Create a Mailbox for an Existing User

[This is pre-release documentation and subject to change in future releases.]  

Applies to: Exchange Server 2013 Preview

This topic explains how to use the Exchange Administration Center (EAC) and the Exchange Management Shell to create a mailbox for an existing Active Directory user account. This is known as mailbox-enabling existing users. After you mailbox-enable an existing user, the user can send and receive email messages.

What do you need to know before you begin?

  • Estimated time to complete: 2 minutes
  • You need to be assigned permissions before you can perform this procedure or procedures. To see what permissions you need, see the "Recipient Provisioning Permissions" section in the Recipients Permissions topic.
  • For information about keyboard shortcuts that may apply to the procedures in this topic, see Keyboard Shortcuts in Exchange 2013.

What do you want to do?

Use the EAC to create a mailbox for an existing user

Use the Shell to create a mailbox for an existing user

Use the EAC to create a mailbox for an existing user

  1. In the EAC, navigate to Recipients  > Mailboxes.

  2. Click New > User mailbox.

  3. On the New user mailbox page, in the Alias box, type the user’s alias, which specifies the email alias for the user. The user’s alias is the portion of the email address on the left side of the @ symbol. It must be unique in the forest.


    If you leave this box blank, the value from the user name portion of the User Logon Name is used for the email alias.

  4. Click Existing user.

  5. Click Browse to open the Select User – Entire Forest dialog box. This dialog box displays a list of Active Directory user accounts in the forest that aren't mail-enabled or don't have Exchange mailboxes. Select the user account you want to mail-enable, and then click OK.
    When you create a mailbox for an existing user, you don’t have to provide account information because this information already exists in Active Directory.


    The Active Directory account that is associated with user mailboxes must reside in the same forest as the Exchange server. To create a mailbox for a user account that resides in a trusted forest, you have to create a linked mailbox. See Create a Linked Mailbox.

  6. Click More options to configure the following fields. Otherwise, skip to Step 7 to save the new user mailbox.

    • Specify the mailbox database   Use this option to specify a mailbox database instead of allowing Exchange to select a database for you. Click Browse to open the Select Mailbox Database dialog box. This dialog box lists all the mailbox databases in your Exchange organization. By default, the mailbox databases are sorted by name. You can also click the title of the corresponding column to sort the databases by server name or version. Select the mailbox database you want to use, and then click OK.
    • Create local archive storage for this user   Select this check box to create an archive mailbox for the mailbox. If you create an archive mailbox, mailbox items will be moved automatically from the primary mailbox to the archive, based on the default retention policy settings or those you define.
      Click Browse to select a database that resides in the local forest to store the archive mailbox.
      To learn more, see Understanding Personal Archives.
    • Address book policy   Use this option to specify an address book policy (ABP) for the mailbox. ABPs contain a global address list (GAL), an offline address book (OAB), a room list, and a set of address lists. When assigned to mailbox users, an ABP provides them with access to a customized GAL in Outlook and Outlook Web App. To learn more, see Understanding Address Book Policies.
      In the drop-down list, select the policy that you want associated with this mailbox.
  7. When you're finished, click Save to create the mailbox.

Use the Shell to create a mailbox for an existing user

This example creates a mailbox for the existing user on the Exchange database named UsersMailboxDatabase.

Enable-Mailbox -Database UsersMailboxDatabase

You can also use the Enable-Mailbox cmdlet to mail-enable multiple users. You can do this by piping the results of the Get-User cmdlet to the Enable-Mailbox cmdlet. When you run the Get-User cmdlet, you must return only users that aren't already mail-enabled. To do this, you need to specify the value User with the RecipientTypeDetails parameter. You can also limit the results returned by using the Filter parameter to request only users that meet the criteria you specify. You then pipe the results to the Enable-Mailbox cmdlet.

For example, the following command mailbox-enables users who aren't already mail-enabled and that have a value in the UserPrincipalName property, which helps ensure that you don’t inadvertently convert a system account to a mailbox.

Get-User -RecipientTypeDetails User -Filter { UserPrincipalName -ne $Null } | Enable-Mailbox

For syntax and parameter information, see Enable-Mailbox and Get-User.

For more information about pipelining, see Pipelining.

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How do you know this worked?

To verify that you’ve successfully created a mailbox for an existing user, do one of the following:

  • In the EAC, navigate to Recipients  > Mailboxes. The new mailbox-enabled user is displayed in the mailbox list. Under Mailbox Type, the type is User.

  • In the Shell, run the following command to display information about the new mailbox-enabled user.

    Get-Mailbox <Name> | FL Name,RecipientTypeDetails,PrimarySmtpAddress

    Note that that value for the RecipientTypeDetails property is UserMailbox.

Having problems? Ask for help in the Exchange Server forums. Visit the forums at: Exchange Server