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Managing E-Mail Addresses


A recipient policy that manages e-mail addresses has the following characteristics:

  • It applies to a selected group of recipients.

  • It always contains information about the address types that are to be applied to those recipients.

  • It is given a priority, so that administrators can control which address is applied as the primary address to a recipient that may appear in more than one policy.

Example Scenario

The Exchange administrator for Fourth Coffee wants to create three e-mail addresses for recipients in the organization. The first is for the board of directors, the second is for the employees of the company who work in New York, and the third is for the remainder of the employees at the home office. He creates three recipient policies, as shown in the following table.

Policies and their priorities

Policy Priority SMTP address

Board of Directors


New York Employees




The following table shows information for three different users.

User information for Fourth Coffee personnel

Name Office Board

Jonathan Haas

New York


Yale Li

New York


Britta Simon



The first recipient policy, Board of Directors, runs and finds Jonathan Haas in the list of board members. His address is set to <alias> The next policy, New York Employees, runs. It finds Jonathan Haas again. However, because a policy with a higher priority has already been applied to him, no action is taken. The policy continues running and finds Yale Li. No previous policy has applied to Yale, and Yale Li's address becomes <alias> Finally, the default policy runs. Because no previous policy has applied to Britta Simon, her address becomes the default address, <alias>

You may want to apply more than one address to a group of recipients. In the previous example, if everyone in the company should receive e-mail messages at <alias>, that address must be included in all three recipient policies. When you have more than one address in a recipient policy, only one address is considered the primary address per address type. This means that you can only have one primary Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) address and one primary X.400 address. You can have 10 SMTP addresses for one recipient, but only one of those can be the primary SMTP address.

The difference between primary and secondary addresses is that the primary address serves as the return e-mail address. When mail is received from a recipient, the primary address determines which address the mail appears to have come from. Recipients can receive mail sent to any of the addresses associated with them. The following table shows the primary and secondary e-mail addresses of the three people in the scenario.

Primary and secondary e-mail addresses

Name (alias) Receive mail sent to Send mail from (primary e-mail address only)

Jonathan Haas (Jon)

Yale Li (Yale)

Britta Simon (Britta)

Notice that Jonathan Haas is in the New York office, yet does not have the <alias> address. To have this secondary address, it would be necessary to include it in the recipient policy that applies to him. However, the policy with the highest priority that applies to Jonathan is the Board of Directors policy. Because the members of the board of directors all work in different states, the policy does not include <alias> To add <alias> to Jonathan, you can manually add a secondary address in Active Directory Users and Computers, or you can programmatically add <alias> as a secondary address to all employees in the New York office.


This example scenario shows how recipient policies are applied. The behavior of recipient policies differs when co-existing with Exchange Server 5.5.