Rodney Buike - Founder and original lazy admin. MVP: System Center Cloud and Datacenter Management

Daniel Nerenberg - Lazy admin 2.0. MVP: Windows Expert - IT Pro

Disclaimer

These postings are provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights. You assume all risk for your use.

Query Based Distribution Groups

A while back I wrote on Active Directory groups. If you are running Exchange 2003, there is one more group type you can use. Query Based Distribution Groups are a new type of distribution group. Unlike the normal distribution groups, they do not have static members, rather the groups membership is based on a query or queries that you can specify.

Query-based distribution groups are availabel to pure Exchange 2003 deployments or in an Exchange 2000 SP3 and 2003 native Mode environment with Windows Server 2003 global catalog servers. Also query-based distribution groups must have access to a global catalog server. If there is no GC available the messages will go into a retry queue and be resent at the retry interval if a GC is available. Lastly, if you are running a multiple domain enviroment you should only specify Unviversal Groups as members. If you remember Universal Group membership is replicated to all GCs in the domain.

To create a query-based distribution group, open up Active Directory Users & Computers, right-click the OU you wish to place the group in and select New –> Query-based Distribution Group.



Enter the name of the group and an alias.



Next you can specify from a set of pre-selected queries…..



….. Or click on Customize to create a custom query.



Once complete, review the group settings and click Finish to create the group.



Open up the properties for the new group, click on the Email Address tab and specify an email address.



On the General tab, you can view the details of the query, and make changes to the query.



On the Exchange Advanced tab there are options on where and Out-of-Office replies should be sent to, as well as delivery reports. You can also enter a simply display name and hide/unhide the group from the GAL. Here you can also specify an expansion server. An expansion server routes messages that are sent to a group to the recipients in that group.



Finally, on the Preview tab you can see the results of the query. Click the Start button and a list of users who would recieve an email sent to the query-based distribution group.



There are a few other things you should know about query-based distribution groups. First, when you select one in Outlook, pressing CTRL+K which would normally resolve the names, will not. Secondly, the more complicated the query, the more of a load it puts on your GC(s) which could strain their resources. Finally, they do not hold any security principles and therefore, cannot be used to assign permissions to resources.

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