The Out of Office (OOF) feature is commonly used by end-users to let other people know when they are not available to respond to e-mail. Exchange 2007 Out of Office capabilities such as scheduled OOF, different external and internal OOF messages and the ability to control what kind of OOF to send on a per-domain basis improves the experience for both end-users and for administrators.
In Exchange Server 2007, some of the new Out of Office Assistant features are:
OOF messages can now be set as HTML instead of plain-text.
OWA and Outlook 2007 users who are hosted on Exchange 2007 mailboxes will see these new capabilities. Outlook 2007 users who are on Exchange 2003 (or earlier) servers will have the same features as they have with Outlook 2003.
This screen shots show the OOF configuration options available to end-users in Outlook Web Access (please click on the thumbnail to see the full size screenshot):
For Administrators and Exchange organizations
In Exchange 2007, Administrators can choose to control external OOF capabilities at a per-domain and per-user level.
Some organizations do not enable external OOF messages today, because they do not believe they are "safe". Some users put personal information in their OOF message that should not be leaked externally, and some companies have expressed concern about OOF messages as a mechanism for spammers to validate users' email addresses. In Exchange 2007, we believe we've addressed these organizational concerns.
For other customers, they would like to enable some of their users for external OOF messages (such as the ones working directly with customers), but not all of them.
Per User Settings
Exchange 2007 lets administrators control per-user external OOF messages using the Monad command "Set-Mailbox" with the "ExternalOOFOptions" parameter:
MSH>Set-Mailbox -id <mailbox identity> -ExternalOOFOptions [InternalOnly,External]
By default, per-user external OOF option is set to allow external OOF. By setting this to "InternalOnly" for a given mailbox, instead of "External", that mailbox will not be able to send OOF messages outside the company, using any client, regardless of what the user selects.
Administrators can also control which (if any) OOF messages go to which external domains. These per-domain settings are set via the Monad command "Set-remoteDomain" using the parameter "AllowedOOFType":
MSH>Set-remoteDomain -Identity <domain identity> -AllowedOOFType [None,InternalLegacy,Internal,External(Default)]
The AllowedOOFType values are as follows:
You can choose the wildcard '*' for the target domain if you wish your per-domain OOF settings to apply to all external domains that don't otherwise have a specific setting for them.
The following screen shot shows the per-domain OOF configuration settings in Exchange Management Console (please click the thumbnail to see a big version):
In addition, in Exchange 2007 OOF responses are more secure because of the following two checks:
PS. If you ever wondered what "OOF" stands for - go read this post.
- Ashish Consul
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