Ask the Expert

Managing items in an Exchange public folder

Is there a way to manage items in a public folder? We have an Exchange public folder which is shared by five individuals. They want to be able to see if the item has been already viewed by one of their co-workers, or if the item still needs to be addressed. I've been searching the Internet, but I can't find anything that really answers this question.

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If I understand correctly, you're really looking for the ability to track read/unread status across a team, instead of tying it to the individual Exchange Server users. What you're asking for isn't possible in Microsoft Exchange natively. You may be able to find a third-party team collaboration solution on a site like, or you may want to look at Microsoft SharePoint technologies for a solution.


What about the "Maintain per-user read and unread information for this folder" setting? Would that work?
—James W.


Good feedback. For those of you following this thread, right-clicking a given public folder yields a "Maintain per-user read and unread information for this folder" checkbox at the bottom of the General properties page. I have had mixed success with this setting (i.e., unchecking this box), and have heard of quite a few cases where this doesn't work as expected.

I'd recommend you apply the latest service packs. Per Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 893245, "The Favorite Folders pane may display incorrect information about unread e-mail messages that are in Outlook public folders in an Exchange 2000 Server or Exchange Server 2003 environment." Then test in a lab first to see whether this meets your requirements. If read/unread status is all you need, this may meet your requirements. If you require the ability to comment or annotate the e-mail as they come in, you'll want to look for a more sophisticated solution.
—David Sengupta, Server Administration Expert

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Related information from

  • FAQ: Exchange public folders
  • Tutorial: Exchange Server public folder permissions
  • Learning Guide: Exchange Server public folders
  • Reference Center: Exchange public folder management
  • This was first published in April 2006

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