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How to access an email account with Outlook on SBS 2003 from another logged in user other than the user in question

Posted on 2011-03-16
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Hello,

Situation is this:

As the administrator of a 2003 SBS server I have been asked to access a users email account without the user knowing (they are under investigation for a security breach!) they have outlook 2003 on their PC and connect to Exchange 2003 on a SBS server 2003 using the OST file cache.

I have looked at converting the OST to PST but the only programs I've found are expensive, I would be fine with this as a solution if there was a free way to do this! (I heard once that you can rename the OST file to a pst file, then open the file with a text editor and corrupt the first few characters then save it and use the outlook pst scan tool to repair it to PST... I could try it at least and see what happens?)

I have researched a number of ways but haven't got a solution.

I have another PC I can log into with Outlook access etc (the server has no Outlook installed) and can access the OST file. although I would prefer to be able to do something on the server equivalent of copy and paste the account? is this possible?

I could log onto the users PC but don't have their password, if I changed it to something I know then I can obviously log in and export the email to a PST file, but then the user would know she is under investigation...

I am looking for a detailed explanation of how to do this, preferably through the SBS server rather than the clients machine..

Cheers!!!
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Question by:timbo007
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18 Comments
 
LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:AustinComputerLabs
ID: 35153931
You could use exmerge to export the mailbox to a PST and then open it at any workstation with Outlook.
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Expert Comment

by:AustinComputerLabs
ID: 35153940
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Accepted Solution

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AustinComputerLabs earned 500 total points
ID: 35153947
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Expert Comment

by:Vitium
ID: 35153958
Hello timbo007,

If you grant yourself the correct permission to other users mailboxes you can simply add those to your own Outlook without the user noticing.

1. Open ADUC, find the user in question, right click and select properties
2. Click on the tab Exchange Advanced and Mailbox Rights...
3. Add your account and select Full mailbox access

Then go to your Outlook client, it's a bit different depending on the version your using but here is a guide on how to add the mailbox http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/outlook-help/add-another-person-s-mailbox-to-your-account-HP005242139.aspx

I hope this was the kind of solution you was looking for. In Exchange 2003 you could also use the free utility Exmerge to export users mailboxes to .pst files.
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LVL 7

Expert Comment

by:waleeda
ID: 35153963
you can have full access on the mailbox then you can easily add that mailbox to your outlook and see all the messages. it's kind of permissions

see the below steps

How to Give a User Full Access to Another User's Mailbox:
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa998707(EXCHG.65).aspx


How to add another mailbox to your Outlook client
http://www.dharwadkar.com/weblog/msexch_tip04
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LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:AustinComputerLabs
ID: 35153969
Since this is a potential legal matter, it may be best to make a copy rather than access the mailbox.
That way if the user gets suspicious and starts deleting things, you have your own full copy.
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Author Comment

by:timbo007
ID: 35154003
Hi Thanks for all your replies, I will need some time to go through these..

But some things to note, I don't have a PST file, only OST.

having a copy as a PST is the most ideal situation, so with exmerge I can export this users account to a PST file? that would be the best solution..

One thing though is can I get the deleted emails into the PST file that he's permanantly deleted in the last 7 days?
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Expert Comment

by:Vitium
ID: 35154035
Hi,

That is correct. You run the Exmerge utility on your SBS to convert the users mailbox to a .pst file, AustinComputerLabs linked to a good how to guide for Exmerge utility.

If you don't got a backup you can not restore e-mails that have been permanently deleted as far as I know.
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LVL 7

Expert Comment

by:waleeda
ID: 35154062
yes if you delete any messages from the pst files i will permanantly deleted because it's already download to the local PC not on the server mailbox
0
 

Author Comment

by:timbo007
ID: 35154077
Re the deleted items, I thought (and pretty sure have configured) the option to store deleted emails for 30 days. These are the emails I'm talking of, not 'really permanently' deleted ones, just the ones that the user thought they deleted for good ;) Perhaps this is another question? but I do need these to be included in the PST file and also be done without the user knowing. I know I can recover these from within Outlook but that's no good unfortunately..
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LVL 7

Expert Comment

by:waleeda
ID: 35154093
for the pst files i will take the outlook policies and configuration, because it's a local files now
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Expert Comment

by:Vitium
ID: 35154118
In Exchange you do not have local files in that way, you might have cached files on the client but all the e-mails and so on are still stored on the Exchange server.

I have not used the setting your talking about to store deleted e-mails so I do not know how to find these.
0
 
LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:AustinComputerLabs
ID: 35154119
Exmerge to a PST will copy the current mailbox including the deleted items but not if they emptied the deleted items.
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LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:AustinComputerLabs
ID: 35154128
If you log on to their account from another system and access their account from Outlook.
go to folder
and choose recover deleted items.
As per the server setup, any retained deleted items will be recoverable from there.

This operation will bring those items back into the mailbox and syncronize that change with the users mailbox, so best to do after hours and move those files off before the user logs in again.
0
 

Author Comment

by:timbo007
ID: 35154288
@Austin

Thanks this is an option if I new their password !!! is it possible to store their current password somehow and then change it to a known one, then after I'm done change it back to their previous one without them knowing?

How long does outlook keep a copy of deleted items on the local mnachine by default?
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Author Closing Comment

by:timbo007
ID: 35155956
Sweet, got it sorted using exmerge and setting a separate security group with a user having access to all accounts,

Cheers!
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Author Comment

by:timbo007
ID: 35155975
huh, Sorry, it got marked 'C' by mistake, that should be an 'A' :)
0
 
LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:AustinComputerLabs
ID: 35157425
Sorry I missed some of the fun, I had to get some sleep.
Glad you sorted it out.

take care,
Rick
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