Quick solution that allows a public folder to automatically reply to incoming e-mail.

Question: I read your solution last week for sending autoreplies from resource mailboxes. [See "Limiting Calendar Conflicts" at —Editor] I am trying to find out if there is a tool/solution for setting up a public folder to auto-reply to e-mails sent to that resource. Any ideas?
— Ashu

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Got a Windows or Exchange question or need troubleshooting help? Or maybe you want a better explanation than provided in the manuals? Describe your dilemma in an e-mail to Bill at mailto:[email protected]; the best questions get answered in this column.

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Answer: You can use Outlook to set up an autoreply. Here's how to do it:

  1. Launch Outlook using the account of someone with admin permissions for the public folder tree.
  2. Open the Properties window for the public folder in Outlook and select the Administration tab.
  3. Click Folder Assistant. This opens a Folder Assistant window.
  4. Click Add Rule. This opens an Edit Rule window.
  5. Check the Reply With option and then click Template. This opens a standard message form.
  6. Enter the subject and text of the message you'd like to use for the autoreply. Don't fill in a To or Cc.
  7. Save and close the message form then click OK. You'll get a warning that this rule will fire for all incoming messages.
  8. Click Yes then OK then OK again to close all the windows.
  9. In Outlook, send a message to the public folder. You should get a reply back immediately. The reply will use the subject and body you put in the template message.

Hope this helps, Ashu!

Deploying XP SP2
Have you deployed XP SP2 yet? Have any war stories to tell? Send me your experiences, good and bad, and we'll print them in an upcoming column.

Also, I know that quite a few of you manage Exchange servers. Eric Hartmann, a tester on Microsoft's core Exchange team, has posted an inside look at free/busy scheduling on the official Exchange team blog, You Had Me At EHLO. Check it out at

About the Author

Contributing Editor Bill Boswell, MCSE, is the principal of Bill Boswell Consulting, Inc. He's the author of Inside Windows Server 2003 and Learning Exchange Server 2003 both from Addison Wesley. Bill is also Redmond magazine's "Windows Insider" columnist and a speaker at MCP Magazine's TechMentor Conferences.


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