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Shared inbox / Exchange setup strategy ?

Hi all,

4 workstations running on Win2000/WinXP using several external POP3 mail accounts. Both Outlook and Outlook Express are being used, buth this will change to Outlook on all workstations. The applications are set to fetch mail from the same external server every 2 minutes or so.

- ISP complains of excessive querying
- every workstation has its own PST folder
- mail will arrive at only one PC (obviously)
- unsynchronized contacts

Setting up the clients to share every mailbox so anyone can see the email history, reply history etc. Ideally, there would be one resource shared by all the workstations to avoid duplicate data.

I guess this can be achieved with Exchange, but if there are ways to set this up without Exchange (money, money, money), that would be great. (like with a free mailserver or something)

I'm planning to install a dedicated machine for centralized tasks, so this might be important for the solution

I'm not asking for a detailled step-by-step solution, just a general guide of how to set this up.

note: "Leave copy of mail on server" is not an option. This will not reduce the amount of traffic to the ISP. Furthermore, I'd like a more solid solution.

Thanks in advance.
2 Solutions
If you are going with a centralized machine, you could possibly setup that machine to download all the messages and share out the PST file to all other machines to use/access.

With 4 workstations, you would be much better off to not get Exchange. It's way too expensive for your use. Look at a mail server product called Mdaemon (www.mdaemon.com). It is very inexpensive ($110-$330US for a 6 user license) for the number of users you have, and you can create a single server based pop login for the account(s) you want to retrieve from. Then share the account among the users and all will be able to read all email.

It also gives your users access to web mail, gives you web-based administration, and anti-spam tools. Anti-virus plugins are inexpensive compared to Exchange.

I use this for all my clients with less than 25 users.

Outlook works seamlessly with it. We've never tried it with Express.

They have also just released a groupware product for it for shared calendar, etc. I have not tried the groupware product yet.

Good luck

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