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Use "alternate recipient," not rules

Why and how to use the alternate recipient feature of Exchange.


Use "alternate recipient," not rules
Serdar Yegulalp

This tip is similar to one we ran a while ago, but it offers more rationale for using the method recommended. While it is possible to use some rule-based filtering to account for employees who have left your company's employ, there is a simpler way to handle that problem: alternate recipients. This tip explains the alternate recipient and offers reasons why you might want to use this method instead of rules-based filtering.

Many Exchange admins use rules to sort out forwarded, non-deliverable messages sent to accounts used by former employees. Unfortunately, Outlook has an arbitrary upper boundary on both the number of rules and the level of complexity for some. If you're dealing with a very large organization, the number of rules for non-deliverables can get exhausted very quickly.

Rather than create forwarding rules for ex-employees, a simpler solution is to set up alternate recipients for the accounts in Exchange, which would then forward mail to whatever email forwarding address they have chosen or to an admin-run mailbox that you choose.

For ex-employees' mailboxes that don't need forwarding, you can create an empty distribution list and add the appropriate SMTP addresses to it. That way, no non-deliverable warnings are dumped out for you to sift through, which is useful if an ex-employee was subscribed to a great deal of mailing lists. (Most mailing lists are designed to stop sending mails after a certain number of bounce errors, but this way you're guaranteed not to have a zillion spurious responses for everything.)

Here's How to set up an alternate recipient field for a mailbox in Exchange:

  1. Open Exchange Administrator.

  2. Under the relevant email domain, click on Recipients, then double-click on the name of the person for whom you want to set an alternate recipient.

  3. Go into the Delivery Options for that person and edit the Alternate Recipient field in that tab.

  4. If you want the email to go to the original address as well, check the "Deliver messages to both recipient and alternate recipient" checkbox.

  5. Click OK.

You can import a comma-delimited file (a .CSV file) that lets you add multiple Alternate Recipients at once. Microsoft Knowledge Base document Q169754 has full details on how you can go about accomplishing that.

Serdar Yegulalp is the editor of the Windows 2000 Power Users Newsletter.

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