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Updating Exchange Server Global Address Lists

Learn about the two basic methods for updating Global Address Lists in Exchange Server and Active Directory, and discover native and third-party tools you can use to tackle both approaches.

There are two basic ways to work with data like Global Address Lists (GALs) in Exchange Server and Active Directory: manipulate it directly within the system with native or third-party tools like LDIFDE or ADModify.NET); or export the data, work with it offline, and then import it back in.

Working with Exchange Server and Active Directory data offline has strong benefits -- the best being that you can make all the modifications you want without affecting the original data, and then merge the changes once they're finalized.

IMI GAL Exporter 3.0 is a new third-party tool I've discovered that allows for the exportation and offline manipulation of Exchange Server and Active Directory data. It can harvest a list of mailboxes, distribution lists and custom recipient properties from any Recipient container, and export them to a file that can be read by Microsoft Access or another database program.

IMI GAL Exporter can also gather and report on many common multi-value entries -- such as business and home phone entries -- plus custom attributes. The harvesting process can be filtered in various ways, including by field matches, by object type, and by including or excluding specific fields.

IMIBO, the company that created the application, has also written a console version of the program, so that harvesting and exporting can be automated or done from a batch script.

Another add-on allows for Exchange Server Distribution Lists to be exported as well. According to tests run by the authors, they've been able to export data for 1,000 users in less than six seconds.

One drawback to IMI GAL Exporter is that it only works on one Exchange server at a time; it can't retrieve directory data from across a forest, for instance.

The free demo version is the same as the fully licensed version, but will only work on the first 50 mailboxes it encounters.

Registration is $50 per seat with volume discounts available; registered users get unlimited upgrades and technical support.

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

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