How do I identify the unused distribution lists in my organization?

Distribution groups are important for communication in any organization. Over time, some distribution groups tend to become defunct, either due to employees no longer working in your organization, or plain inactivity due to the ending of a particular project. Having these unused distribution groups lying around could lead to stray emails landing in unintended recipient mailboxes. 

The problem, however, lies in clearing these distribution groups. Clean up can only happen when you're able to identify the groups that need cleaning up. 

This is where you would put the message tracking logs to good use, if you don't mind the complexity that PowerShell scripting entails. If you don't keep your logs for a longer time frame, identifying inactive distribution lists is going to be a problem. 


Exchange Reporter Plus offers several reports that allow you to find details about distribution lists, their members, type, scope, and more. The report of particular importance here is the Inactive Distribution Lists report.

Identify inactive distribution lists using Exchange Reporter Plus

To access this report:

  • Click the Reports tab.
  • Go to the Distribution Lists category.
  • Open the Inactive Distribution Lists report

The next time your manager or auditor asks about inactive distribution lists, you'll have this report by your side!


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