Monday, June 1, 2009

Exchange Shared Mailboxes

What most administrators do when they want to create a mailbox that can be accessed by several users, is create a “normal” mailbox and hand the password to all of those who require access to it or give them full access permissions to it.

Either way, that also creates an enabled user account on Active Directory (AD) that users could use to login to a workstation, which is not very secured.

With Exchange 2007 and 2010 we have a new kind of mailboxes, a shared mailbox. A shared mailbox has a disabled AD account to which it is connected. Since the account is disabled, you don’t need to set a password and you can’t use it to login to a workstation! So, they act as a security measure. You will no longer be required to have extra username/password combinations for accessing your network. You can easily assign permissions specifically to those users requiring access.

However, you can’t create these accounts by the Exchange Management Console (EMC)... So, let’s fire up the shell!


Creating a Shared Mailbox
The process to create a share mailbox is exactly the same as a regular mailbox, with the exception of the option –Shared on the New-Mailbox command. For example, let’s create a shared mailbox to where all the quarantined e-mails will go to:

New-Mailbox –Name Quarantine –Alias quarantine –OrganizationalUnit “letsexchange.com/Users” –Database “Mailbox Database” –UserPrincipalName quarantine@letsexchange.com -Shared


This way, a disabled AD account will be created in the Organizational Unit Users with an attached mailbox. Since the account is disabled by default, no password is required.



Permissions
Since we don’t want to associate a password with a shared mailbox, we have to grant mailbox permissions for the users who require access to them.

We can assign permissions using security groups or just simply to users. To give me access to the Quarantine mailbox, all I have to do is:

Add-MailboxPermission Quarantine –User n.mota –AccessRights FullAccess


Now I have full access permissions to it. However, I’ll probably also want Send-As rights so that I can send e-mails with the shared mailbox's e-mail address.

Add-ADPermission Quarantine –User n.mota –ExtendedRights Send-As


You may want to add permissions to read/write personal information so that users can setup delegates if needed:

Add-ADPermission Quarantine –User n.mota –AccessRights ReadProperty, WriteProperty –Properties “Personal Information”



Accessing Shared Mailboxes
Since I now have full access permissions to this shared mailbox, one method for accessing it is to add it as an additional mailbox within Outlook. To do that:

• Open Outlook
• Go to Tools and click on Account Settings...
• Make sure your e-mail address is select and click on Change...
• Click on More Settings...
• Go to the Advanced tab and on the Open these additional mailboxes add the shared mailbox


This is the best method if you use the shared mailbox a lot as this allows you to read e-mails from the shared mailbox and sending as that e-mail address when desired. Unfortunately, this method will not save items sent as that mailbox to its Sent Items folder. All items sent or deleted within Outlook will be stored in the primary mailbox's Sent or Deleted Items folder.
This is something that doesn’t make sense to me and I hope to see it changed on the next version of Outlook.

You can also create a separate e-mail profile for Outlook to work with just this mailbox, thus preventing the previous “issue”.

The other option you have is, of course, to use Outlook Web Access (OWA). To open the shared mailbox, and since I already have full access permissions to it, I can open it by simply adding the quarantine@letsexchange.com e-mail address to the end of my normal OWA URL and authenticating using my normal domain credentials, like: https://htcas1/owa/quarantine@letsexchange.com


Or, by logging in to OWA with my normal account and opening this mailbox using the arrow besides my name on the top right hand corner.




Notes:
• The icon on the Exchange Console for a shared mailbox differs from the one for a regular mailbox;
• When check on the Exchange Console, you can see the difference on the Recipient Type Details column: User Mailbox vs Shared Mailbox;
• It’s possible to convert existing mailboxes into shared mailboxes! To do that, all that you need to do is: Set-Mailbox n.mota –Type Shared;
• To convert it back to a regular mailbox, just use the –Type Regular option.

25 comments:

  1. Hi am having problem, i did exactly above steps but when i try to open owa shared mailbox (quarantine) - it wont let me open the email msg. Error is as below. Pls help. tnx, JM

    The item you tried to access no longer exists.
    The item wasn't found. You or a delegate might have moved or deleted it using another computer or a mobile phone.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi,

    So you can access the Quarantine mailbox but you can't open an e-mail in it, correct? Does this happen to every e-mails on that mailbox or just one?
    Did someone else mark it as private? This sometimes happens in mailboxes where more than one person have access to...

    Regards,
    Nuno

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi,

    does Exchange Active Sync work as well with disabled AD-Accounts?

    Regards,
    Mike

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Mike,

    It doesn't unfortunately... You can't use POP, IMAP or ActiveSync with Shared mailboxes.

    Regards,
    Nuno

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Nuno,

    Is there away to see who has accessed the shared mailbox? To have some accountability? see who sent a specific email?

    Thanks

    Eric

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Eric,

      What version of Exchange are you running?
      If you are running Exchange 2010 SP1 or Exchange 2013, check this post: http://letsexchange.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/auditing-mailbox-access-in-exchange.html
      It's really easy to configure and it allows you to get the information you are looking for!
      Let me know how it goes.

      Regards,
      Nuno

      Delete
  6. Hi Alex,

    Since a shared mailbox will be shared between multiple users, is there a way we can have per user read/unread views. Because it may happen that if one person has read it, it may appear as read in the shared mailbox, another user may skip it thinking that he has already read the mail.

    Regards,
    Rosh

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Rosh,

      No, unfortunately that is not possible, only in Public Folders... I guess that is a good thing in some scenarios, as users will be able to see what see e-mails have already been read or dealt with (think of a ServiceDesk mailbox for example).

      Best regards,
      Nuno

      Delete
  7. Hi there, we this address which is a distribution list ( a security permission) and we want to convert it to a shared mail box. is that possible?
    Thank you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi,

      No, you cannot convert a distribution list into a mailbox I'm afraid... The best way to do this is delete the distribution list and create a mailbox with the same SMTP address. However, don't forget to copy the legacyExchangeDN of the distribution list and add it as an X500 address to the new mailbox.
      Hope this helps.

      Best regards,
      Nuno

      Delete
  8. Do I still need an Active Directory license (the disabled account) for a Shared Mailbox ?

    Best regards,
    Arnold

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Arnold,

      What do you mean by AD license? All Shared Mailboxes need an AD account. Do you mean an Exchange CAL?

      Best regards,
      Nuno

      Delete
  9. An AD account which is disabled also counts for the licensing ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you are referring to Exchange CALs, I believe Shared mailboxes do not need a CAL even though the Get-ExchangeServerAccessLicenseUser says they do.

      Delete
  10. Ok Nuno, thanks.
    And what about the disabled license in Windows in the AD ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am not 100% sure to be honest, I'm sorry...

      Delete
  11. Is there a way to have the Replies that are sent by the users with FullAccess and SendAs permission be saved into the shared accounts Sent Items instead of the users?
    TIA,
    jjn

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi JJN,

      The following link will provide information on how to do this in Exchange 2010 and 2013: http://blogs.technet.com/b/exchange/archive/2015/03/03/want-more-control-over-sent-items-when-using-shared-mailboxes.aspx

      Regards,
      Nuno

      Delete
  12. Is there a way to have the Reply sent by a user with FullAccess and SendAs permission saved into the Sent Items of the shared account instead of the users Sent Items folder?
    Thanks,
    Jon

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jon,
      Apologies for the delay in reply to you...
      What version of Exchange are you running?

      Regards,
      Nuno

      Delete
    2. Hello Jon,

      If you are using Exchange 2010 SP3 you can set an attribute on those sent items. The default is the "Sender" which is the user whom sent the message. You can change this to "From" which is the shared-mailbox or both "SenderAndFrom" which will record the sent message in both locations. Hope this helps!

      Delete
  13. Hi,,

    Is it possible to use shared mailbox for user outside of the AD, organisationen, Internet user..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm afraid not, unless you give them remote access to OWA and a mailbox with full access to the shared mailbox...

      Delete
  14. Is the shared mailbox account, disabled by default or do you need to manually disable it. Also is a password needed on the account or can we just leave it blank. or expire the account?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi,
      When you create a shared mailbox, the AD account is disabled by default, so it does not need a password. That is why you don't have to specify a password when creating a shared mailbox :)

      Regards,
      Nuno

      Delete