Let multiple users share the same mailbox

The normal rule about mailboxes in Exchange is simple and fairly obvious: one user, one mailbox, and vice versa. That said, there may be a need for having multiple users, each with their own unique credentials, access to the same mailbox. For instance, some organizations set up a shared mailbox that is supervised by several different users, perhaps for answering questions or for manual forwarding.

To set up multiple accounts on the same mailbox, open Exchange Administrator, then open the Properties of the mailbox in question. Under the Permissions tab, add the user accounts that you want to allow access to. Each client then has to configure Outlook to support this; the easiest way to do it is to use the Open Other Users' Folder option from the File menu, although this would be the best way only if the user is not accessing any other mailboxes with this copy of Outlook.

A more permanent way to support the additional mailbox would be to set up the user's profile in Outlook to open additional mailboxes. In Outlook 2000, go to Tools | Services | Properties | Advanced and add the additional mailboxes from there. In Outlook 2002:

  1. Click on Tools | E-Mail Accounts.
  2. Click on View Or Change Existing E-Mail Accounts | Next.
  3. Select Exchange from the account-type list and click Change.
  4. Click More Settings | Advanced.
  5. Click Add and type the mailbox name of the person to add.

Note that having multiple users accessing the same mailbox

    Requires Free Membership to View

can sometimes have odd side effects. For instance, if an inbound mail is marked as private by the sender, it may not be visible to all the users of that mailbox; the administrator will have to set up an explicit profile for that box to make it visible. (This can be puzzling when a message count of the folder shows "1 unread message" or something similar when the folder is apparently empty!)

Serdar Yegulalp is the editor of the Windows 2000 Power Users Newsletter.

This was first published in January 2003

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