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A query-based distribution group is a new type of distribution group that is included in Exchange 2003. A query-based distribution group provides the same functionality as a standard distribution group, but it uses a Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) query that is based on RFC 2254 "LDAP Filter Rules." A query-based distribution group uses the LDAP filter rules to dynamically build membership in the distribution group instead of specifying static user membership. You can easily construct a mailing list for all users who have mailboxes on a particular server, or in a particular storage group or in a database, by using a query-based distribution group. It is less time-consuming to use this method than to add the users to a standard distribution group by using Exchange System Manager or by using a programmatic method. If the user resides on the server, they will receive the mail.
Description of the Query-Based Distribution Group ProcessBecause of the dynamic nature of the distribution group, you can use query-based distribution groups at a much lower administrative cost. However, a query-based distribution group carries a higher performance cost for queries that produce many results. This cost is in terms of server resources, such as high CPU utilization and an increased working set, because each message to the query-based distribution group causes a corresponding LDAP query to be run against the Microsoft Active Directory directory service to determine its membership. You cannot view the membership of a query-based distribution group in the Global Address List because it is dynamically generated each time mail is sent. However, you can see the dynamic list if you right-click the distribution group, click Properties, and then click the Preview tab.
When a message is submitted to a query-based distribution group, Exchange treats the message slightly differently than messages that are destined for other recipients:
Query-Based Distribution Group GuidelinesThe following list describes the guidelines about how to use query-based distribution groups:
Configure an Exchange 2000 Service Pack 3 Computer for Improved ReliabilityTo configure an Exchange 2000 SP3 server for improved reliability in organizations where query-based distribution groups are expanded with Windows 2000 global catalogs, follow these steps.
Important This section, method, or task contains steps that tell you how to modify the registry. However, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Therefore, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up and restore the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/322756/ )How to back up and restore the registry in Windows
Use Preview to View the Results of Your QueryIf the filter string contains bad formatting or incorrect LDAP syntax, then the global catalog server will not run the query. If you use Active Directory Users and Computers to create your query, it can help prevent you from constructing an incorrect query. Use Preview to view the result of the query; you can use the preview feature to make sure that the query is valid and that it returns the results that you expect. To do this, follow these steps:
Non-Delivery Report with the Code 5.2.4, and Event 6025 or Event 6026If you create a query-based distribution group that is based on an incorrect LDAP query, when a user sends to the query-based distribution group, the user receives a non-delivery report with the code 5.2.4:
Also, if categorizer logging is enabled, one of following two events will be logged:
Event Type: Error
For example, you create a Sales container in the Users container for all sales employees. Next, you build a query-based distribution group by using the Sales container, and then you delete the sales container. As a result, the query no longer works.
Event Type: Error
Messages Seem to DisappearIf the filter string is well-formatted but no results are produced, the sender does not receive a delivery status notification message. This behavior is similar to the results that you receive when you send to an empty distribution group. Message tracking may show that the message disappeared after it was submitted to the categorizer.
Use the Preview button in Active Directory Users and Computers to confirm the result that you want from your query. If the preview is blank, then verify your filter again. Make sure you only use attributes that are in the global catalog. For additional information about how to verify if an attribute is in the global catalog, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
230663Note Exchange System Manager runs by using the administrative credentials of the current user. An administrator with greater administrative credentials than the Exchange computer system account and who previews a query-based distribution group may be accessing Active Directory attributes that are not accessible to the Exchange computer, but that are accessible to the administrator. The administrator will see the correct set of results in the query preview, but the categorizer will run by using the administrative credentials associated with the Exchange computer system account. The categorizer will not be able to retrieve the same set of results. When this behavior occurs, messages are not sent to the query-based distribution group as expected.
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/230663/EN-US/ )HOW TO: Enumerate Attributes Replicated to the Global Catalog
Message Remains in the Messages Awaiting Directory Lookup System QueueThe categorizer must have the complete set of recipients before it can submit the message to routing. Therefore, if an error occurs during the expansion of the query-based distribution group to its individual recipients, the categorizer must restart the process. If the error is considered temporary, then the message queues in the Messages Awaiting Directory Lookup queue until all the recipients are successfully resolved. Frequently, this problem is caused by global catalog servers that are unavailable, but it can also be caused by other things. For additional information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/823489/ )How to Use Queue Viewer to Troubleshoot Mail Flow Issues