Exchange Public Folders

Posted on 2009-04-07
Last Modified: 2012-05-06
I have built an MS 2003 Small Business Server (Standard R2) and am using Exchange to provide a client with normal email mailboxes (12 in total - so it's not a large site and will not grow significantly).  

On one particular (very generic) email address '' the client receives emails from all sorts of clients (both principals (landlords) and their tenants).  The internal distribution dictates that these emails to go to more than one person.  So to avoid complex Outlook email distribution rules depending on whether the issue is a maintenance, accounting, inspection, advertising or general matter we needed a better solution

Obviously the answer is to put all these emails in a public folder and allow every user to see all emails and then they follow-up on the email if it is their job to do so, copy the email into their own mailbox structure and delete the email from the public folder so that nobody else picks-up on it and duplicates effort.  This works brilliantly because if somebody misses an email it stays where it is and alerts managers to the fact that nobody is dealing with it.

So wheres the issue?  Well in which to allow each user the rights to delete objects in the public folders they have to be Owners of the public folders.  Immediately they are owners the have all rights to do what they will and then they make mistakes and delete the public folders rather than the messages within them.

Despite very calm, patient and personal training we have users that just do not take enough care to ensure that the email they want to delete is the object in focus and we have lost the entire public folder twice.  This is a disaster because important emails from their clients are totally irrecoverable having arrived that day and therefore not on the last back-up.  There is not a back-up strategy that will cope with this and really that is not the solution I am looking for.

What we need is to customise the permission on the public folder to deny container (public folder) deletion but to allow object (email) deletion (and therefore the move command) and to allow objects to be flagged if a client has emailed about several issues that have to be picked-up by more than one department.  e.g. My water heater is broken and Im not in next Tuesday when you want to do an inspection and I cant pay my rent on time.  This would mean the maintenance department, the inspections department and the accounts department all need to copy the email to their mailbox structure and then once all have it then a manager can monitor this and delete the email from the public folder.  

So what is needed is Owner rights but deny folder deletion.

Can anybody help please?

Question by:MikeDTE
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LVL 18

Accepted Solution

flyingsky earned 500 total points
ID: 24090212
when you assign client access permissions to the public folder, you can assign Delete All without given them owner permission. (see the Delete Items section underneath Folder Visable)


Author Comment

ID: 24091034
Thanks for the quick response.  I am not on site and can't try this out because Outlook needs to be run from a workstation on the LAN and all workstations are off so I can't RDP in.

A quick inspection shows that the default permission for the folder in question is set as per your image; but flagging is denied and objects in the folder cannot be deleted.

One other issue is that although this is a SBS we have installed XP Unlimited which activates MS Terminal Services and allows for an unlimited number of concurrent RDP sessions.  This is done to allow server based software to be run on a mixture of old and new workstations without speed issues (i.e. a bit like thin client)

I have been working under the impression that something in XPU is in some way affecting the permissions.
LVL 15

Expert Comment

ID: 24091959
I'd use a mailbox for this myself. Public folders can get messy and users pesky.

Route everything into a dedicated mailbox - give everyone access to it, and educate them to drag and drop the emails from the catch-all mailbox and into their own for further processing.

It will save you having to grant them any more permissions than is required adn keep them from nuking your folders again

Author Comment

ID: 24095203
Thanks for your further thoughts.  I now have looked at this again on site this morning and gave users 'Publishing Editor' rights by removing all specific permissions and making the Default permission as 'PE'.

On the workstation I was using (a spare which has Office XP) the public folders cannot be deleted but the items within them can be deleted and moved (all OK so far) but flagging does not work.  On all other workstations Office 2003  is installed and this works the same way with deleting / moving (again good) but better the flagging works.  If the spare is upgraded to Outlook 2003 using the CD that comes with SBS then all will be OK.

Thanks - solution accepted the points are yours
LVL 18

Expert Comment

ID: 24096236
glad to hear this works for you.

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