Problem solve Get help with specific problems with your technologies, process and projects.

Gaining access to a user's e-mail account

I am the Exchange Administrator for a school system. I am running Exchange 2000 SP3 with about 2,200 accounts and I have full administrator rights to all of our servers. On occasion, my boss has asked to access someone's e-mail. What is the best way to set this up? Also, what is the best way to delete an e-mail that was sent out to some users by mistake? About 150 of my users use Outlook 2000 on Windows XP; all the rest use Outlook Web Access.

The best way to access another's mailbox is to grant your account temporary "Full Mailbox Access" permissions under the Mailbox Rights Button of the Exchange Advanced Properties tab. This should be done only with explicit (written preferably) authorization by your manager, so you don't get into any ethical or legal trouble. Once this permission has been granted, create a profile for Outlook that connects to this mailbox.

To delete messages from select user mailboxes, you can use the steps above to log in and manually delete. Or, a more scalable approach involves using Exmerge.exe to find and delete messages. Download the Exchange 2000 version from Microsoft and follow the procedure outlined in the following Knowledge Base articles from Microsoft:

  • How to Remove a Message from Exchange by Using the ExMerge Utility
  • How-to: Remove a Virus-Infected Message from Mailboxes by Using the ExMerge.exe Tool.


    ALWAYS get written permission and save a copy 'off site' that is NOT accessible to the requestor. Otherwise, you can be easily 'stabbed in the back.'

    —Bill M.

    Do you have comments on this Ask the Expert question and response? Let us know.
  • Dig Deeper on Exchange Server setup and troubleshooting

    Have a question for an expert?

    Please add a title for your question

    Get answers from a TechTarget expert on whatever's puzzling you.

    You will be able to add details on the next page.

    Start the conversation

    Send me notifications when other members comment.

    Please create a username to comment.