Adventures with SBS2008 part 2

It's been a few weeks since I last wrestled with Microsoft Small Business Server 2008; after installation I got the office network and systems connected up to the new domain pretty easily, courtesy of the friendly connectivity wizards provided by SBS2008.  My most recent challenge came in the guise of Public Folder management.

A public folder is basically a repository for information, and can be used to store messages, files (as message attachments), calendars or contacts. The idea behind a public folder is that if your organisation has information that everyone needs to access, it is sometimes easier to place that information in a public folder so that it is available through Outlook than to put it in a normal file share.  Public folders appear as folders just like your default Inbox or Calendar or Tasks in Outlook, and the email Public Folders, the type I'm using, can be mail enabled so that they have an email address that internal and external people can post to.  An example of my public folders are the "support" and "sales" public folders, which receive mail sent This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it respectively.  They are public as several staff need to be able to read and respond to these emails and they have access to them from within Outlook without having to configure additional email accounts on each machine, forward mail, or manage distribution groups.

I ran into difficulty due to an assumption I made about public folder management based on SBS2003.  I created several public folders on the server itself with an administrative account via  new tool in SBS2008, the Public Folder Management Console, accessible from Toolbox in the Exchange Management Console.I assumed that the creator of the folder would be the owner, and that any other administrative account would have full access to delete items within the folder in Outlook.  This is not the case.  Even after giving my administrative account the "Public Folder Administrator" role, it still couldn't delete items in the folders even though it could read them.

In order to give permissions to fully manage the items inthe folders (ie delete them) the only way is to use the new Exchange Shell (a bit like an old DOS prompt but for sending commands and configuration to the Exchange server) with the Add-PublicFolderClientPermission cmdlet and manually assign permissions for your users to the relevant folder.  More information on the command can be found here:

An example is:

Add-PublicFolderClientPermission -Identity "\My Public Folder" -User Chris -AccessRights CreateItems -Server "My Server"

In this example, permission is added for the user named Chris to create items in the public folder named My Public Folder on the server that is named My Server.

 In SBS2003, assigning these same permissions could be done on the server with a GUI by right clicking on the folder and choosing the security tab.  You could assign roles to individual users in a easy, friendly manner.  This doesn't exist at all in SBS2008.  The Exchange Shell replaces a lot of previous GUIs.  This is a loss for MS Small Business Server in my opinion, taking the focus of the product away from being easy to manage for a lay person, back to needing a technician to perform many changes.  Many people thought there would by now be a host of third party GUIs to sit on top the Exchange Shell but this hasn't happened.


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