Using and Accessing Public Folders

Public folders are often underutilized by companies and organizations. Many administrators won't take the time to understand, configure, and deploy public folders. This is a big mistake because public folders enhance an organization's ability to disseminate company information, company vision and initiatives, and the capability to collaborate on projects.

Public folders are used to share files and email messages within an organization and can have different names, such as Marketing, Engineering, and CompanyInfo, each with special access restrictions. For example, the Finance public folder is available only to Finance personnel and the Project Management public folder is available only to project management folks, but the CompanyInfo public folder is accessible to all company employees.

Public folders are stored in an organizational structure called a public folder tree. By design, administrators must create a public folder tree before creating a public folder store, and users can access public folder trees only when folders are part of a public folder store. The default public folder tree is accessible only through MAPI clients, such as Outlook 2003, whereas other public folder trees can be accessed with web browsers, Microsoft applications, or the Exchange System Manager (ESM).

Exchange 2003 makes it easy to access public folders for users both in the office and on the road. Public folders can be accessed via email clients, the Exchange information store, and the Internet.

Although users can access public folders with any MAPI-compliant email client, the recommended email client is Outlook 2003. If the email client is configured for Exchange 2003 Server, users of Outlook 2003 will have access to the public folders tree but not to alternative public folder trees. If Outlook 2003 is configured for Internet usage, IMAP must be configured to access public folders. If Outlook is configured properly, users can access public folders in Outlook 2003 using the following steps:


Open Outlook 2003. If the folder list is not displayed, click Go and then select Folder List.


In the Folder List, expand the public folders and then expand All Public Folders to display all available top-level public folders.

Verifying HTTP Virtual Server Settings

Users can also access public folders via the company intranet or the World Wide Web and can create and/or manage folders and their contents. Using an HTTP virtual server in Exchange 2003 and a web browser, users can access public folders by typing a URL, http://{servername}/public, where servername is the name of the virtual server and public is the default name of the Public Folder web share. With this access method, alternative public folders can also be accessed. Although Exchange 2003 automatically configures web shares and access controls, it is always a good idea to double-check the settings. Use the following steps to check the configuration:


In ESM, expand the Server node to work with and then expand the Protocols node. Expand the HTTP node and then expand Exchange Virtual server to display a list of Web shares.


Right-click Public and then select Properties. In the Public Properties dialog box, select the Access tab to check application and access permissions. Exchange sets default folder access permissions for read, write, directory browsing, and script source access. To prevent application access, Execute Permissions should be set to None.


Click OK to finish configuring access properties.


Most problems accessing public folders via the web are caused by incorrect settings. Most changes are accidental. Restore settings to the default when you're troubleshooting; most likely, users will then have access again.

Accessing Public Folders Through the Exchange Information Store

Public folders can also be accessed through the Exchange Information Store using the network path \\.\BackOfficeStorage. This path has a mailbox folder that is the root for all mailboxes on the server, a domain folder for all available domains, and a Public Folders folder that is the root of the default public folder tree. Using the directory command DIR, administrators can display the contents of the Information Store. For example, in the Pandora Networks domain, administrators would type dir"\\.\\BackOfficeStorage\\PublicFolders". Be sure to include the quotes or an error may be generated because of the space in the public folder name.

Sams Teach Yourself Exchange Server 2003 in 10 Minutes
Sams Teach Yourself Exchange Server 2003 in 10 Minutes
ISBN: 0672327244
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2005
Pages: 130
Authors: James Walker © 2008-2017.
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