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Different methods for supporting shared Exchange Server mailboxes

Discover various methods for supporting a shared mailbox, and how to make sure sent and deleted items remain associated with it.

What is the best way to have a shared Exchange Server mailbox (like for a tech support team), and have all of the sent and deleted items show up as the support mailbox user?
VIEW MEMBER FEEDBACK TO THIS ASK THE EXPERT Q&A.

This is a frequently asked question, and different organizations use different methods to support common shared...

mailboxes/e-mail addresses such as: support, sales, info, jobs, etc. Additionally, you want to see the Support user's Sent Items and Deleted Items show up in Support user's mailbox, not in the mailbox of the person who is using that mailbox.

I will leave the choice of best up to you depending on your individual requirements. The different methods follow.

First, create a mailbox -- let's call it "Support." It gets the desired e-mail address -- support@yourdomain.ext. Create a Security Group and call it SG-Support-MailboxAccess. Assign it Send As, Receive As, and Full Mailbox Access permissions from Active Directory Users and Computers -> User Properties. Make everyone needing access a member of this group.

  1. Users can open the mailbox as an additional mailbox in their Microsoft Outlook profile.
  2. Users can access the mailbox using Outlook Web Access (OWA) using the full URL -- http/https://serverfqdn/exchange/support.
  3. All users can open the mailbox in a different Microsoft Outlook profile. Downside: At one time, a user can open a profile with his/her own mailbox or the Support mailbox.

If you open it as an additional mailbox in Microsoft Outlook, when you try to send a message as that user, it will not end up in that user's Sent Items. You will find the message in your Sent Items instead. Similarly, when you delete items from that mailbox, you will find it in your Deleted Items.

Comparatively, using OWA seems to be a better choice that meets your requirements.

MEMBER FEEDBACK TO THIS ASK THE EXPERT Q&A:

If you log on to Outlook Web Access (OWA) as an individual user and send out email, will others be able to tell who actually sent it?
—Yi W.

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If you log on to a shared mailbox on which you have "Full Mailbox Access" and "Send As" permissions, it's not possible to tell who sent the message based on message headers, because the message appears to be sent by that user. This differs from the Send On Behalf Of permission, which doesn't work from OWA (as far as I know).

Nevertheless, you can always look at the Internet Information Services (IIS) logs and decipher the IP address(es) of computers from which *OWA access* takes place. The caveat: IIS logs don't reveal details about particular messages like message headers and Exchange Message Tracking can.
—Bharat Suneja, Exchange Server Administration expert

Do you have comments on this Ask the Expert Q&A? Let us know.

Related information from SearchExchange.com:

  • Tip: Let multiple users share the same mailbox
  • Tip: 15 tips in 15 minutes: Managing recipients and distribution lists
  • Reference Center: Mailbox management tips and resources
  • This was last published in March 2006

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