Managing Exchange 2000 public folders

Microsoft worked hard to improve public folder capabilities in Exchange 2000. Brien Posey shows you how to manage these new capabilities.

Public folders work differently in Exchange 2000 than they did in Exchange 5.5. As you may recall, in Exchange 5.5, the primary method of managing public folders was through an Outlook client. However, in Exchange 2000, you can manage public folders through Outlook 2000. You can also perform many of the same tasks through the Exchange System Manager. In this Daily Feature, I’ll explain how to manage public folders in Exchange 2000.

Before I begin
Before I begin showing you around the public folder section of the Exchange System manager, I should point out that working with public folders in Exchange 2000 can get complicated. In Exchange 2000, for example, you can actually have multiple public folder trees, each with their own database as opposed to the single tree, single database model used in Exchange 5.5.

Therefore, this article is in no way intended to be a crash course in public folders. Instead, I simply intend to point out some of the Exchange System Manager’s capabilities. For more detailed information on working with public folders, see the Daily Drill Down "Working with Exchange 2000 public folders."

Jumping into Exchange System Manager
You can access the public folders by navigating through the Exchange System Manager tree to your organization | Administrative Groups | your group | Servers | your server | First Storage Group | Public Information Store (server). As you can see in Figure A, the Exchange System Manager is designed to display the public folder settings for each individual server in your organization, rather than simply look at the database of the local server.

Figure A
The Exchange System Manager can be used to work with public folders anywhere in the organization.

Also in Figure A, you’ll see several containers present beneath the Public Information Store container. One of these containers is the Logon container. This container allows you to see who is accessing the public folders, when they logged on, his or her last access time, and what client version that he or she is using.

Another container worth looking at is the Public Folder container. It displays the name, path, and size of every public folder in the storage group. You can work with individual public folders by right-clicking the name of the public folder that you want to work with and selecting the Properties command from the resulting context menu. When you do, you’ll see the folder’s Properties page.

The folder’s Properties page contains several tabs, each with their own purpose. For example, you can use the Permissions tab to control the types of access users havetothe public folder and to subfolders beneath it. Another handy tab is the Limits tab. The Limits tab allows you to prevent the folder from growing beyond a specific size. You can also use the Limits tab to prevent people from posting messages with large attachments into the folder. The Limits tab also allows you to automatically clear out old messages after a certain length of time.

Finally, you can use the Replication tab to control which servers the public folder is replicated to and how often that replication should occur. Once you’ve created a replication schedule for a folder, you can check the replication status through the Replication Status container located directly beneath the Public Information Store container.

Another feature that’s new to Exchange 2000 is full text indexing, which allows you to create an index of the contents of the public folders so users may search for specific items more quickly. You can create a full text index by right-clicking the Public Information Store container and selecting the Create Full Text Index command from the resulting context menu.

Creating a full text index can take some time, especially if you have a lot of public folders or if your public folders are really full. Once you’ve created a full text index, you can check out the index state by looking at the Full Text Indexing container beneath the Public Information Store (server) container.

I hope my explanations of Microsoft’s changes to public folders in Exchange 2000 help you to better manage public folders in your organization. Though it may seem like a daunting task, once you understand the new management techniques, those folders won’t seem too scary at all.

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