How do I automatically read task emails in Outlook 2007

Posted on 2012-12-21
Last Modified: 2013-01-03

I've seen this problem all over the place and I can't find a good solution.

I would like to use outlooks task list in a group setting.  We run SBS 2003 with Exchange Server 2003.  I have a FAX account which is tied to our e-fax service (the service sends all faxes to this email, if you want to see a fax you can go get a copy there).  I set all the permissions up so that everyone who needs to can see the Inbox and the Task folder.  The users can also edit their tasks, etc.  This all works.

A user goes to the FAX mailbox task list.  Creates a task and assigns it either to themselves or to another user.  They receive an email and accept the task.  Everything works great except that when the status emails come back to the FAX account they have to be viewed (not just marked "read") before they get updated in the task list.  I currently have a rule that moves all emails with "Task" in the subject into sub-folder of the Inbox.

I came across  which would work if I could run a standalone copy on the server.

Does anyone have a script that could be run from through a rule that would either:
1. Run server side and automatically process these emails.
2. Run on an Outlook Client and process the emails without actually displaying them (hopefully triggered by the same rule that does the move).
3. Run as a standalone application using MAPI to read these emails (not sure if this would just read them or actually process the task email)

Where does the email get moved to the task list?  Is this an Outlook 2007 function or is it part of the server?

Thanks for any help,
Question by:Hotdawgy
LVL 74

Accepted Solution

Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy earned 500 total points
ID: 38728849
There are a few more threads on EE which address this, such as:

It's really too bad that you are working with SBS2003/Exchange 2003 for this because the functionality you are seeking is readily available in current product versions.  Ideally you would use SharePoint for this process because building workflows and having shared task lists in SharePoint is a breeze these days. (

That being said, you cannot run Outlook on an SBS 2003, it's MAPI subsystem will conflict with Exchange's and you'll kill Exchange.  (Reference:  There are some workarounds for this, but I don't recommend it as it ultimately kills the SBS wizards.

You could create a MAPI profile on the server (reference: but that is also pretty complex for this issue.

The script outlined in the first link I provided above should work without Outlook being open -- thus the emails don't need to be opened either, but the user account would need to be logged on unless you can somehow get a scheduled task to run the script and then you can set that task to run even if the user isn't logged on.


Author Closing Comment

ID: 38741764
Thanks Jeff,

My servers tend to be a bit behind the times, but they stay stable and don't usually require that much maintenance.  I'm often disappointed by MS features, they come out and it's always a question whether they are going to catch on and get fixed or get shelved. (Groove?)

Since I usually upgrade every 10 yrs or so, what makes the most sense?  I liked SBS 2003 because it included Exchange and was reasonably priced.  I've heard that Exchange 2003 doesn't run on SBS 2012 and buying a full copy of Exchange seems a bit overkill.  Also, having a machine running in the domain just as an Exchange server seems kind of wasteful.

I've been running an Exchange server for about 15 yrs mainly for the public folders and shared calendars.  Now the mobile connectivity is a big plus and with Sharepoint finally working (which is what I believe you hinted at) there are a couple more nice features.  It seems like it's usually less expensive, more flexible, and (occasionally) easier than a hosted solution. (Amortize Exchange over 10yrs not so bad)

Any recommendations on what upgrade path should be?  Currently, Dual Homed, SBS 2003/Exchange 2003, Domain with AD, and using OWA; (also, doing DHCP, DNS, and WINS) not really doing much with regards to a high server workload demand.

Thanks for you help,

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