The Essential Toolkit for
Linked Mailbox Management

The Essential Toolkit for Linked Mailbox Management

We know that Active Directory (AD) plays a very important role in organizations given the fact that so many applications use it for authentication. That being said, imagine your organization is planning to migrate the user accounts from your current AD forest to another one. You want your users to be able to log in to the new domain as soon as possible; more importantly, you don't want to interrupt their email access. 

Unfortunately, a large-scale user and Exchange migration from one environment to another is often fraught with lots of issues post-migration. One of the most common migration issues is loss of access to applications that were being used before the migration, especially email.

Solution

To avoid post-migration access issues, it's better to migrate Exchange before migrating AD. After all, Exchange migration aects senior management just as much as it aects others, whereas any issues that aect applications alone may not be immediately visible to management. From an IT service perspective, a smooth Exchange transition is essential. On another note, migrating Exchange first provides the flexibility to migrate AD users in smaller chunks by prioritizing groups and departments, thus resulting in a smoother migration. 

When you're ready to migrate Exchange, linked mailboxes can help you make the transition as smooth as possible. A linked mailbox allows a user in one domain to own a mailbox in another domain, thereby providing single sign-on capability. By using a linked mailbox, users won't be prompted again by Outlook to log in to their mailbox on the day after the migration, thereby giving them a seamless migration experience. 

Once you've set up linked mailboxes, the rest of the migration process is pretty straightforward. First migrate Exchange to a new forest while keeping users in the existing forest. After migrating the AD user accounts to the new forest, convert users' linked mailboxes to user mailboxes. End users, once again, will have a seamless experience while accessing their migrated mailbox since they'll simply log in using the account that holds their mailboxes.

Linked Mailbox Feature in ADManager Plus

You can create a linked mailbox in ADManager Plus using the Mailbox management option under the AD Management tab. In the Linked master account field under the  General tab, select the user account belonging to a trusted account forest which is to be used as the master account for the linked mailbox

Figure 1. Creating a linked mailbox in ADManager Plus
Figure 2. Adding a linked master account. 

Creating linked mailboxes is even simpler with the help of linked mailbox creation templates. Templates help you quickly customize linked mailboxes according to your organization's needs using simple drag-and-drop actions. Depending on which technician or user you're assigning the template to, you can tweak the template to make any attribute mandatory, read-only, or even hidden. 

Figure 3. Creating linked mailbox templates.

Steps to Create a Linked Mailbox Using ADManager Plus

To create a linked mailbox using ADManager Plus:

  • Click the AD Mgmt tab.
  • Go to Mailbox Management, then click the Create Single Linked Mailbox link located under Linked Mailbox Management.
  • Select the domain in which you wish to create the linked mailbox.
  • Pick the appropriate linked mailbox creation template by clicking the Change link located beside the Selected Template field
    • Note: If you do not specify a template, the System Template will be applied by default.
  • Under the General tab, enter a display name, logon name, linked master account, container, etc.
  • Under the Contact tab, enter the user's phone number, address, and organization-specific attributes.
  • Under the Exchange tab, enter Exchange-specific attributes, including the mail server, mailbox store, email alias, mailbox storage limits, proxy email addresses, delivery options, and restrictions.
  • Under the Delegation tab, specify which users need full access rights, as well as send on behalf of and send as permissions.
  • Under the Custom attributes tab, check the box to enable a custom script, and enter the script you want to execute when the linked mailbox is successfully created.
  • If you want to add a custom attribute that you’ve configured in your AD, click Configure custom attribute (to add an attribute only for this action) or Add additional attribute (to add an attribute in ADManager Plus and make it available for all related actions).
  • Click the Create button to create the new linked mailbox.

Steps to Create a New Linked Mailbox Creation Template

  • Click the AD Mgmt tab.
  • Go to Mailbox Management. Under Linked Mailbox Templates, click Linked Mailbox Creation Templates.
  • On the Linked Mailbox Creation Templates page, click the Create new template link .
  • Enter a name and description for the template.
  • Select the domain in which this template will be used.
  • Click the Enable Drag-n-Drop button to customize the template's structure and drag any required fields from the field tray to the relevant tab.
  • To customize the template (add or remove tabs/fields, enter a value for a field, make a tab/field silently active, etc.), follow these instructions:
    • Click the General tab.

      - To rename this tab, click the Edit link located to the right of the tab name, or double-click the name of the tab, and enter a new name.

      To hide or delete the entire tab and all its fields during shared mailbox creation, click the - or x icons located beside the tab name. Whenever a field or tab is deleted, it moves to the field tray and can be dragged and dropped back into the template.

      Under each tab, the fields will be placed under field groups. For instance, in the General tab, all fields are listed under the General group by default.

      • To rename a field group, click the Edit link located beside the field group name and enter a new name.
      • To hide the entire field group or delete it, click the Make Silently Active or Delete links, respectively.
      • You can also make any field mandatory by clicking the edit icon that appears when you hover your mouse over the desired field.
      • You can also make any field read-only or hidden (silently active), as needed.
      • When you're done customizing the tab, enter the values that you want to save.
      • To save a value for any field, hover your mouse over the desired field, click the edit icon that appears, enter the appropriate value, and click Done to save.
    • Click the Contact tab. By default, the fields under this tab are split into two field groups: Telephone/Organization and Address.
      • Next, customize the fields under this tab and add any preset values as needed.
    • Click the Exchange tab. By default, the fields in this tab are placed under the following field groups: Exchange General, Storage Limits/Proxy Mail IDs, Delivery Restrictions/Delivery Options, Exchange 2010/2013/2016 Policies, and Mobile Services/Protocols.
      • Next, customize the fields under this tab and add any preset values as needed.
    • Under the Delegation tab, specify which users need full access rights, as well as send on behalf of and send as permissions.
    • Click the Custom Attributes tab. In this tab, you can add custom attributes (configured in the AD schema) to ADManager Plus. To add a custom attribute permanently in ADManager Plus and use it for multiple management/reporting tasks, click the Configure Custom Attribute link; use the Add Additional Attribute link to add a custom attribute for only a specific operation. To add a preset value to any field, add the appropriate value to that desired field.
  • Once you've made the necessary customizations in all the tabs, click Save Template to create the new template.

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