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How to Clean Up your Exchange 5.5 DS
I read at least a half a dozen magazines per month. I usually have two or more books started. I am always studying for the "next" certification. I subscribe to 20 mailing lists, and many email newsletters. In all of my reading, I have never come across a regular column about Exchange Resource Kits.
I have read several columns about NT Resource Kits. I love "This Old Resource Kit" in Win2000 Magazine. I think Mark Minasi does a wonderful job both explaining and teaching us about the NT/2000 Resource Kits. My intention is to talk about The Exchange Resource Kit initially, and then third party tools and other MS tools.
I am currently managing an Exchange 5.5 system running in a Windows NT network. I know that at some point, I will need to upgrade to Exchange 2000. I say this because I need many of the enhancements. I am looking forward to the multiple Information Stores (IS). I need a more powerful Outlook Web Access (OWA.). I want the web storage. I need a single Directory Service (DS) for my enterprise. I need better name resolution. (OK that is a Windows 2000 perk, but I do need it.) So, I am upgrading to both Windows 2000 and Exchange 2000. My timing for these upgrades is dependent upon several criteria way beyond the scope of this article.
My plan is to migrate to Windows 2000, and then to Exchange 2000. My reasoning for a two part migration is it allows me to separate the projects to better marshal my resources. I can isolate the projects and charge each individually. Even if I am an in-house employee, (not an integrator or consultant) my employer would want to know how much the upgrade will cost them. I can also manage the amount of inconvenience on my network. The bigger issue is the network upgrade, and I don't want the Exchange upgrade to be blamed for the problems there.
The major downside of a two part migration is as I complete the network upgrade, if I do it poorly, my employer will be afraid to continue with the next phase. I have seen many people lose their nerve after a poorly planned migration. There is only one way to lessen the impact. That is planning! planning! planning!
Since one of my major concerns is a fully functional DS that actually has information in it, I will talk about different methods of populating the directory. As you know, in Exchange the part of the DS that most users come in contact with is the Global Address List (GAL). In Windows 2000, Microsoft talks about Global Catalog Servers (GC) in every site to speed searches, and the ability to find "a color printer by the window on the third floor." Guess what, if I don't put locations into Active Directory (AD), then I can't search by locations.
In future articles, I will talk bout things like the Active Directory Connector (ADC) that will allow me to migrate my DS in Exchange 5.5 to Windows 2000 AD. For this article, I am focusing on how to "clean up" your Exchange 5.5 DS. This involves several tools. First and foremost, I need to allow a non-administrator to manage the items in my GAL. (Unless you want to type all of that user information yourself.) This will be accomplished with GALMOD. This is a tool designed to modify the GAL. There is a web interface, but I will talk about the command line tool first.
The main application is called Galmod.exe. And as stated, it allows you to change your mailbox properties. This is huge for a non-administrator. Add to this, it can be run from Win9x. This is significant because you cannot run Admin.exe from Win9x. (I know you can run it in a terminal session, but that's not really a Win9x session.)
When Galmod runs, it looks like a typical Outlook form. This is very helpful in that most users will be able to manage it and the feel is very intuitive. This can be run by emailing it (or a link to it) to all of your users and allow them to update their own information. If you have a large directory, this might be an option. The only draw back is your users might not want information about them published. I actually had a user tell me he would erase his phone number so people couldn't call him. (Kind of defeats the purpose of this exercise.)
This is helpful if you choose to have everyone update their own info. If assistant's are updating info for their bosses, it will not work. The reason is you need to be logged in as the person to use it. A better option is to use the web based Galmod. There is a Technet Article describing the complete process, I will highlight it here. The article is number Q242223 "How to Install and Use the Global Address List Modify for Web Tool" and it is found at http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/q242/2/23.asp?LNG=ENG&SA=PER
Initially, you will need a web server set up with access to your Exchange Server. I like using my OWA Server. Makes life fairly easy that way. Once I have identified the server I will be using, copy the contents of the Web\Galmod directory to the IIS Server, and create a virtual directory. (Straight forward, use the MMC in the Option Pack--Right Click, New, Virtual Directory or use Article number "Q172138 How to Create a Virtual Directory").
This allows the basic tool to function. If this were all there is, you wouldn't need this article. There are several additional areas to be aware of. First of all, you can't change "every item" in the GAL. It is not anticipated that you will need to correct many areas such as name, office, state, department, title, and company. With mergers, and Assistants updating information, and home based offices, it is conceivable that you would want to change some of that information. To change these items, you need to change some raw values in the Exchange Schema.
Please be aware, running Admin is raw mode is potentially VERY dangerous. You could kill your Exchange Server all together. Please don't run admin in raw mode all of the time. Be very careful when you edit any schema objects.
You can launch admin in raw mode by going into exchsrvr\bin and running admin /r. As I stated, it can be very dangerous. If you follow the article above, you can see how to change several attributes to allow your users the ability to change them. This will extend the functionality of Galmod to make it much more useful. You can now edit almost any field you need to. The most notable exception is the Direct Reports page and the Distribution Lists. If you need to change them, there is another solution.
To change the Direct Reports, I found a wonderful form in the CDO Live archives. (www.CDOLive.com a wonderful resource for scriptlets.) This form runs similar to the command line tool we talked about initially. The major difference is it runs as a form. That being said, you could still run it as a link or email to a link. If it is a form, I prefer to publish the form to the Organizational Forms Library. This will prevent you getting messages to enable macros. This form uses a COM object to edit the GAL. As such, you can't use it as a web page, but you get some additional features. (Editing Direct Reports or Distribution List Objects.)
As you can see, there are numerous methods of changing the GAL, depending upon your needs and organizational structure. How you choose to edit your GAL could be a combination of the above methods. Since AD and Windows 2000 are coming, it is imperative we have clean information as we move to AD. If not, any problems we have will be replicated. It is much better to have a clean slate prior to moving into AD. I will talk in future articles about other topics and methods to clean and update your GAL.
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Copyright Stephen Bryant 2008