How to set up email disclaimers on a single, back-end Exchange server

Learn how to add an automated email disclaimer or signature to outgoing Microsoft Outlook messages on an Exchange 2003 server without add-in software.

Learn how to configure a single, back-end Exchange 2003 server environment, like Windows Small Business Server, to add disclaimers to outbound Microsoft Outlook email messages. You'll also discover two inexpensive third-party add-on options for producing disclaimers and digital signatures on Exchange Server email.

In a tip explaining how to add a disclaimer to outgoing SMTP messages in Exchange 2003, I referred to a Microsoft Knowledge Base article, How to add email disclaimers to outgoing SMTP messages using Visual Basic script, that offered a solution.

I've since received responses stating that this method doesn't work. After reviewing each case, I've observed that the solution didn't work because it was not applied to a front-end Exchange server, which was a prerequisite stated in the original article. This factor, or a slight deviation in code by an end-user, would prevent the original solution from working.

One SearchExchange.com member shared a tip on how to add a disclaimer to outgoing messages in an Exchange organization containing only a single, back-end server, such as in a typical Windows Small Business Server (SBS) environment. I have tested this technique successfully on my own SBS. If you use this method, be sure that you first understand the consequences of making the changes before proceeding to do so.

To add a disclaimer to an outbound email message on a single, back-end Exchange server environment, follow these 10 simple steps:

  1. Disable the bridgehead, if there is one.

  2. Assign the server an additional IP address, if it doesn't have one.

    NOTE: This doesn't need to be a public IP address, but it must be on the same subnet that the NIC uses. For example, if the server is located at 192.168.0.2, add 192.168.0.3.

  3. Create a second virtual SMTP server, and name it something like Outbound SMTP Virtual Server.

  4. Right click on the Default SMTP Virtual Server and select Properties.

  5. On the General tab, set the virtual server to listen on the secondary IP address.

  6. Select the Delivery tab, and then Advanced.

  7. Configure the virtual server to use a smart host to forward all mail through the outbound SMTP virtual server.

  8. Enter its IP address in brackets, such as [192.168.0.3].

  9. Configure the outbound SMTP virtual server to accept a relay only from the primary IP address that the Default SMTP Virtual Server uses.

  10. Now, follow the technique described in the original article on adding a disclaimer to outgoing SMTP messages in Exchange 2003, but when applying the event sinks, apply them to instance 2 instead of instance 1 (or whatever instance your outbound SMTP virtual server actually is named).

Commercial products for managing Exchange disclaimers

There also are two flexible and fairly low-cost commercial products that produce disclaimers and/or signatures. While an Internet search produced results for dozens of other similar products, these are the only two that I have tested.

More Exchange Server disclaimer resources:
How to add a disclaimer to outgoing SMTP messages in Exchange Server 2003

Options for adding Exchange Server 2003 disclaimers

Add disclaimers and signatures to outgoing Exchange Server email

FAQ: Exchange and Windows Small Business Server

  • Adolsign from ITeF!x Consulting integrates directly into Active Directory and doesn't depend on Exchange Server. When a user starts Microsoft Outlook, a disclaimer and/or signature will be configured for that user automatically. You can pre-configure this to be generated based on variables such as organizational unit, name, job title and more.
  • Sunbelt Software's Ninja Disclaimers add-on tool integrates into Exchange Server directly. It contains several templates and can be configured globally or on a per-user or per-group basis.

About the author: Bradley Dinerman, vice president of IT at MIS Alliance, is a Microsoft MVP, possesses an MCSE and MCP+I, and is a Certified SonicWall Security Administrator (CSSA). Brad is also the founder and president of the National Information Security Group (NAISG) and the former chair of the Boston Area Exchange Server User Group. He is a frequent contributor to various online TechTips sites and gives user group/conference presentations on topics ranging from spam and security solutions to Internet development techniques. You can visit Brad's personal Web page at brad.dinerman.com.

Do you have comments on this tip? Let us know.

This was first published in February 2008

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