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How can I make the assigned to field a drop down in a Sharepoint 2010 task list

We are using Sharepoint 2010 and have a simple task list with the assigned to field.  It's linked to active directory and right now the only way to assign a task is to type the users login and hit the check name button or use the search field to seach for a user in AD.  

I want to change this to a drop down menu with only a select list of names or distribution groups from AD.  How can this be done?  The goal is to create a task, select who it's assigned to in the drop down box, and when the task is saved, an email will automatically be generated to the person or group that was assigned the task.  I dont want to have to use the default AD/Exchagne lookup field.
1 Solution
If you want to pick people you are stuck with the people picker. The good thing is that if you limit the people/group field to a chosen SharePoint group, where you can store the users. If you then use the address book ikon next to the SHarePoint group you will see the people picker dialog window with users of the SharePoint group.

Note - you need to fill the group only with people - not AD group. If you add AD group then you will see ad group in the picker, not the people who are in the AD group.

The dropdown would be only possible if you would have a SharePoint list with the users and point to this list with a lookup.
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