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How to create custom mailbox quota messages for Exchange Server 2003

Learn how you can use a free .NET program called the Quota Message Service to customize Exchange Server 2003 mailbox quota messages for users who are near or over their message storage thresholds.

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As an Exchange Server administrator, you're probably familiar with how quotas can be set on user mailboxes. Whenever users are near or over their quotas for message storage, they're sent a warning. The exact thresholds are customizable, but the actual warning messages are not -- they're hard-coded into one of Exchange Server's .DLLs as a resource string.

It is possible to edit the .DLL by hand and change the strings to whatever you want -- and many people have in fact done so -- but there are three problems associated with that approach:

  1. It isn't easy to make changes, and you can screw up the .DLL in question if you don't know exactly what you're doing.

  2. If you apply a service pack or hotfix to Exchange Server, you risk having the changes overwritten.

  3. Hacking .DLLs is no way to make a change like this if there's a simpler way to do it.

As luck would have it, there is a simpler way. Exchange Server programmer Jason Nelson created an application called the Quota Message Service (QMS), a .NET program that lets you create custom mailbox quota messages without modifying any Microsoft Exchange components.

QMS installs through its own .MSI, like a conventional program, and can be removed just as easily. Full documentation is installed in the same directory as the program itself.

You have to set up a mailbox for QMS, called the Quota Message Service account. This can just be (the name is essentially arbitrary), but it should not be an existing email address.

The only other configuration required is a registry edit and the creation of a new Microsoft Outlook profile. The new profile logs on to the quota box described above, which is where the custom quota messages are delivered. The conventional quota messages are disabled; QMS sends them instead.

Templates for each quota message are kept in a folder at the root of the Exchange mailbox and can be customized freely (of course!).

About the author: Serdar Yegulalp is editor of the Windows Power Users Newsletter.

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Related information from

  • Expert Advice: Understanding the three types of Exchange Server mailbox quotas
  • Expert Advice: Changing Exchange Server mailbox notification text
  • Expert Advice: Determining the best mailbox quota size for your Exchange users
  • Tip: Using system policies to manage Exchange Server
  • Reference Center: Exchange Server mailbox management tips
  • Dig Deeper on Exchange Server setup and troubleshooting

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