Working with Exchange System Manager


Exchange System Manager (Exchange System Manager.msc) is a specialized MMC console that helps you manage your Exchange organization. When you perform a typical installation of Exchange 2003 onto a server, the installation wizard automatically installs the Exchange System Management Tools onto that server, also.


Exchange Server 2003 does not run on 64-bit editions of Windows Server 2003.  Exchange Server 2003 management tools for remote administration can be installed on a computer running supported versions of Windows such as Windows Server 2003, or Windows Server 2000 Service Pack 4 (SP4).  Exchange Server 2003 management tools cannot be installed on a computer running Windows Vista.

Exchange System Manager provides a consistent administrative experience for administrators who deal with all facets of Exchange server management, including public folders, servers, routing, and policies. For detailed instructions, see How to Open Exchange System Manager.

As shown in the following figure, the left pane of Exchange System Manager is the console tree.

Exchange System Manager hierarchy


The top node of this tree is the root organization node that contains all the Exchange containers. Each of these containers gives you access to specific administrative features in Exchange. The following table describes what you can do with each of these containers.

Exchange System Manager containers

Container Description

Global Settings

Includes features to configure system-wide settings. These settings apply to all servers and recipients in an Exchange organization.


Includes features to manage objects and settings for recipients in your organization. You can manage address lists, offline address lists, recipient update services, recipient policies, mailbox management settings, details templates, and address templates.

Administrative Groups

Includes features to manage administrative groups. Each group is a collection of Active Directory objects that are grouped together for permissions management. Each administrative group can contain policies, routing groups, public folder hierarchies, and servers.


This container only appears if you have created administrative groups for your organization.


Holds server-specific configuration objects, such as Queues, Mailbox stores, Public Folder stores, and Protocols information.

System Policies

Contains policies that affect the system's configuration settings. Policies are collections of configuration settings that are applied to one or more Exchange objects in Active Directory.

Routing Groups

Defines the physical network topology of Exchange servers. An Exchange mail system, or organization, includes one or more servers running Exchange. Unless you plan a small Exchange installation, you will probably have more than one Exchange server. In some organizations, these servers are connected by reliable, permanent connections. Groups of servers that are linked in this way should be organized in the same routing group.


This container only appears if you have created routing groups for your organization.


Displays public folder hierarchies. A public folder stores messages or information that can be shared with all designated users in your organization. Public folders can contain different types of information, from simple messages to multimedia clips and custom forms.


Contains tools that help you to monitor your Exchange organization, track messages, and recover mailboxes.

Using Exchange System Manager and its containers, you can:

  • Use Properties of the root node to configure Exchange 2003 to display or not display routing groups and administrative groups in the console tree.

  • Manage your Exchange organization by setting properties on different containers under the root node in the console tree. For example, you can delegate administrative permissions at the organization level in Exchange System Manager, or at an administrative group level using the Exchange Delegation Wizard.

  • Set permissions on a specific server by modifying the permissions settings in the server's Properties dialog box.