How can I open up an Exchange folder?
July 16, 2007 10:25 AM   Subscribe

Are there any tools out there that will enable me to open an arbitrary user's Inbox on our Microsoft Exchange server?

I've got domain admin privileges and I caught somebody with an inappropriate email. The scuttlebutt is that this is not his first time, so I wanted to do some digging to see if this is endemic or a one time thing. I've got the authority to do so, as well.
posted by taumeson to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
the default permissions on the mail store will be to deny you access to the mailboxes. just go in and give yourself read permission on the box you need to get into and that should work (you can then open it from within Outlook). see this or this. be very careful with this as you may actually be violating some laws depending on where you are or how you're doing it (Sarbanes-Oxley and all that).
posted by mrg at 10:51 AM on July 16, 2007

Response by poster: We're private, so does SOX apply to us?
posted by taumeson at 11:56 AM on July 16, 2007

Once you've done the permissions on the mailbox, it's File -> Open -> Another User's Folder.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:40 PM on July 16, 2007

SOX only applies to public companies. But it's a good idea to have a policy in place for this kind of thing. Something to the effect of "Hey, user, you have no rights at all, all your emails are belong to us," usually does the trick.
posted by Area Control at 1:34 PM on July 16, 2007

Response by poster: OK, this worked for their Inbox, but didn't work for their folders. Any other suggestions/thoughts?
posted by taumeson at 2:11 PM on July 16, 2007

Use Active Directory users and groups, open the user object, go to Exchange Advanced, click the Mailbox Rights button and give yourself full mailbox access.

Definitely skating on thin ice here, I'd suggest discussing this with someone in authority. Please CYA and the user's, and the company's while you're at it. You don't say whether he's sending or receiving the offending email, and there is a very big difference between what you receive and what you send.
posted by disclaimer at 6:13 PM on July 16, 2007

If you have the users log in info i would open there account in outlook web access (OWA if turned on) and have that authority approved look around.

A better but more tech approach would be to use Microsoft Exchange Server Mailbox Merge Wizard (ExMerge) and make a copy (convert to pst) of the whole user exchange account. This would create a snapshot of the exchange account data preserving all mail and folders as of that date. This pst file (open in outlook) would prevent later loss of said e-mails if the user cleaned up (deleted) there folders/mail.
Careful with exmerge, easy to use it can save your day and then ruin it if you don't pay attention.
Some ExMerge Details here

Depending where in the world/state you are, get that authority in writing and check on the privacy laws.
posted by blink_left at 11:08 PM on July 16, 2007

Oh, hey, I think I have the answer. Grant the administrator(s) (or any other user) full mailbox right on Exchange 2000/2003 mailboxes.
Another way is to know in advance that you want to read those emails, and use Exchange message journaling. This is a fun way to see all activity in real time, but archiving the data can be a pain in the butt.
posted by Area Control at 4:40 PM on July 18, 2007

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