How to create custom mailbox quota messages for Exchange Server 2003

Learn how you can use a free .NET program called the Quota Message Service to customize Exchange Server 2003 mailbox quota messages for users who are near or over their message storage thresholds.

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As an Exchange Server administrator, you're probably familiar with how quotas can be set on user mailboxes. Whenever users are near or over their quotas for message storage, they're sent a warning. The exact thresholds are customizable, but the actual warning messages are not -- they're hard-coded into one of Exchange Server's .DLLs as a resource string.

It is possible to edit the .DLL by hand and change the strings to whatever you want -- and many people have in fact done so -- but there are three problems associated with that approach:

  1. It isn't easy to make changes, and you can screw up the .DLL in question if you don't know exactly what you're doing.

  2. If you apply a service pack or hotfix to Exchange Server, you risk having the changes overwritten.

  3. Hacking .DLLs is no way to make a change like this if there's a simpler way to do it.

As luck would have it, there is a simpler way. Exchange Server programmer Jason Nelson created an application called the Quota Message Service (QMS), a .NET program that lets you create custom mailbox quota messages without modifying any Microsoft Exchange components.

QMS installs through its own .MSI, like a conventional program, and can be removed just as easily. Full documentation is installed in the same directory as the program itself.

You have to set up a mailbox for QMS, called the Quota Message Service account. This can just be quotamessageservice@yourdomain.com (the name is essentially arbitrary), but it should not be an existing email address.

The only other configuration required is a registry edit and the creation of a new Microsoft Outlook profile. The new profile logs on to the quota box described above, which is where the custom quota messages are delivered. The conventional quota messages are disabled; QMS sends them instead.

Templates for each quota message are kept in a folder at the root of the Exchange mailbox and can be customized freely (of course!).

About the author: Serdar Yegulalp is editor of the Windows Power Users Newsletter.

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Related information from SearchExchange.com:

  • Expert Advice: Understanding the three types of Exchange Server mailbox quotas
  • Expert Advice: Changing Exchange Server mailbox notification text
  • Expert Advice: Determining the best mailbox quota size for your Exchange users
  • Tip: Using system policies to manage Exchange Server
  • Reference Center: Exchange Server mailbox management tips
  • This was first published in June 2006

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