"Best Practices" or "How do you do it?" type question.

We have a user retiring. She had an AD account and an Exchange 03' (believe that's the correct version) mailbox.

We have a new user replacing her. She has an account and mailbox.

She wants email from the old user forwarded to new user while transitioning vendors' information to have new user as the contact person.

I was told to back up the old user's email to a pst, remove email from old user, then set new SMTP address for new user to additionally have old user's address. "Remove email from old user" is kind of vague...delete mailbox? Remove some setting? Keep old user login intact?

I didn't like that way exactly because we'd probably forget about it and new user would always have these phantom addresses in her settings. Maybe it's the Asperger's in me but I don't like doing it that way.

I exported old user's mailbox to a pst, then poked around for a solution that would make sure the old mailbox was intact (in case we needed it for who knows why, I'm paranoid, and yes we do have a backup that is supposed to be backing up mailboxes too).

I was going to just remove Exchange attributes from the old user account leaving the old account intact for logging in if need be, but the mailbox should be available on the server for recovery if the need arose in the near future.

I verified this by calling someone who has more experience in Exchange; he instead had me disable the old user account object, then set it to forward all email to the new user object. Seemed cleaner and when that old user account is no longer needed we can delete it and I'd assume that'll also wipe the email addresses from the system, ending forwarding.

Is there a cleaner or "better" way to do this that we can document? Or is this a good solution to have used?


The solution your third-party friend provided is very reasonable and is how I would proceed myself.

What I would not do is manually add additional SMTP addresses to individual user accounts, ever. If you did somehow need to maintain the old user's email address for forwarding to a new user after you delete the old user's AD account, I'd recommend creating a mail-enabled group with an Exchange Alias that matches the old user's Alias such that the group gets the same email address as the "old user". Put the user(s) who should receive those emails into that group.

(In general, you should use groups to assign additional SMTP addresses to users rather than doing it by hand. If you have turnover and need to give someone's replacement the same set of custom SMTP addresses as the "old uesr" you need only put the "new user" into the correct groups.)


A disabled user account cannot receive email, so that's not an option for you.

I would simply export the old users mailbox to a pst file, delete the user account and mailbox, and add the old users email address(es) to the new users account. You can optionally import the old users pst file into the new users mailbox (create a folder to import to, to keep things separate).

I understand your desire to cover the bases here but employees quit, get fired, pass away, etc. You can't keep everything forever. Worst case scenario is you have to restore the old users account and mailbox, which is easily done as long as you have good backups.


You can't remove Exchange attributes from an user without removing the associated mailbox too, because the mailbox in Exchange actually is an Exchange attribute (and some database storage, of course).

You can give the "old" user a dummy e-mail address and remove the main one, giving it to the "new" user as a secondary one; this way, the new user will receive all messages addresses to that address, while the old mailbox will remain fully functional.

Or you can do as it was suggested, and use forwarding; but it will stop working if you delete the old user account.

I prefer the first solution, because it lets me decouple the archived mailbox from the e-mail address and manage them separately.


You can change remove the SMTP email address of the old user, SMTP tab in user properties on the Exchange server.

Then add the old user's SMTP address to the new user. The new user will have 2 SMTP email addresses. Make sure their name is the default, that is the one Exchange will send email as and now the new person will get all email for both old and new accounts forever, no forwarding rules to worry about on the old account. We do this when someone gets married, we just add the new name to the SMTP and set it as the default, doesn't matter if someone uses old or new email address that way and everything is contained in the new persons email account.

For the old mailbox there are a couple of ways. If it's small enough it's not a bad idea just to PST it with ExMerge and put a copy of it on your backup server (for safe keeping) and give a copy to new person to open locally and import into their own account as they need it. This allows you to disable and delete the old account and keep the system clean.

Other way is to leave the account active and give new person read access to old mailbox (could also do this just to do the import, but the PST might just be easier for that) Downside is you need to leave old account active and have inactive accounts hanging around.

Hope that helps.

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