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Posts: 61
Reply with quote  #1 
Can somebody explain how they interrelate?  I see them both listed under MAIL in AD OU's, but I don't understand how they work together.

I get that might be a bit of an answer, just looking for general explanation.


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Senior Member
Posts: 431
Reply with quote  #2 

to route and deliver mail, Exchange generally works with recipients. These can be:

- mailboxes ('normal' user mailboxes, resource and room mailboxes, shared mailboxes or linked mailboxes). All of these have a corresponding AD account, for all but the first that account is disabled by default.
- mail(-enabled) users. These have an AD user object and an email address but no mailbox. To facilitate email delivery, they have the targetAddress attribute set to an (external) email address which is where the mail actually gets delivered to
- mail contacts are basically the same thing but they have not a user object as their AD representation (which is a security principal) but rather a contact object (which isn't a security principal and has less attributes so takes up less space in the directory)
- distribution groups. These are AD groups either of type 'distribution' or 'security' that have been 'mail-enabled' by Exchange, i.e. have got some attributes set to values that make Exchange recognize these groups as valid recipients. Whatever you put in these groups will get mail that was directed to the groups as long as the members are valid Exchange recipient. For example, if you put a user object that has not been mail-enabled into a distribution group it will not participate in mail routing even if you set its mail attribute in AD.
- dynamic distribution groups. Although represented by an AD object, those do not really exist outside of Exchange since Exchange does membership resolution at runtime based on queries.
- public folders. those can be members of groups, both static and dynamic.

Could I make it any clearer or are you more confused than before?

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