Exchange Admin 101: Redirecting the Send To option

Modifying the Send To option won't stop anyone from attaching files for long-term storage, but it will be easier for you to make sure that files get stored in the proper location.

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Many of you have sent us useful feedback concerning what topics you would like to see covered in our Exchange Admin 101 tips. One letter from a reader recently caught my attention: It was from an admin who was having problems with users using the Exchange server as a file storage mechanism rather than storing files on a normal network file share.

Our reader wanted to know if there was a way to modify the Windows Send To option so that users can send files to a network share. I thought this was a unique request, although I have received posts on my own Web site's message boards regarding users storing large files on an Exchange server.

Traditionally, I have approached this problem through the use of quotas and attachment blocking. Modifying the Send To option won't actually stop anyone from attaching files to messages for long-term storage. But if the users have a habit of sending files to Exchange through the use of this option, modifying Send To will make it easier for you to make sure that files get stored in the proper location.

Options for changing the option
The Send To option is available any time that you right click on a file. By default, you can send the file to any local drive or to a mail recipient.

You can modify the Send To option in a couple of different ways. First, you can disable it completely, which would absolutely guarantee that users are not using it to send a file to their mailbox. If you would rather not completely disable it, you can instead change the contents of the Send To menu. For example, you could remove the "mail recipient" option and replace it with a network path.

If you want to disable the Send To option you will have to modify the registry on the user's workstation. Keep in mind that if you edit the registry incorrectly, you can destroy Windows and/or the applications that are installed on the machine. It's therefore a good idea to back up a system prior to modifying its registry. The Send To option is controlled by the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\AllFileSystemObjects\shellx\ContextMenuHandlers\SendTo registry key. The default key has a value of {7BA4C740-9E81-11CF-99D3-00AA004AE837}. If this value is present, then the Send To option is enabled. If the value is left blank, then the option is disabled.

Modifying the contents of the Send To menu is a little bit easier to do because it doesn't involve editing the registry, but rather making a simple change to the user's profile. To modify the contents of the Send To menu in Windows XP, navigate to \Documents and Settings\user's name\SendTo. This folder contains shortcuts to all of the destinations that will be available through the Send To menu. If you want to remove the Mail Recipients option from the Send To menu, simply delete the Mail Recipient icon. If you want to add a network path to the menu, then just create a shortcut to the path and place the shortcut into the Send To folder.

Changing multiple computers
As you can see, the process of disabling or modifying the Send To menu is fairly easy. If you just need to modify one or two user's machines then you can stop reading now. If you need to deploy the change to lots of machines across your organization, though, then you need to do a bit more planning.

Making the change to multiple computers isn't difficult, but again, the technique that you would use will vary greatly depending on your network configuration and on whether you want to disable or modify the Send To menu.

If you are disabling the Send To menu, then you will have to modify each machine's registry. Assuming that your users have the right to modify the registry, you could create a .REG file with the appropriate settings in it, and then call that file from the user's logon scripts. There is a great article on creating a .REG file at http://is-it-true.org/nt/utips/regfiles.shtml

If you are modifying the contents of the Send To menu, then there are a couple of different ways that you could approach the problem. If you are using a mandatory profile for your users then you would simply make the change to that profile and you'd be done. If you aren't using mandatory profiles, then you could write a batch file that deletes the Mail Recipient shortcut and copies a network path shortcut to the user's Send To folder. You could then call this batch file from the user's logon script. Such a batch file might look something like this:

C:
CD"Documents and Settings"%user%SendTo
ERASE "Mail Recipient"
Copy Q;files"Network Path"
Brien M. Posey, MCSE, is a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional for his work with Windows 2000 Server and IIS. Brien has served as the CIO for a nationwide chain of hospitals and was once in charge of IT security for Fort Knox. As a freelance technical writer he has written for Microsoft, CNET, ZDNet, TechTarget, MSD2D, Relevant Technologies and other technology companies. You can visit Brien's personal Web site at http://www.brienposey.com.

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This was first published in August 2004

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