Posted on 2006-07-19
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-03-06
I am having a hard time figuring out what the Global Address List (GAL) really does for me.   What is GAL?  Where does it come from?  Is it stored in the NTDS.DIT and is formed by a running memory process somehow?    I find all kinds of references for understanding the Global Catalog but nothing directly for GAL.  Any help would be appreciated. This question was also posted in Server section but they directed me to exchange as GAL is according to other posting a "exchange only" used item.

Question by:techbnjcomp
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Basically the GAL or Global Address List is a listing of all mail enabled or mailbox enabled objects in your organisation. A mail enabled object is anything with an e-mail address but that does not have a mailbox. While a mailbox enabled object also has an associated mailbox.
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Expert Comment

ID: 17143012
The GAL is generated from data on the Global Catalog (GC) server. If Exchange cannot contact the GC then there will be problems.

Author Comment

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generated?   Is it a memory process or another file that is running and what exactly "generates" it?  Something in exchange ?
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Accepted Solution

mass2612 earned 1500 total points
ID: 17143144
Take a look through this article is may help you further - http://www.computerperformance.co.uk/exchange2003/exchange2003_GAL.htm#How%20the%20Exchange%202003%20GAL%20works

"How the Exchange 2003 GAL works
All the address information is held by Active Directory.  To the left of the @ is the username, to the right of the @, the email domain name.  In fact, I think of the GAL as merely a fancy LDAP query which produces a list of addresses, for example guyt @ cp.com.  The final piece of the address jigsaw is RUS (Recipient Update Service.  RUS is the engine which generates and updates the email addresses that you see in the GAL.

If the GAL is slow to update, then look to the Global Catalog servers.  Make sure that there is Windows 2003 Global Catalog server near the Exchange 2003 server running RUS.  As you may know, the Global Catalog replicates a sub-set of all the user's properties, including Exchange features such as email address.  So if Exchange has access to a local Global Catalog server, then its GAL will be up-to-date."


Expert Comment

ID: 17143890
GAL is a list of all mail enabled objects.

If you look in ADUC you can goto exchange advanced and see a tab that says "hide user from GAL"

GAL is an easy way for your users to find each other in one list. So they dont need to ask each other for their email addresses. You can also add non exchange users to the GAL with mail enabled contacts. So you could add a GAL folder called contractors and the email "mr-fix-it@yahoo.com"

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