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

Temporarily disable mail delivery

On Exchange 2000 or 2003, it is my understanding that if I disable a user account, it will stop receiving e-mail. I need to disable users when they go on vacation, but don't want to kill the delivery of mail.

Do I have to re-associate the SMTP address to a different mailbox to accomplish this? That would be a pain when it comes time to move the mail back when they return, wouldn't it?

I'm assuming that your regulatory requirement solely requires you to lock end users out of their mailboxes during their vacation times. If that's correct, I wouldn't recommend re-homing their SMTP proxy address to another mailbox. Rather, I'd recommend changing the mailbox rights (AD Users & Computers -> Properties of a mailbox -> Exchange Advanced -> User Rights) to "Deny Read" and "Deny Full Mailbox Access" on the SELF object. That should be sufficient to keep the users out of their mailboxes without actually prohibiting mail delivery.


The "needed result" described in the question was to 'disable' the users. The solution provided did not disable the users; it just prevented them from gaining access to their mail. There can be a need for an AD account to be inactive/disabled while allowing e-mail to remain active.
—Mike D.


There's no way that I'm aware of to disable a user account and continue to receive SMTP traffic -- hence, the workaround.

One additional step that could be used to 'effectively' disable the account would be to have the administrator change the password so that the user can't log in.
—David Sengupta, tip author


NoMAS.exe is a tool to help with msExchMasterAccountSid related problems. Disabled Windows 200x user accounts with Exchange 200x mailboxes need to have this property set in order to receive mail, among other things. Enabled user accounts should never have msExchMasterAccountSid. NoMAS ensures that all disabled users have msExchMasterAccountSid, and all enabled users do not. It can also resynchronize the "Associated External Account" with msExchMasterAccountSid.

The above is the first paragraph of a seven-page article called NoMAS, by Alex Seigler, Microsoft Product Support Services. This will explain the answer to the question.
—Rebecca J.


Do you know where I can get nomas.exe utility?
—John V.


You need to contact Microsoft Product Support Services (PSS) for this. Microsoft doesn't typically charge for calls like this.
David Sengupta

Do you have comments on this Ask the Expert question and response? Let us know.

Dig Deeper on Exchange Server setup and troubleshooting