Category Archives: Exchange

40 years of email triage

imageSo email is 40 years old?  How much has it changed your life?  Can you honestly say that it’s changed your life for the better?

It’s not something many of us like dealing with.  We spend our lives trying to reach inbox zero, deleting messages that shouldn’t have been sent to us, and trying to respond to key business messages that might have been better as a phone conversation.

email seems to be the bane of our lives – much more of an intrusion than social media seems to be.  We constantly check our messages on our phone.  We’re always on, always connected, always rushing to respond to that business critical email.

But was it always like this?

Not at all.  If you’re lucky enough to remember the days before instant delivery of email straight to your inbox, you’ll remember the peace and quiet in your working day.  What happened to the time we spent before we became productive?

Well here’s a timeline showing just how far we’ve come since that first email was sent:

1965: Email started from users logging on to the same host based mainframe

1966: Sage system had a limited form of email

1971: The first email sent using the @ sign from one DEC 10 to another

1978: the first email advertisement goes out over the university network

1982: The word email first used – and the first smiley emoticon used

1989: AOL’s “You’ve got mail” message recorded

1990: first spam started to appear from botnet machines

1997: Microsoft buys Hotmail (And releases the first version of Outlook)

1998: The film “you’ve got mail” is released and the term spam  referring to junk email is added to the dictionary

1999: an email claiming that Bill Gates will give you money if you forward the email begins to circulate on the internet

2003: CAN-SPAM Act comes into force

2004 Internet acronyms officially recognised by Oxford English dictionary

2004: The ability to add other types of media to emails is introduced

2007: Gmail becomes available


Thanks to reachmail for the infographic that gave me the inspiration – and Wikipedia of course

As you can see fro this screenshot – even after 40 years.  We still get it wrong sometimes.

Have we got it right yet?  Like our 40 years of social media and the Internet – it seems like we’ve still got a heck of a long way to go!

image credit:flickr and Flickr


Eileen is a social media consultant and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business.

Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.


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Exchange 2007 ignite training

I’ve just finished delivering 2 days of Exchange 2007 training to a group of Microsoft Certified Trainers from across Europe.  It’s called Exchange Ignite training (Ignite the interest / ignite the spark / ignition).  There were 18 MCT’s in the room (2 women thanks to Anne and Ilse), with 2 Microsoftee’s (Jane and me).  You know Jane, you need to get a blog, share that massive amount of deep technical knowledge you have with the rest of the world, and increase the number of Technical women blogging on Exchange beyond KC and myself 🙂  Mind you 20% female techies in a room was impressive (and certainly unusual!)

Well here are the answers to the questions we couldn’t answer during the course. Don’t forget that the technical documentation is still in the process of being written, as is some of the Exchange help, as is some of the product.  So, as promised, here are the answers and links where possible…

Q.What is the number of Transport Rules supported in Exchange 2007 ?
A.The maximum number of hub transport rules supported in Exchange 2007 is 1000

Q.A hub server will look to make a direct SMTP connection to a remote hub server role for delivery before considering the costing of the AD Site Topology. Is there a way to force the message to always take a specific route which may not be the most direct ip route due to the “cost  in $ value” of using the most direct route of the IP.
A.You can find a little more info about the question
here.  This topic (set-adsite) describes the process for setting the hub site. Note that the hub site must exist along the lowest cost route between the source and destination in order to stop at the hub site. Also, in that section of the help file, you will find information about setting an Exchange-specific cost to an Active Directory IP Site Link (set-adsite) to customize your Exchange routing. The deeper technical information on transport and routing is in process and is scheduled for RTM delivery.
Q. I understand that Exchange 2007 database no longer requires  a streaming (STM) database file for internet content. What are the technical reasons for the removal of this database, and why it is no longer required ?
A. In a nutshell it is because the Internet Protocols (IMAP/POP) were moved to CAS, so we no longer have native storage for Internet content as content conversion now occurs on CAS, instead of the store (except in Entourage where content conversion occurs on the mailbox).  Thus, there is no need for an STM file anymore.

Q. How do we emulate a mobile device on the demo screen to simulate direct push?A. See this link for the solution

Q. Where can I find out more about Powershell?

A. Paul has collected an amazing list of resources on his blog, and Brett’s blog is also the one to watch as he also gets to grips with Powershell.

…and I’ll record that Unified Messaging demo as a blogcast and beg Nino to host it on the Exchange team blog too..



Exchange jetstress

I was asked about resources for Jetstress the other day, and whilst nosing around, found a few gems starting with this post from Brett. Greg had told me that he’d been writing for TechNet magazine (I’m always on the lookout for contributors to TechNet magazine by the way), and his article has been published in the current edition.  Our own documentation is a bit scarce on TechNet.  There’s an article in the High Availability guide about using Jetstress to Test disk performance   and you can download Jetstress and test it out for yourself. 

Read the Technet article though as it goes into detail on how to configure Jetstress, and also talks about all of the other tools that are available too.

Nice work Greg…

Running POP and IMAP on Exchange 2007

Steve asked me a question the other day about Exchange 2007 server roles and where he could install POP and IMAP services.  He’d previously installed these services on a cluster and wondered where he could install them.  So I checked around for something on the web, with all of the Beta 2 documentation, things are changing and being updated regularly.   I found this on one of our internal mailing lists however (thanks Mike)

In E2K3, there was no real distinction between server roles.  All protocol heads were available on all roles.

In E2K7, there is a clear distinction of what services are available on which roles:
– SMTP runs on HUB/Edge
– POP/IMAP/OWA/Airsync/OutlookAnywhere (aka RPC/HTTP) runs on CAS (if you wanted the CAS to be able to accept mail for POP/IMAP clients, then you’d also need to install the Hub transport on that server)
– The mailbox is just about storage and the core MAPI protocol

If you want a single server to have both SMTP & POP/IMAP on them, then you will need to install the HUB & CAS roles (You cannot install the Edge role on a server which has the CAS role on it).

If you want to have a look at some of the (beta) documentation for this, have a look at the Exchange documentation on Tech Center.  The articles on POP and IMAP are here...

Exchange 2003 and 2007 Documentation

Well I know that this is shamlessly pinched from Blake (who has done all of the hard work on this), but here’s a collection of all of the new resource guides that we’ve released recently for Exchange 2003. 

And if you’re wondering… All of the technical documentation we have on Exchange 2007 is here.

I think that it’s about time I did some Exchange 2007 blogcasts to demo some of the features I covered in the roadshow.  What would you like to see?  Let me guess.  The Unified Messaging demo?  The new UI? OWA? Give me some suggestions and I’ll record something for you…

Customising Quota messages in Exchange 2003

There have been loads of questions about customising that message that gets sent out automatically when you reach your quota in Exchange, so we’ve released a tool that allows you to do just that.  You need to download and install the tool onto your Exchange server.  If you’re running Exchange 2000, you’ll need to apply the hotfix first though.  You then need to edit the registry and add these keys:

1.Locate and then click the following registry subkey: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\MSExchangeIs\<servername>\<mdb guid>.
2.Create a REG_DWORD value named Local System Ignores Quota and set the value to 1. This value must be set on each <mdb guid> entry. Without this, the quota service will not be able to save messages to users who are over  their shutoff (prohibit send and receive) quotas. If the Exchange server does not use shutoff quotas, this value can be set to 0, or omitted.
3.Click OK.
4.Locate and then click the following registry subkey: HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\MSExchangeIs\servername>\<mdb guid>.
5.Create a REG_DWORD value named Disable Quota Messages and set the value to 1. This value must be set on each <mdb guid> entry. This value prevents the MSExchangeIS process from generating internal quota messages.
6.Click OK.

Then you need to stop and restart the Information store.  You can then start to modify the Quota messages which are in the QuotaMessages folder in the root of the mailbox.  The parent messages for quota template messages have the subjects: Warning, NoSend, and NoSendReceive.  The embedded message in each of these contains the quota template message which will be used to populate properties of the generate quota messages.  This is the part you can modify to suit your organisation.  But don’t change this bit…
The body of the quota message template can contain references to insertion strings (below) that will be replaced with information about a mailbox.
%1 – current mailbox size
%2 – size at which mailbox will receive warning messages
%3 – size at which the mailbox will no longer be able to send
%4 – size at which the mailbox can no longer send or receive
%5 – difference if any between warning threshold and current mailbox size
%6 – difference if any between send prohibited threshold and current mailbox size
%7 – difference if any between send and receive prohibited threshold and current mailbox size
If a limit is not set, do not reference it in the quota message template. No limit is displayed as -1.

You also need to have an account for the Quota Message Service with an associated mailbox on each server. This mailbox should be monitored so that responses to quota messages can be viewed, or the quota message template should clearly instruct the user not to respond or reply. Limitations must be set on this mailbox so that no messages can be sent to it.

Oh, how I wish that this tool had been around for Exchange 5.5 when I was the Exchange admin – I would have been able to keep my users under some sort of control with varying fierce and doom laden messages warning of dire things that would happen to them! 

Maybe I’m safer now I’m not in support any more…

Exchange questions from the TechNet tour

We’re at Bristol at the final leg of the roadshow, and the final time for a couple of weeks that I’ll be demoing the Unified messaging demo (apart from amazing my non technical friends with the demo of a voice controlled interactive email system – it really blows their minds…)

So here’s a few of the resources I talk about during my Exchange 2007 session, and some answers to the questions I get asked every time I present.

64-bit.  Yes, we will release ONLY in 64 bit.  32 bit is only here whilst Exchange 2007 is in beta.  Read the rationale behind this over on the Exchange team blog.

Unified Messaging: How does it actually work under the bonnet (hood for you if you’re in the US).  Read Marks excellent blog post on the techy bits and keep up to date with the Exchange team blog as they’ll be releasing info on UM soon…

Server roles.  Edge server must be installed on a seperate server to the other server roles. it uses ADAM (Active Directory Applicaton mode) for access to AD.  See these features for Edge in the beta 2 release notes

You can install all the other server roles on the same server.  All Exchange Server 2007 server roles—except for the Edge Transport server role or, when clustering, the Mailbox server role—can be deployed on a single physical server.  have a look at the FAQ for more info..

Exchange 2003 SP2 allowed you to increase your mailbox store on standard edition to 75GB.  It’s a registry key. Read this article that shows you how to do it.

When will it be available for Small Business Server?  That I don’t know… I suppose it depends when evey component of SBS is also available in 64 bit….Unless you know different…?

Messaging Webcasts for July

TechNet Webcast: Exchange Server 2003 Tips, Tricks, and Tools (Level 300)
Friday, July 07, 2006 – 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM Pacific Time
Chris Avis, TechNet presenter, Microsoft Corporation
This webcast introduces you to some of the new tools that are available from Microsoft to help make your Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 administration tasks easier and less time-consuming. We also share some tips to help you administer your Exchange Server 2003 installation more efficiently and effectively. Learn about the Microsoft Exchange Server Best Practices Analyzer, a tool that makes recommendations for improving Exchange Server performance and reliability. We also cover several other tools for Exchange Server 2003, such as the Disaster Recovery Analyzer Tool, the Performance Troubleshooting Analyzer Tool, the Microsoft Office Outlook Web Access Administration Tool, and the Exchange Server User Monitor. Finally, we explain how to simplify the configuration of Microsoft Operations Manager using the Exchange Management Pack Configuration Wizard.

TechNet Webcast: How Microsoft IT Does Mobile Messaging (Level 300)
Tuesday, July 18, 2006 – 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM Pacific Time
David Wilson, Microsoft IT Service Manager, Microsoft Corporation
This webcast describes how Microsoft IT used Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 with Service Pack 2 and Windows Mobile 5.0 with the Messaging and Security Feature Pack to enhance its mobile messaging infrastructure. By implementing these new technologies, Microsoft IT was able to manage mobile devices more easily, better secure mobile devices, and enable end users to take advantage of a richer mobile messaging experience.

Momentum Webcast: What Is Microsoft Antigen? (Level 100)
Monday, July 10, 2006 – 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM Pacific Time
Peter Eicher, Senior Product Manager, Microsoft Corporation
Microsoft Antigen products provide server-level antivirus, anti-spam, and content filtering solutions that help businesses protect their e-mail and collaboration environments against viruses, worms, spam, and inappropriate content. Attend this webcast to learn about the new Microsoft-branded versions of Antigen e-mail security products (based on the acquisition of Sybari Software) now available, along with new and improved Microsoft pricing and licensing options. Discover how content and file filtering technologies help organizations control compliance with corporate content policies, eliminating inappropriate language and dangerous attachments from internal and external communications.

Exchange – going small or large?

A lot of the questions I get when I’m out at the roadshow are about Exchange and what Exchange 2007 can do for organisations. I get questions asking how the Unified Messaging System really works behind the scenes, and whether we have plans for SIP integration (I don’t know the answer to this one at the moment by the way).   My favourite question (and one that’s asked regularly at the roadshow) is whether we can stop the UM lady asking us to press the pound key.  (Note to my colleagues in the US.  THe pound is our British currency and whilst it appears above the number 3 on my Laptop keyboard, it doesn’t appear on the phone dialler!).  We, and lots of other countries call this symbol the hash key.  So could we put in the option to change the word “pound” to the word “hash”.  It must be an easy option if we do the UK English install of the UM system instead of the US install?  Come on Exchange team… is this possible?

Its fairly obvious that I’d get these questions from time to time when I’ve been presenting some of the new features – I’d naturally expect these sorts of questions.  But the questions that I’ve been getting over the last two days have got me wondering if the TechNet roadshow is actually delivering the right sort of content for the majority of the audience.  When I decided on the content this year, I went for topics that I thought would appeal to people wanting to know about up and coming technologies.  An overview of the new features in 2007 Office System, Exchange 2007 and Vista, with the new features of Windows Server R2, and ISA Server too.

But I reckon that 75% of the questions that I’ve had this week concern Small Business Server and various aspects of SBS architecture.

So my question is…Should we include an SBS track in future events?  and if so, what do you want us to cover on this potential SBS track?  Should we deliver this event in conjunction with Partners at their offices (which may mean smaller events and audiences) or carry on with larger events that hold an SBS track.  I’d love to know your thoughts.  Add your comments, and let me know as our planning for next year has just started…

Exchange 2003 synchronisation with Outlook 2003

You know, sometimes I’m really glad that I’m not an Exchange admin any more.  Sometimes life is just too hard… I got a mail from Paul with this challenge:

We have a user that is at the end of a slow link in Africa. We continually have problems with him syncronizing his email. Do you know of any articles or resources that would explain exactly how the Outlook 2003 offline sync works (ie nuts and bolts) I have not been able to find anything that really explains the process in depth. Of course it does not help that his mailbox is 4GB and he absolutly has to sync nearly all of hie email into a folder structure that would fear even the most hardened Email Admin.

Yikes… I’d certainly recommend the mailbox cleanup tool or the mailbox manager to get rid of old mails and suffer the political backlash.  But that’s not what I actually sent back to him:

Outlook 2003 talking to Exchange 2003 only synchronises things that have changed – It doesn’t do a full sync.  there are a couple of resources that explain things quite well 

Improvements in Client Server synchronisation 

Client Network Traffic with Microsoft Exchange Server 2003:

Detail regarding the compression technique

(I still prefer the ruthless option though)  Good job I’m not an Exchange admin any more…