In Exchange 2003 I know that only 1 out of office message is sent back to the original sender if you have the Out Of Office assistant turned on with a reply message.

What I'm wondering is if there is a way in Exchange 2007 to allow the Out of Office message to be sent multiple times to the sender if they keep sending multiple mail messages to someone that is out of the office.

Even if the out of office message was limited to only once per day that would be acceptable.


I believe this is not possible using just the Out of Office Assistant. This was done to stop infinite OOO message loops, bringing Exchange servers to their knees in the event of two people having OOO messages set, with a message being sent from one to the other.

It can be done however, using Message Rules, but this is not advisable (for the aforementioned reason).


Ok, found a dirty hack that will allow you to do what you requested - however, it is a really dirty hack.

You'd need to customise the script for an individual user (if you have many users, they need one each). Place the script on the Exchange server, and Schedule the script to run once a day. The reason this works is because each time you re-enable the OOA, it wipes the list of people it has sent OOO messages to. You would of course need to remember to remove the script when the user returns to work, otherwise everyday it would re-enable their OOA.

Also, change line 3 and 4 for your environment, and the user in question.

Set objMAPISession = CreateObject(”MAPI.Session”)

strExchangeSvr = "svr-exch-01.yourdomain.loc"
strMailbox = "jane.doe"

strMAPI = strExchangeSvr & vbLf & strMailbox

On error Resume Next

objMAPISession.Logon “”, “”, False, True, 0, False, strMAPI

If err <> 0 Then
    Wscript.Echo “An Error occured: ” & err.description
    Wscript.Sleep 7000
End If

strOOOMessage = "Jane is having babies and will be absent for a while.  Please try again after October.  Ciao"

objMAPISession.OutOfOffice = False
objMAPISession.OutOfOfficeText = strOOOMessage 
objMAPISession.OutOfOffice = True
strOOOMessage = objMAPISession.OutOfOfficeText

Set objMAPISession = Nothing

Please note: I have not tested this. You will need to deploy it with a test Mailbox, and do some testing with it.

Wow, I need a shower after that.

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  • Still, sending just one a day would fix this problem and also provide a solution to the problem Richard is having. It actually kind of makes sense to do it the way Richard is requesting... – Mark Henderson Aug 13 '09 at 21:05
  • I can certainly appreciate the OOO loop problem. The reason that I ask this is when we have people that are on extended leaves (maternity for example) it would be nice if we could send antoher OOO message to the sender if they send another email to the person, perhaps a few weeks later forgetting that they are still on maternity leave. Right now the only way to accomplish this is to turn off then turn back on the Out of Office assistant to "clear" the memory of who has been sent an Out of Office reply. – Richard West Aug 13 '09 at 21:10
  • In that case, it's back to my original statement - they will need to use Rules, and quite possibly leave their machine logged on with Outlook open as I think it would be a client side rule. There may be a 3rd-party plugin for Outlook/Exchange that can provide this functionality – Izzy Aug 13 '09 at 21:32
  • Dirty hack method provided - am really interested to see if this works. Please let me know – Izzy Aug 13 '09 at 21:45
  • +1 just for the strOOOMessage = "Jane is having babies and will be absent for a while." That made my laugh out loud. That looks like a cool way to solve the problem but I'm going to have a problem convincing the Exchange admin to run this script each day AND remember with the user comes back in the office to stop running it. A+ for the effort though! – Richard West Aug 14 '09 at 16:04

Interestingly, when I started at this job I came from a GroupWise environment and went to an Exchange one. The OOO agent for Exch 2003 didn't have all the features I needed in my out of office notice, so I ended up creating my own rule. As I had solved the loop problem back on GW, I was able to get the rules in for it.

What I did:

  • Set the reply text to append something ('-Vacation' is what I used) in the subject.
  • Set an Exception on the rule to not run if that string is in the subject
  • Configure it to only fire when sending directly to me (i.e. my name is in the To: or CC: lines), so people sending to my groups don't get mail-bombed.
  • Configure a "Between these dates" conditional so I could set it days in advance

Worked pretty well. Though, people sending directly to me got a notice every time they sent to me. Happily, I excluded groups so only people explicitly sending to me got the note.

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