One of the most popular uses for a mailbox, other than sending and receiving email, is its calendaring capabilities. The calendaring features of Microsoft Outlook and Exchange 2007 are an essential part of most organizations’ communication infrastructures. An important byproduct of mailbox calendaring is resource scheduling.
I was having a discussion in a class not long ago about resource mailboxes. At that time I was asked by a student if it was possible to customize the responses that are sent to the meeting requestor. I explained how this could be done but on reflection I realized that for the number of time I have configured resource mailboxes and reviewed the resource mailbox options I never actually configured any custom text for a resource mailbox before. So for my benefit and hopefully others I felt it would be a good topic to write about.
The Set-MailboxCalendarSettings cmdlet along with the AddAdditionalResponse and AdditionalResponse parameters are used to configure the custom response from the resource mailbox to the meeting organizer. Like a number of custom settings for a resource mailbox, the AddAdditionalResponse parameter requires that the resource is set to AutoAccept meeting requests with the AutomateProcessing parameter. Otherwise, any custom responses you configure will be disregarded. To verify the Automate Processing value use the following cmdlet:
Get-Mailbox -RecipientTypeDetails RoomMailbox | Get-MailboxCalendarSettings | Format-List Identity,AutomateProcessing
Possible values can be AutoUpdate(Default), AutoAccept and None. To change a resource to AutoAccept use the following cmdlet:
Set-MailboxCalendarSettings -Identity “resource_name” -AutomateProcessing AutoAccept
As an illustration of the usefulness of a custom response consider the following scenario. VirtueCorp has a corporate office in New York City with two executive conference rooms (Fishbowl and Showcase). Each of the conference rooms has already been configured to disable the AllBookInPolicy and limit the BookInPolicy to corporate executives and their administrators. VirtueCorp wants to continue to allow the process to be completely automated without any delegates. However there are specific procedures that the meeting organizers are expected to follow when utilizing the rooms. The company is having trouble getting them to comply. It is felt that if the conference room can send the usage policy along with a response that it is more likely that the meeting organizers will comply.
To configure the resource to limit who can book the resource use the following cmdlets:
Set-MailboxCalendarSettings -Identity “resource_name”-AllBookInPolicy:$False -BookInPolicy “distgroup_name, mailbox_name, etc…”
There are two ways you can add a custom response. I’ve detailed both below.
(Method 1) Custom response using Exchange Management Shell
1. Set-MailboxCalendarSettings -Identity “resource_name” -AdditionalResponse “response_text_string”
2. Set-MailboxCalendarSettings -Identity “resource_name” -AddAdditionalResponse:$True
(Method 2) Custom response using OWA
1. Add-MailboxPermission -Identity “resource_name” -User “admin_name” -Accessright FullAccess -InheritanceType All
2. Logon to OWA as “Domain\admin_name”
3. Click on the down arrow next to “Admin_Name” to Open Other Mailbox.
4. Type the”Resource_Name” and click Open.
5. When the new window for the resource mailbox opens select Options then scroll down and select Resource Settings.
6. Select the checkbox to Add additional text that will be included in responses to meeting requests.
7. Type the message and use the formatting tools to customize the look and feel of the message.
8. Click Save.
If you need to place extra emphasis on your message you should use OWA as it provides a number of text formatting tools. You can implement custom responses on each of your resources and provide extra details for each resource in your organization that is not possible with the objects attributes alone in active directory.