Wednesday, March 23, 2011

PowerShell - Enable Exchange 2010 Mailbox from Active Directory

I installed Windows Live Writer the other day, so I figured I’d finally give it a shot. Step one was to load up with four cheese sandwiches, a cup of tea and a script! Earlier today when I pondered what to write about, I was deciding between managing NTFS inheritance with PowerShell or using redircmp to better control new domain computers.

Turns out I won’t be writing about either. In this post.

Lets instead turn our focus to Active Directory (AD) and Exchange 2010. Anyone who has worked with AD and Exchange before 2007 will most likely be familiar with the additional tabs in the Active Directory Users and Computers properties sheet for managing Exchange settings. These are gone in Exchange 2010, and as far as I know, won’t be coming back. All the Exchange management is now done in the Exchange Management Console (EMC). While EMC does allow you to create AD objects and mail/mailbox enable them, I find it a but cumbersome if all you want to do is create a mailbox for a user account.

One really nice touch with EMC is that it provides you with the PowerShell (PS) command to do <whatever it is you’re configuring>. Mailbox enabling a user account for example. This means if you’ve done it once in EMC you can easily do it in PowerShell instead. If you don’t mind typing or firing up a PS script to do this, it’s all good. But that’s not why we’re here.

Lets think back to the Exchange 2003 days and how we used to mailbox enable users by right clicking and going to “Exchange Tasks” and then selected what we wanted to do, and went through the wizard.

This is more like it!

Is there something similar in Exchange 2010? No. Not as far as I know (feel free to correct me). But if there’s a will, there’s a way! Since we already have the PowerShell command to mailbox enable the user, we can take advantage of the AD display specifiers and add our own menu item that will appear when you right click a user account. All it will take is a little bit of VBScript magic and an update of a configuration attribute in Active Directory.

We’ll start out by writing a VBScript. The script will perform a couple of checks to make sure that the user account is enabled (it’s a requirement for the PowerShell command), and that it isn’t already mail or mailbox enabled. Then it will proceed by launching PowerShell and finally execute the “Enable-Mailbox” cmdlet.

When a context menu item is selected, the object (ADsPath) itself is passed as an argument to the program.


Option Explicit
Dim objShell, objArgs, objUser

Set objShell = WScript.CreateObject("WScript.Shell")
Set objArgs = WScript.Arguments
Set objUser = GetObject(objArgs(0))

If Not IsEmpty(objUser.legacyExchangeDN) Then
    MsgBox "Object " & objUser.CN & " is already mail or mailbox enabled.", vbInformation, "Active Directory Domain Services"
End If

If objUser.AccountDisabled = True Then
    MsgBox "Object " & objUser.CN & " is disabled. Please enable before proceeding.", vbInformation, "Active Directory Domain Services"
End If

objShell.Run("powershell.exe -noexit Add-PSSnapin Microsoft.Exchange.Management.PowerShell.E2010; Enable-Mailbox -Identity '" & objUser.distinguishedName & "' -Alias '" & objUser.sAMAccountName & "'")

Set objArgs = Nothing
Set objUser = Nothing
Set objShell = Nothing

As always, watch out for unintentional line breaks.

Save this script and place it in a suitable location. I put mine in the \\testlab.local\NETLOGON share for high availability.

The next step is to edit the user account display specifier in the Active Directory configuration partition. I used ADSIEdit.msc to do this. Open it up and connect to the configuration naming context. The attribute is found in this location:

At the top you will find an attribute called “adminContextMenu”. We have to edit this attribute to add our entry to the context menu. Leave any entry already there, and add a new one. Mine looks like this:
2,Enable Mailbox,\\testlab.local\NETLOGON\Enable-Mailbox.vbs

The first position is simply where in the menu it should appear. I only had one entry, so I picked number 2. The second position is the name you want to appear in the context menu. Prefixing a letter with the ampersand character (&) adds a shortcut to it. The third entry is the location of the script. In this case, Enable-Mailbox.vbs in the netlogon share.

This MSDN article talks a bit more about the adminContextMenu:

Once applied, start or restart the Active Directory Users and Computers mmc and look up a user without a mailbox. Right click the user and now “Enable Mailbox” should appear. If you click it, PowerShell will start and load “Microsoft.Exchange.Management.PowerShell.E2010” (this must be present for this to work), and then run the cmdlet to enable a mailbox for the user account!

This should work if the EMC is installed on the system. If you’re trying to do this remote, you may have to use a remote pssession to first connect to a suitable server. I haven’t tried this yet, since right now there are no clients in my lab. –Maybe I’ll revisit this later.


As always, try this out in a lab first to ensure it behaves as expected, before you go live.

1 comment:

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