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How can i search all user's mail within exchange 2007?

Posted on 2008-10-17
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I know this may sound a bit Black Hat-ish but i was just asked by the "big boss" if there was a way to find some e-mails.

The boss has reason to believe that some of the employees in the company are doing some illegal things during work hours and using the e-mail system and their blackberries to communicate while out in the field.  With the bad shape everything is in, this is as he put it "the last thing he needs to worry about and needs to be stopped now".  He thinks he knows who is involved, however he was asking if there is a way to search all the users mailboxes from the exchange server for specific words in the body to see if he can track if people are doing illegal things.

I told him i would look into it, and have been poking around looking for answers, and it sounds like it can be done, but no one is saying how.

I was curious if this can be done, and how it can be done, as i have not seen any tools to do it, it seems plausible, but i have not been able to find any answers on it.  I'm also suddenly the de-facto administrator as my boss who setup this whole system quit on a whim a few weeks ago and I'm trying to learn everything he did and setup and unfortunately exchange is not one of my stronger points.
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Question by:garaxiel
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LVL 1

Assisted Solution

by:panikfan1
panikfan1 earned 75 total points
ID: 22740680
Not sure if there is a way to search all at once natively in exchange, you can certainly search each mailbox though.  I'd recommend a product like Symantec Enterprise Vault and the 'e-discovery' component.  That will provide powerful search and discovery tools, but it's expensive.
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by:garaxiel
ID: 22740721
Unfortunately, i have not gotten any authority to spend money doing this, and i am sure it will be one of those "spend as little as possible" solutions.  If it comes to it, I'm sure i will be told to just start searching mailboxes individually, but i am trying to avoid that is possible.

Thank you though.
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LVL 2

Accepted Solution

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lmkandia earned 300 total points
ID: 22747143
Exmerge is free.  It comes with Exchange.  Petri does a wonderful job of explaining how to use it.  We use it as a tertiary backup system for exchange.

http://www.petri.co.il/brick_level_backup_of_mailboxes_by_using_exmerge.htm

Once you extract the email to a pst, simply open the PST file in the most recent version of Outlook and simply do an "advanced find" on whatever you wish.

As for future emails, I take it you are the interim administrator.  I also take it, that those people in question, do NOT have access to Active Directory?  If this is the case for all future email, simply forward a copy of their email to a gmail account (active directory/users and computers/properties of the user/exchange general/delivery options).  Make sure that you put a CHECKMARK in FORWARD and KEEP a COPY box.  

Then use Google to search thru their email :)

To send directly to a Google account for instance, create a NEW Contact in Active Directory.  Let's call it "Joe's Gmail".  Make sure that you DON'T create and Exchange account for this contact.  Finish the process and then right click on the contact, ALL EXCHANGE Tasks and add an SMTP address - the gmail address!

Let us know if you need more assistance.
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by:garaxiel
ID: 22757364
I think i may have left out some very important information, lmkandia.

Your solution is not how i wanted to do it, but it will work, but there is one thing, i have not gotten EXMERGE to work with 2007 on a 64bit Server 2003 machine yet.  the program keeps failing on me.

is EXMERGER able to work with exchange 2007 on a 64bit os?

i was hoping the solution was easier then using EXMERGE but i guess not huh?
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