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Exchange Server 2010 public beta rolls out new features

With the Exchange Server 2010 public beta available, the public now has a chance to play around with its new features. In this tip from Microsoft Exchange Server expert Brien Posey, he explains a few new features available in Exchange 2010, including Mail Tips and message archiving improvements.

Microsoft has been hard at work developing Exchange 2010, previously called Exchange 14. With the first public beta of Exchange 2010 now available, it's time to take a look at some of its coolest features.

Mail Tips

One of my favorite Exchange 2010 features is Mail Tips. Exchange Server uses built-in intelligence to inform users of a recipient's status before sending a message. In the past, for example, you would send a message to someone and then receive an Out of Office message if they were away. Mail Tips will show you a recipient's Out of Office message once you enter an email address into Outlook's To: field -- before you even send the message .

The Mail Tips feature has several other functions too. If a user tries to Reply All on a message that they were blind copied (BCC) on, they will be warned that they were included as a blind CC and that they should not use the Reply All option. Whether or not to send the message is up to the user; Exchange won't prevent the message from being sent.

Mail Tips also warns users if they're about to send a message to a large number of recipients, or if they are going to send a message to a distribution list that contains recipients outside of their organization. Administrators can actually customize Mail Tips to warn users about several other actions.

Note: According to Microsoft, Outlook 2007 will not support the Mail Tips feature. If you want to use Mail Tips, you will need Outlook 2010 or the Exchange 2010 version of Outlook Web Access (OWA).

Message archiving in Exchange 2010

Message archiving features have been greatly improved in Exchange 2010. Administrators can now implement retention policies that set expiration policies for messages. A message's expiration date is displayed within the message header. If a user needs to keep the message beyond its expiration date, they can apply a separate retention policy or move it to their personal archives.

Exchange 2010 mailboxes are also equipped with personal archives -- secondary mailboxes that appear as a folder within the user's primary mailbox. Personal archives allow users to search their own archives, rather than locking archived messages where they can't access them.

Another archiving feature in Exchange 2010 is the multi-mailbox search, which allows users to search a mailbox and their personal archives simultaneously. This feature also allows Help Desk or legal departments perform e-discovery across all archives. Some new filtering capabilities also help to narrow down search results.

The legal hold feature is also new to Exchange 2010. Legal hold allows mailbox items to be preserved, if needed. A legal hold can be placed on an individual mailbox or on the entire organization. This version also allows you to automatically notify users that a hold has been placed on their mailboxes.

About the author: Brien M. Posey, MCSE, is a five-time recipient of Microsoft's Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award for his work with Exchange Server, Windows Server, Internet Information Services (IIS), and File Systems and Storage. Brien has served as CIO for a nationwide chain of hospitals and was once responsible for the Department of Information Management at Fort Knox. As a freelance technical writer, Brien has written for Microsoft, TechTarget, CNET, ZDNet, MSD2D, Relevant Technologies and other technology companies. You can visit Brien's personal website at www.brienposey.com.

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