New User's Guide to the Exchange Management Console


By Andrea Fowler

Whether you are just taking a test drive or you have already purchased your sparkling, brand new Exchange 2007 Server, you already know that one of the most exciting features is the new and improved Exchange Management Console. Just like its predecessor, Exchange System Manager, the Exchange Management Console is a Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-in—it still uses standard GUI elements like the console tree, result pane, wizards, property pages, and dialog boxes. However, although the general framework is the same, there are some significant improvements that will make your ride smoother. Check them out:

  • Under the hood   Just like the Exchange Management Shell, the Exchange Management Console is built on top of the Windows PowerShell. This means that the tasks in the Exchange Management Console use the same cmdlets as those available in the Exchange Management Shell. For more info about the Exchange Management Shell, see Using the Exchange Management Shell.

  • Great mileage   In Exchange 2000 Server and Exchange Server 2003, some tasks required you to jump back and forth between Exchange System Manager and Active Directory Users and Computers. However, in Exchange 2007, these tasks are unified and can be performed solely the Exchange Management Console. For example, in Exchange 2003, if you wanted to increase a user's mailbox size, you would have to use both Exchange System Manager and Active Directory Users and Computers to complete the task. It's worth clarifying that you will still use Active Directory Users and Computers to perform specific Active Directory tasks—it's the Exchange-specific extensions that are now managed in the Exchange Management Console.

  • Zero to sixty in no time   It's not going to take you a lot of time to get up to speed. Each of the nodes in the console maps directly to the type of data that you will use to manage your Exchange organization. It's intuitive and efficient. For more information about how to use the Exchange Management Console, see Using the Exchange Management Console.

OK, time to take a closer look at the console.

Sporty Exterior

The "exterior" of the Exchange Management Console is divided into four work areas, which aren't that different from Exchange System Manager. The biggest difference is the action pane, which is basically an extension of the right-click menu.

MMC 3.0 Screen Shot

Work area Description

Console tree

The console tree is located on the left side of the console and is organized by nodes that are based on the server roles you have installed. What are server roles? They're perhaps one of the most exciting features within Exchange 2007. To learn more about server roles, check out Server Role Roadmap. These server role-based nodes in the console tree are described in greater detail later in this article.

Work pane

The work pane is located at the bottom of the result pane. This pane displays objects based on the server role that is selected in the Server Configuration node.


The work pane is available only when you select objects under the Server Configuration node, such as Mailbox or Client Access.

Result pane

The result pane is located in the center of the console. This pane contains various tabs that display objects based on the node that is selected in the console tree.

In addition, you can filter the results pane and specify which filer to save as the default. For more information, see How to Filter the Result Pane in the Exchange Management Console.

Action pane

The action pane is located on the right side of the console. This pane allows you to see all of the actions available to an object without having to right-click. I know that some of you just love to right-click, so don't panic—the right-click menu is still available. In fact, if you are an avid right-clicker, you can turn off the action pane to save space. For more information, see How to Customize the Exchange Management Console.

Luxurious Interior

As always, the console tree is organized into nodes and sub-nodes. However, one of the first improvements you'll notice is how deep the nodes can be expanded. In Exchange System Manager, the nodes in the console tree could be expanded up to 8 or more levels. Not anymore. The nodes in the Exchange Management Console are only 3 levels deep. This improves navigation significantly and makes it very easy to discover all of the configuration data for a particular server role.

Here's a more detailed description of the nodes in the console.

Node Description

Microsoft Exchange

Click the Microsoft Exchange node to view the Finalize Deployment and End-to-End Scenarios tabs. These tabs will help you complete the required and optional configuration tasks for the server roles you deployed. For detailed information about the these tabs, see the following topics:

Organization Configuration

Use the Organization Configuration node to configure global and system-wide configuration data for your Exchange 2007 organization. This data applies to all servers that have a specific server role installed. These server roles are listed under the Organization Configuration node. For example, you can manage your organization's offline address book (OAB) from the Mailbox node and e-mail address policies from the Hub Transport node.

For more information about using the Organization Configuration node, see Using the Organization Configuration Node.

Server Configuration

Use the Server Configuration node to configure your Exchange 2007 servers and their components (such as databases, protocols, and messaging records management).

For more information about using the Server Configuration node, see Using the Server Configuration Node.

Recipient Configuration

Use the Recipient Configuration node to manage the recipients in your Exchange 2007 organization. For example, you can manage your Exchange mailboxes, mail users, mail contacts, and distribution groups.

For more information about using the Recipient Configuration node, see Using the Recipient Configuration Node.

Edge Transport

The Edge Transport node is visible only from a computer that has the Edge Transport server role installed. (The Edge Transport server role is deployed in your organization's perimeter network as a stand-alone server and cannot be installed with other server roles.)

Use the Edge Transport node to manage your organization's perimeter network. Edge Transport servers handle all Internet-facing mail flow, providing protection against spam and viruses. For more information about using the Edge Transport node, see Using the Edge Transport Node.


Looking for a few bells and whistles to enhance your ride? Well, the Exchange Management Console includes some cool features that will help you get to your destination quickly and safely.


We wouldn't let you leave the show room floor without providing you with the tools to keep your Exchange 2007 organization running smoothly. Over the years, we've released tools for Exchange Server and made them available for download from a Web site (for example, from Microsoft Tools for Exchange Server 2003). Well, now our most popular and useful tools are available in the Exchange Management Console. The Toolbox node in the console tree contains the following tools. Just double-click the tool name to get started:

  • Exchange Server Best Practices Analyzer

  • Database Recovery Management

  • Database Troubleshooter

  • Mail Flow Troubleshooter

  • Message Tracking

  • Queue Viewer

  • Performance Monitor

  • Performance Troubleshooter

For more information about these tools, see Using the Toolbox. For information about additional tools to be released for Exchange 2007, see What's New with Tools in Exchange 2007.

Cruise Control

Let our wizards do the driving for you. As in previous version of Exchange, our wizards are there to walk you through many administrative tasks. However, the wizards in Exchange 2007 will guide you in style and also show you what's going on under the hood.

The Visual Effects setting (available by clicking View in the action pane) controls how Exchange wizards display by enabling the cool Exchange 2007 "skin" that is applied to the wizards. This effect is enabled by default. However, if you prefer the classic look within the console, you can always turn off these effects.

Remember when I mentioned that the Exchange Management Console is build on top of Windows PowerShell? Well, on the Completion page of each wizard, you can see exactly how this works. To complete its task, every wizard runs one or more Exchange Management Shell commands. You can press CTRL+C to copy the command to the Clipboard and then paste it into the command line of the Exchange Management Shell. You can use these commands as an example of the required syntax or you can alter it to meet your needs while learning PowerShell scripting.

Wizard completion page

Roadside Assistance

If you need assistance, use the Help. People tend to not use Help, because…well, sometimes Help is not very helpful. In Exchange 2007, the content in the Help file is very rich and very detailed. In fact, it's the most complete set of documentation that's ever been released with Exchange. (After all, I'm one of the tech writers, so I should know.) For more information, see How to Use Exchange Documentation.

Furthermore, the Help content within the Exchange Management Console won't get stale. In previous versions of Exchange, the in-product Help file did not contain the same rich content you'd find on the Web. Furthermore, the content in that file was static and would not be updated until the next Service Pack was released. In Exchange 2007, the Help content you'll find in the Exchange Management Console is the same content that you'll find online at the Exchange Server TechCenter. All you have to do to ensure that your in-product Help file is in sync with the most current online Help content is to download the Help file from the Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Help Web site.

And, of course, we always want to know how we're doing. Your feedback helps us help you. Take a look at the following screen capture. Notice at the bottom of the Help window, there is a documentation feedback section.

Help screen capture with feedback

If the article was helpful, let us know. You can even tell us what you liked about it by using the comments field. If the topic wasn't helpful, definitely let us know. But if you don't find it helpful, please tell us why, what's missing, etc. We take the feedback very seriously. By the way, the feedback tool is also available online at the bottom of the Exchange Server 2007 technical documentation Web pages.

Driver's Education

Want to learn more about the Exchange Management Console before you take it for a spin? Listen to what the experts are saying. Check out the following Microsoft Exchange Team blogs:

0f7a70fa-710d-4818-bd8b-1faeafb9cf03 Andrea Fowler - Technical Writer, Microsoft Exchange Server