Migrating resource mailboxes from Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2007

Learn how to migrate and convert Exchange 2003 resource mailboxes to Exchange 2007 room or equipment mailboxes using the Exchange Management Shell.

Contrary to what some administrators believe, you don't have to delete your Exchange Server 2003 mailboxes and start from scratch on Exchange Server 2007. Once you've migrated your resource mailboxes from Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2007, you can use a simple Exchange Management Shell process to convert the legacy resource mailboxes to Exchange 2007 room or equipment mailboxes. This tip explains how.

In Exchange Server 2007, Microsoft formalized the concept of room and equipment mailboxes that many administrators used informally in Exchange Server 2003. This created several different types of Exchange mailboxes. Table 1 lists the types of available Exchange 2007 mailboxes and their functions.

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Mailbox type Function
User Send and receive messages
Room Schedule a conference room
Equipment Reserve a piece of equipment
Linked Used by a user who doesn't have an Active Directory account within the forest
Legacy User mailbox that resides on an Exchange 2000 or Exchange 2003 server
Table 1. Exchange Server 2007 mailboxes and functions.

User mailboxes in Exchange 2007 function much like their Exchange 2003 counterparts, but room and equipment mailboxes contain special attributes that don't exist on regular user mailboxes. This raises an interesting question: If a company migrates to Exchange Server 2007, what should it do with its existing resource mailboxes?

More on managing Exchange Server 2007 and Exchange 2003:
Tip: An introduction to Outlook 2007 and Exchange 2007 calendar features

Tutorial: Managing Exchange 2003 and Exchange 2007 in mixed mode

Step-by-Step Guide: Test driving Exchange Server 2007

Exchange 2007 Learning Guide

When you migrate to Exchange 2007, any mailboxes that you move to an Exchange 2007 server are treated as user mailboxes automatically, including resource mailboxes. Any mailboxes remaining on your Exchange 2000 or Exchange 2003 servers are treated as legacy mailboxes.

Some sources state that you can only use new features associated with room and equipment mailboxes by deleting your existing Exchange 2003 resource mailboxes and recreating them on an Exchange 2007 server. This is incorrect; the Exchange Management Shell can be used to easily convert migrated mailboxes from one type to another.

To convert an Exchange 2007 mailbox that previously existed as an Exchange 2003 mailbox, use the Set-Mailbox command, and then enter the name and type of mailbox you want to convert. Then enter the type of mailbox that you want to convert it to. Valid mailbox types are: regular, room, equipment and shared. You can't convert a mailbox to a legacy mailbox because this command can only be run against mailboxes residing on an Exchange 2007 server.

For example, suppose you migrated a resource mailbox named Room1 from Exchange 2003, and you wanted to convert it to a room mailbox. To do so, you would open the Exchange Management Shell and enter the following command:

Set-Mailbox Room1 –Type Room

In this command, I could have replaced the word room with regular, equipment or shared, depending on the type of mailbox that Room1 will be assigned. The command's syntax is simple, but the account that you're using to perform the operation must be given an Exchange Recipient Administrator role.

To check if a mailbox has been designated as a resource mailbox, use the Get-Mailbox command. To find out if Room1 is acting as a resource mailbox, enter:

Get-Mailbox Room1 -> select name, IsResource, ResourceType, Servername

The command output will display the name of the mailbox, followed by a true/false indication of whether or not the mailbox is acting as a resource mailbox. If it's a resource mailbox, then the resource type (room or equipment) is listed. Finally, the name of server that's hosting the mailbox is displayed.

You can also modify this command so that Exchange displays a list of all resource mailboxes in your organization. To do so, enter:

Get-Mailbox -> Where-Object { $_.IsResource –eq 'true' } -> Select Name, ResourceType, ServerName

In this command, I've replaced the mailbox name with a query that will display any mailbox for which the IsResource attribute is set to true. Because the IsResource attribute is set to true for all displayed results, I also modified the Select statement at the end of the command to drop the IsResource field. This command displays the mailbox name, resource type and the name of the server that's hosting the mailbox.

About the author: Brien M. Posey, MCSE, is a four-time recipient of Microsoft's Most Valuable Professional Award for his work with Windows Server, Internet Information Server (IIS) and Exchange Server. Brien has served as CIO for a nationwide chain of hospitals and healthcare facilities, and was once a network administrator for Fort Knox. You can visit Brien's personal web site at www.brienposey.com.

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This was first published in March 2008

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