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Just wanted to know what's your take on this... A user has left the company but may return in future. I would like to disable his AD account, archive all his emails, keep his mailbox and prevent new emails from being sent to him. What's the "best practice" method of doing this? Please enlighten and thanks in advance.

What I would do:

  1. Reset AD password
  2. Change SMTP address - leading to NDRs if new emails are sent to his/her previous address
  3. Logon as him/her and archive emails
  4. Disable AD account
  5. Hide address from GAL
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Exchange 2003 used to automatically bounce email sent to a mailbox whose AD account was in a disabled state. This was changed later via a hotfix. Depending on how up-to-date your Exchange patches are, your setup could behave differently.

Here's a blog entry which deals with Exchange 2003 and disabled user accounts, which spells it out nicely, including a few workarounds for those who have the behaviour-changing hotfix installed.

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@Graeme: Thanks Graeme. That was useful to know – molecule Mar 23 '10 at 9:01

You have a very specific set of requirements and a procedure that meets them. Perfect.

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Sounds like a good solution. We usually do something similar, although we don't change the SMTP address. If someone might receive work-related emails after they leave, we give someone else the new password to the account and let them monitor it. In some cases, we've set up an out-of-office message to let people know that the person has left the company.

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@Ward: Thanks for your post. This mailbox was already "unattended" (user left for a few months) for quite some time but since it was receiving quite a lot of emails on a daily basis, they finally decided to disable the email address. – molecule Mar 23 '10 at 9:01

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