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Exchange 2010 and Distribution Lists - Internal AD Accounts with External (to Exchange) Addresses

We have an AD domain that has all of our users; faculty, staff, and students.  Only faculty and staff have Exchange accounts.  Students have email accounts on another non-windows email server here on campus.  We can add students to distribution lists in Exchange but Exchange will not send to the address in the mail attribute of their AD account.  Is there a way we can get this to work without having to add all the students as contacts in Exchange?

BTW, we do know that adding a contact works but we don't want to manage 13,000+ contacts and keep it updated on a daily basis if we can avoid it.  Plus, it appears that contacts are separate from the AD account so we would be doubling our objects in AD.

Thanks,

John
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parkerjohn
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parkerjohn
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1 Solution
 
Jamie McKillopCommented:
Hello,

You need mail-enable your AD accounts. This essentially creates a contact on top of the AD account so you don't need to manage two objects. In EMC, right-click Mail Contacts and select New Mail User. You can then choose an existing user to mail enable. Of course you can also use powershell to bulk mail enable users.

-JJ
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parkerjohnAuthor Commented:
Hi JJ,

Thanks for the response.  Apart from not doubling my AD objects, this doesn't take advantage of the fact that I already have the mail attribute populated in AD.  I still have to manually populate the smtp address via EMC.  They might as well be completely external to my organization, it appears.  I'll have to see if deleting a contact gets the same result as deleting an Exchange email account (deletes the associated AD account).  If it does, then separate contacts will be the only choice.  

Thanks,

John
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Jamie McKillopCommented:
You don't need to do anything manually. You could easily script this in powershell. You can mail disable a user account, which doesn't delete the AD account the same as you can disable a mailbox without removing the AD account.

-JJ
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parkerjohnAuthor Commented:
The "manually" comment was only intended for the EMC (Powershell is our friend, especially in this situation).  I was just trying to make the point that Exchange could care less what you have in the mail attribute for your AD users.

I don't expect that I'll get the answer that makes this any easier so we've been testing things based on your suggestion.  There are at least two things to be careful of.  The first is that it is just like you said, do not delete the contact, disable it.  Also, you need to make sure that "Automatically update e-mail addresses based on e-mail address policy" is not enabled.  If it is enabled and you disable the contact, the mail attribute for the AD object is cleared. However, as I'm thinking of this, if a student no longer should be a contact that almost always means that they no longer have a student email address.  While we still don't want to delete the AD account, we would like the mail attribute cleared for that account so leaving that enabled is an easy method for cleanup.

Thanks for the help JJ.  I'll await any other comments.  Since a person looking at this question will not find the actual answer to my question posted as of yet, do you feel it is safe to say that there is no way to accomplish what I want without contacts?

John
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Jamie McKillopCommented:
If you want to add external users to your distribution lists, you need to have contacts or mail enabled AD accounts, which are basically just contacts backed by an AD account.

-JJ
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