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How to use recipient policies to control e-mail addresses in Exchange 2003 and in Exchange 2000

This article was previously published under Q319201
You can use recipient policies to control e-mail address settings and to manage mailboxes. This step-by-step article describes how to use recipient policies to control e-mail generation and to help with complex scenarios such as a merger between two companies.

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The following list outlines the recommended hardware, software, network infrastructure, and service packs that you need:
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Server with Service Pack 2 (SP2)
  • Active Directory
  • Exchange Server 2000 with Service Pack 1 (SP1)
This article assumes that you are familiar with the following topics:
  • Exchange System Manager
  • The Recipient Update Service
  • E-mail addresses for different mail server types.
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A Description of the Recipient Policy Functionality

Recipient policies are a set of configurable rules that run on a schedule and evaluate all the messaging-enabled objects in your Active Directory forest. The policy uses the rules to filter all of the objects and to selectively apply e-mail addresses of specific types to those instances that fit the predefined rules.

If you use recipient policies, it is easy to apply or alter the rules; you do not need to reconfigure settings individually on each object. You can also change recipient policy priority levels to change the way in which multiple policies are adjusted. The default recipient policy acts on all objects in the Exchange Server organization. Do not delete the default policy; however, you can create other recipient policies to override this setting because the priority level of the default policy is set to lowest.

Policies are applied according to the schedule that you set on your domain Recipient Update Service. However, you can force a manual update if you want to apply a recipient policy immediately.

NOTE: The highest priority recipient policy that applies to an Exchange Server object is the effective policy. Policies that have a lower priority are not evaluated after a match has been made.

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How to Use Recipient Policies for E-mail Address Generation

If you install Exchange 2000, a default recipient e-mail policy is created that generates primary Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) and X.400-compliant addresses for all Exchange 2000 recipient objects. The SMTP address is in the form "@yourdomainname.extension" and the X.400 address uses a format similar to the following format that is specified by the X.400 International Telecommunications Union (ITU) standard:
c=us;a= ;p=Your Organization;o=Exchange
You cannot disable these primary addresses because they are necessary for the internal functions in Exchange 2000.

If you create a subsequent recipient policy, this policy must also have the default primary addresses included and it may have additional addresses of the following type:
  • X.400
  • Microsoft Mail
  • SMTP
  • cc:Mail
  • Lotus Notes
  • Novell GroupWise
  • Custom
You can configure Exchange 2000 to be responsible to route messages that are delivered to these addresses.

If you use custom recipient policies, you can configure a filter rule that specifies the subset of messaging-enabled objects to which the recipient policy applies. For objects that match the filter conditions, the e-mail addresses are defined in the recipient policy and the default addresses. This behavior is useful if you have a subset of users who need a second e-mail address. If your organization has merged with another organization, you may want employees from the second organization to keep their old e-mail addresses. In this scenario, you can configure your Exchange Server environment to accept incoming messages for the old domain, and then attempt to match the messages to the mailboxes that have e-mail addresses that are generated by the custom recipient policy for that second domain. To do so, you create a recipient policy that searches for a field in which you note that a particular user came from the old domain. You can use a custom attribute field for this purpose. The recipient policy creates an SMTP address by using the old domain name for each user from the merged company.

In the example described in the following section of this article, a company named "Contoso" has merged with a company named "Northwind Traders" as part of the Northwind Traders organization. However, former Contoso employees need to keep their e-mail addresses so that they can continue to receive messages that are sent to their old address. However, when they send a new message, they want to use "" as their Reply To address. The procedure described in this article assumes that all users from Contoso have the "Contoso" variable entered into the extensionAttribute15 attribute that is displayed on the Exchange Advanced tab on their user account properties.

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How to Manage the Default Recipient Policy

  1. Click Start, point to Programs, point to Microsoft Exchange, and then click System Manager.
  2. Expand the Recipients object, and then double-click Recipient Policies.
  3. Right-click Default Policy in the right pane, and then click Properties.

    Note that the Filter rules entry defines a single entry of (mailnickname=*) and that in the Filter rules section, the Modify button, and the Remove buttons are shaded. This behavior occurs because the default recipient policy must apply to all recipient objects (that is, all of those objects that have a mail nickname or alias).
  4. Click the E-mail Addresses (Policy) tab.

    A list of generation rules for e-mail addresses is displayed. Rules exist for SMTP and X.400 addresses. You can edit these rules, but you cannot remove them. For example, if your organization decides to change its e-mail address from ".com" to "," click the SMTP rule, and then click Edit.
  5. In the Address field, type the new SMTP address, and then click OK.
  6. Click OK.

    You receive a message that states that you have changed e-mail addresses of SMTP type and you are prompted to update all corresponding e-mail addresses to match the new address format.
  7. Either click Yes to update all existing addresses or click No if you do not want to change any existing objects. If you click No, the new SMTP address applies to all newly created recipients.
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How to Create New Recipient Policies

Before you create a new recipient e-mail policy, you must decided on the new e-mail addresses that you want to apply and you must know the group to which you want to apply this new recipient policy. In this example, you are looking for former Contoso employees who need to have a "" e-mail address as well as an address for the new company, Northwind Traders.
  1. Click Start, point to Programs, point to Microsoft Exchange, and then click System Manager.
  2. Expand the Recipients object, right-click Recipient Policies, point to New, and then click Recipient Policy.
  3. Select the areas of the policy that you want to configure.

    In this example, select the E-Mail Addresses check box, and then click OK.
  4. Type a name for the recipient policy.

    Microsoft recommends that you use a descriptive name for the policy, such as "Secondary E-mail addresses for former Contoso Employees."
  5. Click Modify.
  6. On the General tab, select the types of Exchange objects to which this recipient policy applies.

    In this example, clear any of the following check boxes to exclude these groups from the recipient policy as appropriate:
    • Users with external e-mail addresses
    • Groups
    • Contacts
    • Public Folders

  7. To configure address lists that are specific to a particular Exchange 2000 computer, click the Storage tab, click Mailboxes on this server, click Browse, and then click the server that you want to use.

    Alternatively, you can search for mailboxes in this mailbox store. To do so, click Browse, click the mailbox store that you want to use, and then click OK.
  8. Click the Advanced tab, and then click Field.
  9. Click one of the following attributes that you want to use for your recipient policy filter:

    • User
    • Contact
    • Group
    • Public Folder

    In this example, click User, and then click Custom Attribute 15 to enter the value from the extensionAttribute15 attribute in the field's value (click the custom attribute that you used to record that this user was originally from Contoso).
  10. Under Condition, click one of the following options depending on the information that you are trying to find:
    • Starts with
    • Ends with
    • Is(exactly)
    • Is not
    • Present
    • Not present

  11. If you click either Starts with, Ends with, Is(exactly), or Is not as your condition, type a value in the Value field.

    For example, click Is(exactly), and then type contoso to find all employees who used to work for Contoso.
  12. Click Add.

    You can add further conditions, but note that the logic is "AND", which means that all conditions must be true for a match to be displayed.
  13. Click Find Now.

    Matches to the conditions are listed in the new list that is displayed at the bottom of the Find Users, Contacts, and Groups dialog box.
  14. If the list displays the correct users for the recipient policy filter, click OK.

    If the list does not display the information you are looking for, modify the search conditions until your search result yields the correct information.
  15. If you receive the message that warns you that the e-mail addresses are no longer under the control of the policy that is being evaluated, click OK to continue.

    This message informs you that you must use the Apply this policy now option to update current recipients.
  16. Under Filter rules, view the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) filter statement that shows the current filter rule.
  17. Click the E-mail Addresses (Policy) tab, and then review the currently defined default rules for the organization.

    Like the default recipient policy, you cannot remove the Generation rules for SMTP and X.400.
  18. Click New to create a new rule.
  19. Click one of the following address types, and then click OK:

    • Custom
    • X.400
    • Microsoft Mail
    • SMTP
    • cc:Mail
    • Lotus Notes
    • Novell GroupWise

    In this example, click SMTP Address, and then click OK.
  20. Under Address, type the new SMTP address that you want to apply to former Contoso employees, for example,

    NOTE: You do need to type the ampersand (@) symbol.
  21. Confirm that the This Exchange Organization is responsible for all mail delivery to this address check box is selected.

    If this check box is selected, Exchange 2000 tries to deliver messages to these addresses locally instead of trying to route the messages through the SMTP connector.
  22. Click OK, confirm that the new address is displayed in the Generation Rules list, and then select the check box in the Type column that is next to the new address.
  23. Set the primary address for a particular address type.

    The primary address is the default Reply To address that is used when users send out messages. In this example, configure "" to be the primary address and configure "" to be the secondary address.
  24. Click OK to add the new recipient policy.

    You receive a message that states that you have changed e-mail addresses of the SMTP type, and you are prompted to update all corresponding e-mail addresses to match the new address format.
  25. Click Yes to update all existing addresses.

    In this example, the new address is added to all recipients that match the rule. Click No if you do not want change any existing objects. If you click No, existing objects are not changed but new SMTP addresses that match the rule receive the secondary SMTP address.
  26. The new recipient policy is displayed in the right pane of Exchange System Manager and it has a priority of 1.
  27. To apply this policy immediately, right-click the policy that you just created, and then click Apply this policy now.

    Otherwise, the recipient policy is applied next time the Recipient Update Service runs.
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How to Confirm That You Configured the Recipient Policies Correctly

  1. Start Active Directory Users and Computers.
  2. Double-click a recipient account that conforms to the rule that you set up for the recipient policy filter, and then click the E-mail Addresses tab.
  3. Confirm that the new address is displayed ( and that the primary address ( is bolded. The bold formatting indicates that this address is set as the Reply To address.
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To confirm that you configured the filters correctly, confirm that you receive the expected number and types of hits when you click Find Now in the Find Exchange Recipients dialog box.

Changes to the recipient policies are not applied until the Recipient Update Service runs. By default, the Recipient Update Service is set to run continuously, which means that there is very little delay between the time that you add or change a recipient policy and the time that this change is reflected in Active Directory Users and Computers. However, check your Recipient Update Service configuration to confirm that this service is running as expected.

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For more information about how to configure recipient policies in Exchange 2000, see the Exchange 2000 Server Resource Kit and Exchange 2000 Help.

For more information, click the following article numbers to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
319065 How to work with the Exchange Recipient Update Service
319204 How to use custom attributes to organize recipients in Exchange 2000
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Article ID: 319201 - Last Review: 10/25/2007 17:23:23 - Revision: 2.6

  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 Enterprise Edition
  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Exchange 2000 Enterprise Server
  • Microsoft Exchange 2000 Server Standard Edition
  • kbhowtomaster KB319201