How to get Outlook folders to inherit permissions.

100 pts.
Tags:
Folder permissions
Microsoft Outlook
Microsoft Outlook 2003
Microsoft Outlook folders
We have some shared mailboxes on an Exchange 2003 server, accessed by several users using Outlook 2003. When we add a new user to the Inbox permissions, the change does not carry down to the subfolders under the Inbox. Is there a way to get the subfolders to inherit changed permissions from levels above? It is very tedious to change the permissions in every subfolder.

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I agree- that is the default behavior for Outlook and there’s no way (that I’ve every heard of) to make Outlook think otherwise.

There could be a possible work-around though. I believe that with the pre-Outlook Exchange 5.5 client, permissions were set all the way down a folder tree. The Exchange 5.5 client will open Exchange 200X mailboxes and actually gives you some management power that Outlook does not. Unfortunately, the client is increasingly hard to find, and due to my the time lag and my memory, I can’t give you a 100% certainty that it will work. It’s worth a try though.

The other option would be to set the mailbox permissions on the Exchange server instead of micromanaging through Outlook. If User X needs Read permissions to the entire mailbox, grant it at the server level in one easy step and then manage the exceptions through Outlook folder permissions. This works great if you are the Exchange admin, but you will most certainly get push-back from the admins if you’re not.

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  • Robert Stewart
    I believe this is the default behavior of folders in Exhange and Outlook, I'm not sure there is any other way.
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  • Serendipity
    Thank you both for your comments. I am an Exchange administrator, so I will look into Petenun's suggestions. I'm also thinking about mailbox permissions in Active Directory for the shared account. If I find a good solution, I'll report back.
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  • CaseyB
    Ran into this problem today... Basic logic here is that permissions are not inherited by existing sub-folders but permissions ARE inherited by new sub-folders... Came up with this work around: 1 - Create a new folder called TEMP (or whatever you want to call it) 2 - Assign that folder the desired permissions 3 - Copy your existing structure to your new TEMP folder 4 - Check to ensure that your new folder has inherited the desired permissions 5 - Rename your original... 6 - Move your new copy to its original place... 7 - Delete renamed copy after verifying all data is still intact.... Hope this helps... -CaseyB
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  • AnoukMontreuil
    When considering using the above workaround, bear in mind that this would also involve changing any server-side rules that automatically redirect messages or items to Exchange folders. You should ensure the rules (active or inactive) point to the new folder instead of the original one – otherwise they'll still be directed to the original (and possibly deleted) folder. Not technically a very big deal, as you would still be able to change that later – but it's just good, clean practice. It might prevent you from getting another call from that user a couple of days later. Now, of course, if the user has just a few folders and tons of active rules referencing Exchange folders... you might actually be better off just changing the permissions manually on the folders.
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