Ask the Expert

Track, monitor and log all e-mail communication

I am looking for a way to track, monitor and log all e-mail communication -- both incoming and outgoing -- on an Exchange 2003 server. What is being asked of me is to store and track every e-mail for legal purposes. I would like to replicate this service to another server to keep the load off the production server.

Do you know of any way Exchange can do this? Furthermore, the logging must be readable if called upon with little effort -- i.e., administration comes to me asking to see all John Q. Smith's e-mail communications from the last two years. I would need to be able to either print them out or import them into a mailbox for viewing. Regardless of user deletions, all mail must be archived (safety from malicious intent or cover ups by the users).

Any help would be appreciated.

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Yes Microsoft does offer a solution called Message Journaling. It can be enabled on each mailbox store. It is quite limited, so you will need to test it out to determine if it fully meets your requirements or not. To enhance the base features of Message Journaling some administrators have also incorporated a Microsoft Exchange tool called Archive Sink on their SMTP Connector servers (Internet facing gateway servers). Here are a few links to help get you started:

How to enable the "Message Journaling" function for an Exchange Server mailbox store

Troubleshooting message journaling in Exchange Server 2003 and in Exchange 2000 Server

How to install and use the Archive Sink utility in Exchange Server 2003


I like the tip, but I have an Exchange 2003 Standard -- is there a way to select which mailboxes should be archived (I have only one mailbox store)?
—Patricia M.


Technically you could use the Archive Sink utility referenced in the tip. However, it is not recommended do so, except for troubleshooting purposes. I think you might want to look at a full featured archiving solution that will give you more granular control. A popular solution is the GFI MailArchiver for Exchange. It is reasonably priced and full featured. Click here for a full list of solutions.
Richard Luckett, spam and security expert

Do you have comments on this Ask the Expert Q&A? Let us know.
Related information from

  • Tip: Archive Sink
  • Tip: Exchange event sink offers more granular message journaling
  • Tip: Outlook Journaling: A poor man's archiving tool
  • Step-by-Step Guide: E-mail compliance to-do list
  • Reference Center: Archiving tips and resources
  • Reference Center: Compliance tips and resources

  • This was first published in February 2006

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