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 Slipstick.com, or you may want to look at Microsoft SharePoint technologies for a solution.
MEMBER FEEDBACK TO THIS ASK THE EXPERT Q&A:
What about the "Maintain per-user read and unread information for this folder" setting? Would that work?
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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This was first published in April 2006