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Is there a way to distribute a client-only rule to Outlook 2003 and 2007 clients?

We'd like a way for to have emails from corporate communications generate a desktop alert or perhaps be flagged for followup automatically. It would need to be deployable centrally using Active Directory or Exchange.

My first thought was group policy, but apparently Outlook rules aren't part of what you can control using group policy.

Has anyone implemented something similar?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

There are several ways to do this, presuming you want to create rules on the server so that they run even when the user's Outlook isn't active.

  • you can use the rule.dll component of the Exchange 5.5 SDK. It's really, really old, and the rules you create won't be visible or manageable through Outlook-- that may or may not be what you want.
  • the Outlook 2007 object model has tools for creating and managing rules, but it only works with Outlook 2007. However, the created rules will work no matter what version of Outlook the user runs.
  • the Outlook Redemption library includes a set of APIs for managing rules. Redemption is commercial software, but it's much easier to use than rule.dll. The author provides excellent support, and the library itself is pretty easy to use.

To deploy this centrally, your code would need to log on to a user's mailbox and create the rule; you'll also need a way to enumerate all of the mailboxes and do a few other housekeeping tasks. Should be a nice weekend project!

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Thanks for the answer. Unfortunately, since I'm an admin, not a dev, I think learning to program, writing the program, testing and deploying would take me significantly longer than a weekend. At any rate, I'm looking for a way to distribute client-only rules, so hacking on the server side isn't going to solve my particluar problem. I've edited my question to clarify. – Brian Jun 6 '09 at 16:52

What if you setup a machine and created your custom rules, then exported the rules to an accessible location. Could a logon script or a batch file import the rules somehow?

..just a guess.

EDIT -I have been looking at cmd line switches for Outlook. It looks like there is a switch for everything EXCEPT 'rules and alerts'

EDIT - see if this helps. It isnt exactly what you asked for, but it may take you there:

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Thanks for the pointer. – Brian Jun 7 '09 at 1:22

Not realy sure if this can help you but when I want to deploy rules for the exchange organisation using exchange 2007, I create a hub transport rule using the exchange management console.

But I don't think that you can show a popup that way.

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