the Database tab, the Limits tab, and the Full-Text Indexing tab in all the mailbox store properties pages.

If you configure a system policy for mailbox management, you can apply that policy to any mailbox store that is in any storage group. The storage groups can be on any server that is in the administrative group. If you use system policies, you can apply one group of settings to multiple mailbox stores.

Alternatively, you can have several different system policies, and then you can select the policy that you want to apply to each mailbox store.

How to Create a System Policies Container

  1. Click Start, point to Programs, point to Microsoft Exchange, and then click System Manager.
  2. Right-click the Organization Name (Exchange) icon at the top of the tree (where Organization Name is the name that you selected for your Exchange 2003 organization), and then click Properties.
  3. Click Display administrative groups. Optionally, you can also click Display routing groups; however, this setting is not required when you set administrative permissions.
  4. Click OK.
  5. Restart Exchange System Manager, and then confirm that a new object that is named "Administrative Groups" appears in the left pane.
  6. Double-click Administrative Groups, and then double-click the administrative group that you want to add the policy to.
  7. If you do not already have a System Policies folder, right-click the appropriate administrative group, point to New, and then click System Policy Container.

How to Create a Mailbox Store Policy

  1. Right-click the newly created System Policies folder under the administrative group, point to New, and then click Mailbox store policy.
  2. Select the check boxes for the elements that you want to configure this policy for.

    The example in this article assumes that you select all the following check boxes:
    • General
    • Database
    • Limits
    • Full-Text Indexing
  3. On the General tab, type the name for the new system policy.

    Microsoft recommends that you use a name that describes the policy, for example, "System Policy for Power Users."
  4. Click the General (Policy) tab, and then configure a default public store for all the mailbox stores that are associated with this policy.
    • If you define more than one public folder store, you can change this association. However, because computers that are running the Microsoft Outlook client can view only the first public folder tree that is linked to the default public folder store, you do not have to change the association.
    • If you have configured alternative offline address lists, associate these offline address lists with your mailbox stores.
    • You do not have to associate these offline address lists with your mailbox stores unless you are running either a hosted environment or virtual organizations in Exchange 2003.
  5. To archive messages that are sent or received by mailboxes on this store, click Archive all messages sent or received by mailboxes on this store.

    The archive setting is useful for audits; however, you may have to specify in your users' organizational terms and conditions that you are archiving messages.
  6. Click Browse, click the user or the folder that you want to archive, and then click OK.
  7. If all your clients that connect to all mailbox stores support S/MIME digital signing, click Clients support S/MIME signatures.
  8. Click Display plain text messages in a fixed-sized font.

    Use this setting if your users report that messages from external domains do not display correctly.
  9. Click the Database (Policy) tab, click a time when you want online maintenance to run or click Customize.
    • If you select a maintenance interval for the mailbox stores that are governed by this policy, this time determines when online maintenance is performed.
    • If you click Customize, either click a day in the left column, and then click a time on the top row; or click and hold the mouse button as you drag the pointer across the time slots to configure the update interval.

      Note To display the schedule in hour slots or in 15-minute slots, click the appropriate option under Detail View.
  10. Click OK.
  11. Click the Limits (Policy) tab, and then select one or all of the following check boxes under Storage limits:
    • Issue warning at: Select this check box to warn the user that the mailbox has exceeded its limit. However, ordinary functioning of the mailbox continues.
    • Prohibit send at: Select this check box to send a warning message that states that the user will not be able to send any more messages until the user deletes or archives old mail. However, users can still receive messages.

      Note Type a value (in kilobytes [KB]) for the size of the mailbox, for example, 100,000 KB for ordinary users or 200,000 KB for power users.
    • Prohibit send and receive at: Select this check box to send a warning message that states that the user has exceeded mailbox limits. If the user receives this message, the user cannot send and cannot receive any messages.

      Note Type a value (in kilobytes) for the size of the mailbox, for example, 100,000 KB for ordinary users or 200,000 KB for power users.
  12. Either click the time that you want the warning messages to be generated in the Warning message interval box, or click Customize.
    • If you click Customize, either click a day in the left column, and then click a time on the top row; or click and hold the mouse button as you drag the pointer across the time slots to configure warning settings.

      Note To display the schedule in hour slots or in 15-minute slots, click the appropriate option under Detail View.
  13. After you configure the warning message interval times, click OK.
  14. Set deletion item retention times for messages and for deleted mailboxes under Deletion settings.

    Microsoft recommends that you set the deletion setting to seven days for messages and 30 days for mailboxes.
  15. If you want maximum control of your database sizes, configure the Keep deleted items for (days) setting to 0 (zero). Otherwise, Microsoft recommends that you configure this setting to seven days.
  16. Click the Full-Text Indexing (Policy) tab, and then either click a time that you want to run an incremental update of the full-text index in the Update Interval box, or click Customize.
    • If you click Customize, either click a day in the left column, and then click a time on the top row; or click and hold the mouse button as you drag the pointer across the time slots to configure warning settings.

      Note To display the schedule in hour slots or in 15-minute slots, click the appropriate option under Detail View.
  17. Configure the Rebuild interval setting, and then click OK.

    If you perform a rebuild operation, the search catalog is completely indexed. Microsoft recommends that you perform a rebuild operation one time per week at midnight on Saturday or Sunday.

How to Apply a Mailbox Policy to a Mailbox Store

To apply the mailbox policy that you just created to one or more mailbox stores:
  1. Right-click the system policy that you just created, and then click Add Mailbox Store.
  2. Double-click each mailbox store that you want this policy to control, and then click OK.
  3. When you receive a message that prompts you to confirm that you want to add the items to the policy, click Yes.

    The mailbox stores now appear in the right pane of Exchange System Manager if you click System Policies. Click the policy that you created.

How to Apply a Policy Immediately

To apply a policy immediately, right-click the policy in the left pane in Exchange System Manager, and then click Apply Now. Alternatively, the policy is applied the next time the Recipient Update Service runs.

How to Confirm That You Configured the System Policies Correctly

To confirm that the system policy has been assigned, follow these steps:
  1. Open the properties page of one of the mailbox stores that you applied the policy to. All the settings that can be configured by using the policy are shaded.
  2. Open the properties page of a mailbox store that you applied the system policy to, and then click the Policies tab. A list of all the policies that apply to that particular mailbox store appears.
  3. Click the System Policies object in Exchange System Manager. A list of policies and of the time that these policies were last applied appears.

Troubleshoot

To prevent policy conflicts, you can only associate a mailbox store that has more than one policy if the two policies do not configure the same mailbox store's properties.

REFERENCES

For more information about how to configure mailbox store system policies in Exchange 2003, see the Exchange Server 2003 Resource Kit and Exchange 2003 Server Help.

Properties

Article ID: 822938 - Last Review: October 25, 2007 - Revision: 2.3
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 Enterprise Edition
  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 Standard Edition
Keywords: 
kbhowtomaster KB822938

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