Q

Copy large amounts of contact information to a public folder

I need a simple way to copy about 13,000 contacts to a public folder. I'm a network administrator for an insurance company. We have contact information for about 11,000 independent agents and 2,000 various other contacts.

We just implemented a 'fax from desktop' solution. The cool thing about it is that, if you have a contact and a number in the 'Business Fax' field, all you have to do is find that contact, send a message and it goes out as a fax.

The problem is that I have to update this list about once a week because information changes that often. Basically, I import an Excel spreadsheet into a contact list in a personal folder on my computer and then copy to the Exchange Server 2003 public folder. This takes forever and a day even when breaking it up into 2,000 piece increments. It also eats about 60-70% of CPU during the copying procedure.

Is there any easier/simpler way of doing this?

First of all, check whether the public folder that you're importing to is replicated to (or located on) a server that is close to you. Secondly, you'll want to check the raw processing power on the Exchange server hosting that public folder. It's quite likely that boosting server performance will speed up your imports, if that's an option. Finally, you may want to consider creating an address list in Active Directory containing the contacts, instead of placing the contacts in a public folder.

You'll need to learn how to use a tool called LDIFDE for export and import to Active Directory. This is described in Microsoft's Step-by-Step guide to bulk import and export to Active Directory.

If this meets all your requirements, then this will speed up the process dramatically. Since LDIFDE import files are a bit unwieldy to manipulate, you will want to search your favorite Internet search engine for "convert ldif to csv free" to locate some of the free tools available to facilitate making your weekly changes using Excel. Obviously, test this in a lab first to ensure this meets your performance needs.


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This was first published in June 2005
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