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Configuring Exchange 2010 out of office messages

If a user forgets to turn on his Exchange 2010 out of office message, he may rely on you to do that for him. Fortunately, you have a couple options.

When my users go on vacation, they often forget to set their Exchange 2010 out of office messages. Subsequently, many of them request that we log into their mailboxes and set up the messages on their behalf. I'm not comfortable going into their mail. Is there another way I can set up the OOO message without logging in?

There are two ways to accomplish this in Exchange 2010. The first way is through the Exchange Management Shell, the other is through the Exchange Control Panel (ECP).

Begin Exchange 2010 out of office message management in RBAC
Figure 1. Begin Exchange 2010 out of office message management in RBAC.

No matter which method you choose, you must first make sure that your administrative account has the correct permissions. To start, create a role group via role based access control (RBAC) and name it "OOF_Management." Next, assign the User Options role to the group. Now add your administrative account to the Members section (Figure 1).

Configuring Exchange 2010 out of office messages: The EMS method

Now that you've configured your RBAC role group and role, you can start in on the Exchange Management Shell (EMS) method. I will explain the Exchange Control Panel method shortly.

To begin, create a PS1 script (a text file with a .ps1 extension) on a workstation or Exchange server within your domain. Execute the script below from a PowerShell window and follow the prompts.

Note: Make sure to change the $ConnectionURI constant at the top of the script to match the Exchange server in your infrastructure.

 # Sample script for setting OOF using PSRemoting and a dedicated RBAC role Version 1.0 #> # Make sure that you set the $ConnectionURI (below) to one of your Exchange Servers. $ConnectionURI = "http://prod-ex2010-01/PowerShell/" # The following establishes the remote PS Session to the Exchange Server. It will prompt for credentials - you should supply Creds for accounts that are part of the OOF_Management RBAC role. The session will then be imported. #> $Session = New-PSSession -ConfigurationName Microsoft.Exchange -ConnectionURI $ConnectionURI -Authentication Kerberos -Credential (Get-Credential) Import-PSSession $Session # Get the relevant OOF information. $Mailbox = Read-Host "Please specify the Mailbox." $InternalMessage = Read-Host "Please specify the internal message" $ExternalMessage = Read-Host "Please specify the external message" # Use the "Set-MailboxAutoReplyConfiguration" cmdlet to enable and configure the OOF information. Set-MailboxAutoReplyConfiguration -Identity $Mailbox -AutoReplyState Enabled -InternalMessage "$InternalMessage" -ExternalMessage "$ExternalMessage" # Tear down the remote PS Session. Remove-PSSession $Session
Select the Exchange 2010 user who needs his out of office message configured
Figure 2: Select the Exchange 2010 user who needs his out of office message configured.

Configuring Exchange 2010 out of office messages: The ECP method

As mentioned previously, you can also use the Exchange Control Panel to configure Exchange 2010 out of office messages.

Completing the Exchange 2010 out of office message configuration process
Figure 3. You've successfully set up your Exchange 2010 user's out of office message.

Now, sign into the ECP using the account that you created and included as part of the aforementioned RBAC role group. Navigate to Mail -> Options: -> Manage My Organization -> Another User.

You will now see the Select Mailbox dialog box. Locate the user who forgot to set his out of office message (Figure 2).

You will now see a properties box. Click on Shortcuts to other things you can do section, then click on Tell people that you are on vacation (Figure 3).

Andy Grogan,
an Exchange MVP based in the U.K., has worked in the IT industry for the last 14 years -- primarily with Microsoft, HP and IBM technologies. His main passion is Exchange Server, but he also specializes in Active Directory, SQL Server and storage solutions. Andy is currently working for a large council in West London as the Networks and Operations Manager supporting 6,000 customers on more than 240 sites. Visit Andy's website at www.telnetport25.com/.

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