Mail flow NDR to external email addresses that have Active Directory Accounts.

Rudolf Amarlapudi 456 Reputation points


We are running an Exchange Server 2016 (Version 15.1 ‎(Build 2176.2)‎).

We noticed recently that staff emailing a few external email accounts were receiving NDR's. Upon further examination, we found that these external email addresses did indeed contain an Active Directory account for the user, although there was no local mailbox on Exchange, nor a Contact. We found that even when the email address was being manually typed in Outlook, it was trying to use the Active Directory account as the destination. The Active Directory account contained an entry in the General tab that contained the external email address. These users access our network only to use certain applications.


For the most part, the issue was addressed by removing the email entry from the General tab. In some cases, I had to create an associated mailbox Then create a Contact with the external email address. Then forward the internal email to the Contact.

My question is what are the Microsoft best practices in this situation? Should the General Tab NOT contain an email address if it is for an external mailbox, even if there is no internal mailbox? Does Outlook try to route email internally using this entry even if it is not setup as an email domain that it accepts email for?

Thanks in advance for the assistance.


Exchange Server Management
Exchange Server Management
Exchange Server: A family of Microsoft client/server messaging and collaboration software.Management: The act or process of organizing, handling, directing or controlling something.
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  1. Yuki Sun-MSFT 40,331 Reputation points

    Hi @Rudolf Amarlapudi ,

    Based on my understanding of your description, creating mail users for the external email addresses could be the best fit for your scenario. In this case, these external users can have both the external email addresses and the logon credentials in your Exchange organization to access resources. All messages sent to the mail users are routed to this external email address. When a mail user is created, the Email entry on the General Tab is filled up with the external email address:

    For more details, you may refer to: Manage mail users.

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