Understanding E-Mail Address Policies

Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 will reach end of support on April 11, 2017. To stay supported, you will need to upgrade. For more information, see Resources to help you upgrade your Office 2007 servers and clients.


Applies to: Exchange Server 2007, Exchange Server 2007 SP1, Exchange Server 2007 SP2, Exchange Server 2007 SP3

In Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, recipients (which include users, resources, contacts, and groups) are any mail-enabled object in the Active Directory directory service to which Exchange can deliver or route messages. For a recipient to send or receive e-mail messages, the recipient must have an e-mail address. E-mail address policies generate the primary and secondary e-mail addresses for your recipients so they can receive and send e-mail.

By default, Exchange contains an e-mail address policy for every mail-enabled user. This default policy specifies the recipient's alias as the local part of the e-mail address and uses the default accepted domain. The local part of an e-mail address is the name that appears before the at sign (@). However, you can change how your recipients' e-mail addresses will display. For example, you can specify that your recipients' e-mail addresses display as firstname.lastname@contoso.com.

Furthermore, if you want to specify additional e-mail addresses for all recipients or just a subset, you can modify the default policy or create additional policies. For example, Figure 1 illustrates a configuration in which the recipient David Hamilton can receive e-mail messages that are addressed to hdavid@mail.contoso.com and hamilton.david@mail.contoso.com.

email address policy property page

Improvements in Exchange 2007

Exchange Server 2003 used recipient policies to generate e-mail addresses for recipients in the organization. However, after the e-mail address policy was created, it was applied only to new recipients in the organization. Therefore, to improve the management of e-mail address policies, Exchange 2007 applies the policy to all recipients that match the recipient filtering criteria.

The following are additional improvements that Exchange 2007 e-mail address policies provide over Exchange 2003 recipient policies:

  • In Exchange 2007, the recipient policy functionality is divided into two features: e-mail address policies and accepted domains.


    A detailed discussion about accepted domains is outside the scope of this topic. For information about accepted domains, see Managing Accepted Domains.

  • Exchange 2007 has eliminated the asynchronous behavior of the Exchange 2003 Recipient Update Service in favor of a more predictable, synchronous provisioning process. When you run the Update-EmailAddressPolicy cmdlet in the Exchange Management Shell, the recipient object is updated with the e-mail address policy. For detailed syntax and parameter information, see Update-EmailAddressPolicy.

  • In Exchange 2007, each time a recipient object is modified and saved, Exchange 2007 enforces the correct application of the e-mail address criteria and settings. When an e-mail address policy is modified and saved, all associated recipients are updated with the change. In addition, if a recipient object is modified, that recipient's e-mail address policy membership is re-evaluated and enforced.

For More Information

For information about managing e-mail address policies, see Managing E-Mail Address Policies.

For more information about accepted domains, see Managing Accepted Domains.