Turn off “out of office” for customers for only one distribution list

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Microsoft Exchange
Hi all I have a slight problem hope you can help. We use Exchange 2003 and I have a Distribution list which public people (customers outside the network) email to and if one of the people in the distribution list has there out of office turned on the customer get the OFO message. Now I have been doing my research and it seems that you can only turn OFO messages for everyone and not for users or groups. Do you know a way in which I can tell the exchange server not to send out OFO messages for a group. If you need more information then please do ask. Thank you in advance. F
ASKED: August 24, 2006  6:26 AM
UPDATED: August 27, 2006  8:03 PM

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My first suggestion would be to create a resource mailbox and add everyone in that group to the resource. Then everyone can add that mailbox to their personal folder list. That way when outside email arrives in the resource, it will not matter if anyone is out of the office or not. That would be the simplest solution, in my opinion.

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  • Cavalan
    I was going to suggest the same. One of the issues with having a single email being distributed via distribution list internally is not only the OOF return but also unless your internal communication skills are incredible it is difficult to know who has or will respond to the message. An advantage to the mailbox resource is that when a mail is read by any of the delegates it is marked as read, delegates could then also move the mail from the disty mailbox to their own for future reference or to "take ownership" of it etc... This may not be a model that works, but certainly would be the simplest to manage. Best of luck
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  • Museudf
    Hi Thanks for the suggestions. I have done something similar but what I have done now is created a public folder and assigned the email address to it (support@company.com) and put a rule on the public folder to forward all emails to a couple of users. I put myself as one of the users to forward to and temporarly turned on my OFO. Now when I send a external email from my hotmail or gmail account to support@company.com the email goes to the public folder and then fires the rule which forwards the email to a couple of people including me. But I am still getting a OFO in my hotmail/gmail account. Can you suggest something else please. Thanks so far F
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  • Technochic
    Using the forwarding rule on the public folder will give you the same bounce back OOOffice response that emailng the public group did. In reading your trial, I expected that to happen. Again, I believe your simplest solution is a resource. You give everyone rights to the resource mailbox, and they add it to their folder list. No forwarding rules will need to be created as all who need to access the mailbox will have it right there when they open their outlook, and no bounce back messages will be received by outside customers, since it is going to a resource mailbox and not an individuals mailbox. Give it a trial! Do you need any information on how to do it? My organization routinely uses this solution.
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  • Technochic
    Perhaps you are confused on what a resource is. I am not talking about a public folder, which I have heard many call "resources". I am talking about an Active Directory Resource MAILBOX, which when opened looks exactly like your mailbox, with a calendar, contacts, sent items, tasks, the whole nine yards... Resource mailboxes are created in Active Directory and are often set up to automatically process meeting requests for conference rooms, and you can set them up to send a rejection of a meeting request if it conflicts with one already on the calendar of that resource. Public folders don't do that. My organization uses resources for conference rooms and name them after that room, such as R-confrm1. However this solution is just as good for receiving external mail that many have to have access to and as was mentioned before, has the added benefit of everyone being able to see when an email has been read or not and individuals can take that email and respond to it. Once you have created the Resource, you go into the Advanced Exchange properties of that resource, and add everyone into the "mailbox rights" permissions, granting full mailbox access. Don't forget to go into delivery restrictions on the exchange general tab, and add them there as well, if you want them to be able to "send as" that mailbox, instead of as themselves. (users get a response from R-support instead of from Amy Smith). Otherwise skip that step. Does that help clear up the confusion?
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  • Mortree
    It has been a long time since I touched Exchange and then it was Exchange 2000 -- back when public folder still did resources. But I think the issue here is that people don't want to remember to look at two or more email looking folders. Nor do the setup for users. So I seem to remember that there was a way to put public folders into "list server like" mode. That is email would be wrapped and appear to come from the public folder as sender. So any OFO would go there and could be deleted/ignored by rules on that public folder. The downside is that while the real sender address would still be visible inside the wrapped message -- receivers would no longer be able to just hit reply (unless they navigated to the public storage folder "archive" of messages). I think you can elect to send out periodic summaries of email received rather than each email as it arrives in the public folder...if that is of advantage.
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