Guidelines for Creating Query-Based Distribution Groups


Use the following guidelines when you create query-based distribution groups:

  • Use query-based distribution groups in an Exchange 2003-only environment, or a native mode environment with Exchange 2003 and Exchange 2000 in which all Exchange 2000 servers are running Service Pack 3 or later.

  • Use universal groups in multi-domain environments when you create distribution groups that span domains. Although query-based distribution groups can be added to global distribution groups, domain local groups, and global security groups, and can contain any of these groups, membership in these types of groups is not replicated to global catalog servers in other domains. Universal distribution groups are recommended in situations where distribution will span a multi-domain environment.

    • When you combine query-based distribution groups in an aggregate group, combine them in a universal group. Only universal groups are available on global catalog servers across domains.

    • When you build query-based distribution groups, include only universal groups if the membership is to be available in all the domains in a multi-domain environment.

  • Index the attributes that you use in the query. Indexing greatly improves the performance of the query, and it reduces the time that Exchange requires to expand the distribution group and deliver the e-mail message to the intended recipients.

  • If the filter string contains incorrect formatting or incorrect LDAP syntax, the global catalog server will not run the query. Using Active Directory Users and Computers to create your query can help prevent you from constructing an incorrect query. You can also use the Preview button to view the result of the query. This will confirm the validity and expected results of the query. If you create a query-based distribution group based on an incorrect LDAP query, when a user sends mail to the query-based distribution group, the user receives a non-delivery report (NDR) with the code 5.2.4. If you enable categorizer logging, Exchange logs one of two events with event identifiers of 6024 or 6025.

  • If the filter string is well-formatted, but produces no results, the sender will not receive an NDR. This is the same outcome that occurs if you send to an empty distribution group. As previously stated, use the Preview button in Active Directory Users and Computers to confirm the expected results of your query.

  • Use Exchange System Manager in a security context where its permissions for reading objects in Active Directory are the same as those of the Exchange server. Exchange System Manager runs in the security context of the user who is currently logged on. If an administrator is running with lower security privileges than the Exchange server, the query might show a subset of the actual results in the preview pane. The preview pane will show only those Active Directory objects that the administrator has permissions to read. When mail is sent to the query-based distribution groups, however, the categorizer will run with the Exchange server permissions. Assuming the Exchange server has permissions for all the objects in the query, the query will return the correct results.

There will be issues when a base distinguished name is deleted. Query-based distribution expansion relies on its base distinguished name referring to a valid container in the directory. If the base distinguished name container for a query-based distribution group is deleted, the categorizer cannot run the query, and the sender receives an NDR with the code 5.2.4. If categorizer logging is enabled, an event ID of 6024 or 6025 is logged. For example, you create a sales container in the users container for all sales employees and build a query-based distribution group using the sales container. If you delete the sales container, the query will no longer work.