Adding Calendar groups to outlook 2010 using Group Policy

jcrust
jcrust used Ask the Experts™
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We have a number of meeting room's and other equipment (cars, Projectors etc) that I have created a Room or Equipment mailbox for in Exchange2010.  I have added these to outlook2010 on a few test computers to make sure all is working.  I now need to deploy these calendars to all users in the domain (approx 250) and dont want to have to do this one by one.

Is there a way to do this using GP or a script?

Our domain is running windows server 2008R2 and all comuters are running windows 7 Ent.  Our AV is Sophos and we are running windows firewall internall on the workstations.  I have no problems running startup scripts or GPO settings on pc's
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jcrust,

In an effort to keep this as simple as possible without getting into GPO's and scripting, read through this and see if it fits your situation

http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/outlook-help/share-an-outlook-calendar-with-other-people-HA010354420.aspx#_Toc300732656

Dennis
Site Reliability Engineer
Most Valuable Expert 2011
Commented:
Hi jcrust,

Many thanks for your question, and my apologies in advance for any issues you have had in getting someone to attend to this one.

I now need to deploy these calendars to all users in the domain
I'm assuming you are referring to the "Shared Calendars" section in Outlook, and trying to make the calendar for each resource mailbox appear there on the "Calendar" tab for each user.

Traditionally - and I will admit in advance, this may not be exactly what you want to hear - but corporations would not usually push the calendar out to the users in that way. In fact, it is rather unusual for a user to even have the mailbox/calendar for a shared resource open at all.

Typically, if a user wishes to use the resource, they would simply include it as an attendee when scheduling a meeting in Outlook. If they press the Scheduling Assistant button, then type in the resource mailbox's name, the free/busy information will appear for them, so they can see at a glance before they go ahead and send the request as to whether there will be conflicts from the resource itself.

If you are using the auto-attendant on the resource mailbox, then meeting requests which include it as an attendee (seems strange to use a resource as an attendee, but there you go) will be confirmed/declined automatically. Meetings will also be deleted from the resource mailbox if the organiser cancels the meeting and sends the appropriate email update to that effect. If you are processing requests manually, then the meetings will simply sit pending until the delegate in charge of the resource approves or declines. Conflicts can have a response sent back to inform the user of the booking which already exists, and who made it - this can be disabled, but it is a huge benefit so I do not recommend it.

Of course, users can add the calendar as an additional item if they wish to see it in the native calendar view, but I am afraid I have never come across a simple way of forcing an additional mailbox / calendar to be displayed for all users in Outlook. The traditional approach of configuring Outlook by using a PRF pushed out by Group Policy does not - to the best of my knowledge - have the facility to specify additional calendars as part of that configuration. It's possible you could use Profman with/without Outlook Redemption (http://www.dimastr.com/redemption/home.htm) to achieve this, but that is a route I have never ventured down so cannot advise further (I do know however it is rather complex).

In Exchange 2010 SP1/Outlook 2010, there is also the auto-mapping functionality of shared mailboxes, which is actually rather clever. Whenever a user is given explicit full control permission over an Exchange mailbox, an attribute is updated on the affected mailbox in AD to indicate the users with those full control permissions. Outlook 2010 can read this property and cause the additional mailboxes to automatically appear. It does depend on full control explicitly on the mailbox itself, which I doubt is something you want to grant.

-Matt

Author

Commented:
Thanks for the advice.  I didnt think I would be able to do waht I was planing but you have given me some great information that I will now use in this deployment.

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