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Mark Racicot
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How do I automate connections to mailboxes?

I work in an Active Director environment with an Exchange 2003 server. Outlook is in Exchange mode, and archives (AutoArchive) is set to archive to users' homedir (H:\Outlook\archive.pst). Most users also connect to and use corporate mailboxes which I must manually connect to with the "Open additional mailboxes" dialog in the e-mail account configuration screen (Tools:E-mail accounts:More Settings -- "Advanced" tab).

Users move from computer to computer within the building, depending on the needs for the day. Accordingly, I have to map archives and the additional mailboxes every time a user goes to a computer which they haven't used before (or which was re-imaged since the last time they used it).

Is there a way to script the mailbox connections? Is there a tool out there somewhere that I can use to automatically create those mailbox connections? Anyone?

TIA!
Internet / Email SoftwareOutlookExchange

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Mark Racicot

8/22/2022 - Mon
lamaslany

Firstly I would suggest looking into roaming profiles and folder redirection.  By roaming the users' profile between machines you will avoid the need to keep reconfiguring their settings.  By using folder redirection you will minimise the amount of content that needs to be sync'ed between the client and the server (reducing logon/logoff times).

Secondly what OS are the clients running?

Finally there is no in-built functionality that I am aware of that will allow you to script these mailbox connections.  You will need to look at third-party solutions I am afraid.  Of course if you get roaming profiles working you will only need to set each user up once.
Mark Racicot

ASKER
Sorry, I should have said we're using WinXP Pro/SP3. In case it matters, the domain is Win2003 (with a few '08 servers).

I've heard a lot of bad things about roaming profiles, and I'm not sure if I can get buy-off from my networking team (though if I there is real benefit, I might be able to convince them). Using roaming profiles will carry domain-wide implications, too, right?

I was hopeful that there was someone with good insight into scripting might be able to point me to some VBS code that I can use to set up these connections...
lamaslany

As I say you can script the use third-party solutions to automate the process but it will require some investment.  For example:  http://www.dimastr.com/redemption/

Or if you have any coders available they could write you a MAPI wrapper to invoke the necessary procedures (sadly outside of my current skillset).  I did trip over a code example on the MSDN site a year or two ago but I can't find the link...
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William Peck
lamaslany

"Using roaming profiles will carry domain-wide implications, too, right?"
It will increase the amount of network traffic but if you use folder redirection and exclude un-needed files from being roamed (for example there is no need to roam temporary files) the increase in traffic will be slight. (assuming that users save their documents to a mapped network drive...)
 
To confirm:  What is a users' primary data store?  The store that users' new emails arrive in?  From your original post it sounds like the default store is their PST archive and the live mailbox is considered 'additional'.
If their default mailbox is Exchange (cached mode disabled) and they have their PST as a normal Outlook Data File for archiving then you could use a PRF file to set up Outlook for them.  You could invoke Outlook with the PRF as part of a startup script for example.
lamaslany

Sorry; should have re-read the original post!  Your users are indeed using Exchange as the primary data store and the PST as an Outlook Data File and it is just the additional company mailboxes you are trying to script.  In which case my suggestions of roaming profiles and third-party tools stands.

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lamaslany

I didn't think you could use PRF files to configure additional mailboxes?  
Mark Racicot

ASKER
Thank you all for your comments. I want to bump this question tonight so it isn't 'abandoned' and I'll add more details tomorrow. For now, I'll leave you with this additional information... We have folder redirection enabled to shift users' desktops and favorites to their homedir, but the idea of utilizing redirection to help with the mailboxes is intriguing. I am somewhat familiar with redir, but I can't think of any specific settings that will help with the mailboxes. Ultimately, I would like a solution that would connect users to not only their archives automatically, but other "corporate" mailboxes, too. For example, if we had an incoming 'generic' mailbox called mycomp(at)mycomp.myorg and it was called "MyComp General Mail" in Exchange, upon logging in on any computer, I would like my corporate mail (mark(at)mycomp.myorg) to be mapped plus my archive folder (H:\outlook.pst) PLUS MyComp General Mail. How does redir help in this case?
As for the third party app, I hope it doesn't come to that. My management team is pretty stingy...(not like that's unusual nowadays...).
Mark Racicot

ASKER
Just to say that I'm still looking for an answer from lamaslany - regarding my follow-up question about your previous suggested answer - how can folder redirection can help when it comes to mapping mailboxes?
Holding on award of points... :)
Mark
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lamaslany

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Mark Racicot

ASKER
This sounds interesting - but roaming is one area that I have to admit that I don't use often... My users already have Documents redirected, as well as Favorites. For Roaming, therefore, I won't have to "roam" those folders. I would only have to "roam" just the registry? Would that be for the entire hive collection or just certain keys that would be loaded when the user logs in?
Sorry I'm being a bit dense here, but I have almost no experience with roaming. :) I appreciate your patient explanations!
Mark
Mark Racicot

ASKER
Apologies for not awarding sooner - work can sometimes get in the way of work... :)

The solution is wasy to follow and understand, but as with everything related to Roaming Profiles, it can take some work to get the results you want. Excellent work!