Wanted: New identity for the postmaster

Delivery status notifications (DSNs) are messages sent by an Exchange Server to inform users about delays in sending e-mail. These messages have a FROM: line in the format administrator@domain.tld, where domain.tld is the server's public SMTP domain name.

DSNs originate from an account in Exchange that has been designated as the postmaster account as per RFC 822. In Exchange 2000, the postmaster account does not exist by default and may need to be created manually. Usually postmaster is set to the system administrator account.

The mail administrator may also want to configure things so that the delivery report is not from the administrator account. You may want to do this for a few reasons, one of which may be that the administrator account on the server may not be active (i.e., it may be renamed or disabled for the sake of security), and you may want to direct any traffic or feedback involving DSNs to a completely different address.

You can make two changes along these lines. One involves changing the display name of the administrator account for delivery reports; the other is changing the account on whose behalf delivery reports are sent. The first is useful if you want to simply attach a more descriptive name to the administrator account (i.e., "Mail Server Administrator"). The second is useful if you want to supply a completely different functioning e-mail to redirect responses to delivery reports.

To change

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the display name for the Administrator account, do the following:

1. In the Active Directory Users and Computers console, look in Users for the Administrator account.
2. Under the E-mail Addresses tab, make sure that postmaster@domain.tld (where, again, domain.tld is your SMTP domain name for that server) exists as an SMTP address. If it doesn't exist, create it.
3. Under the General tab, change the Display Name to the name you want to be used with that account on delivery status notifications.

To change the actual account used to send the notifications, do the following:

1. In the Active Directory Users and Computers console, look in Users for the Administrator account.
2. Under the E-mail Addresses tab, remove the postmaster@domain.tld account.
3. Locate the user account that you want to designate as the new postmaster account.
4. Add a new SMTP address with the name postmaster@domain.tld.
5. You can also change the display name for this address by following the instructions listed above.

Note that these procedures do not change non-delivery reports (NDRs), which are always attributed to the system administrator account. Also make sure that other programs that require the presence of a postmaster account (such as mailing-list software) will not be disrupted by changing postmaster to another account, possibly with different privileges.

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

This was first published in March 2004

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