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A Look at Exchange Server 2013 Resource Mailboxes

Resource mailboxes have been around for a few versions of Exchange Server, and Exchange Server 2013 brings us a few improvements in how they are managed.

There are two types of resource mailboxes:

  • Room mailboxes are for fixed locations such as meeting rooms or conference facilities
  • Equipment mailboxes are for items that are not fixed to a location, such as laptops or vehicles

Exchange 2013 puts resource mailboxes under their own section of the Exchange Administration Center. Both room and equipment mailboxes are managed in this same section.

One of the immediate improvements is that you are able to set the booking policy or assign delegates during the creation of the resource mailbox, rather than as a secondary task after the mailbox is created.

After the mailbox has been created there are a few additional properties you can customize. The booking options can be further tuned with regards to recurring meetings, booking horizon, and custom replies.

You can also easily configure a MailTip for the resource mailbox.

The text that you place in the MailTip will appear automatically when people add the room or resource mailbox to a meeting request in Outlook. Although in my opinion the MailTip needs some color to draw the person’s attention to it.

Finally, an interesting default setting is the disabling of email address policies. This does make sense as most resource mailboxes are for internal use only, so having email address policies assigning multiple SMTP addresses to resource mailboxes is usually not necessary.

Overall it appears that room and resource mailboxes are a feature that has matured over the previous versions of Exchange Server and now receive just a few minor improvements to make them simpler to manage.

Paul is a Microsoft MVP for Office Servers and Services. He works as a consultant, writer, and trainer specializing in Office 365 and Exchange Server. Paul is a co-author of Office 365 for IT Pros and several other books, and is also a Pluralsight author.
Category: Exchange Server

102 comments

  1. David Smith says:

    Good article, I am impressed with the progress that Microsoft are making with Room and Resource mailboxes. Coming from a company that used an expensive third party room booking solution, that they hardly use 60% of its full feature set, I can really see that this would potentially be viewed as a possible replacement. The only issue I forsee is that the orgs users use a wide variety of Outlook clients so possibly could be a problem? Or would they have to use OWA?

    Agree with the point about a bit of colour required on the Mail Tip. An org’s users would need something to catch their eye.

    • ME says:

      Say what you will, but Lotus Notes and Domino has had these features for years. It’s a far more manageable and cost effective resource management system, even if the mail template has less user options then Outlook.

      • Mike Richter says:

        Have been managing Lotus and Domino for 10+ years, and Rooms and resources feature in domino is terrible.. We have 1000’s of rooms that we manage and its the most difficult thing to maintain. Exchange does it a lot better, each room is its own mailbox and managed properly..

  2. Jeff says:

    Have there been any improvements in the following two shortcomings of booking meetings with Exchange:
    – Meetings set as Free to a resource allow double-bookings (could be avoided if there was a way to set a rule to deny these meeting requests).
    – If the resource is unavailable, the appointment on the client can still be sent to all the recipients. Ideally this would be stopped before it gets sent altogether, like Direct Booking in Exchange 2003.

  3. Yama says:

    Is there any option in exchange to make this possible?

    It concerns the via Outlook directly reserve a meeting room, coffee, beamer etc. in such a way that looks or the space actually available and then is secured. The person who reserves also gets a message. Also ushers in a certain way to see what is going on in the Chamber is needed resources.

  4. Angus says:

    I notice there is an option for “Custom” rooms in the Room List. Is this configurable client-side? If so I’m not finding how to. This would be a great feature so I can create my own room lists if they have not been set up on the server.

  5. shaptoni says:

    HI Paul
    I am migrating from 2007 and have just introduced 2013.
    I can view mailboxes, groups and contacts but when I try and view one of the resources I see the error:
    Cannot open mailbox /o=Company/ou=Exchange Administrative Group (FYDIBOHF23SPDLT)/cn=Configuration/cn=Servers/cn=2007MBXServer/cn=Microsoft System Attendant.
    Presumably resources are particular and require migration to 2013 before they can be viewed?
    Thanks

      • shaptoni says:

        Sorry, in the EAC
        I can view their properties in the 2013 EAC (mailboxes not yet migrated, DL’s also not upgraded)
        I receive the error when I try to read the properties of the resource mailboxes in the 2013 EAC

        • During co-existence you should manage an object with the matching version of the management tools. Eg a 2007 mailbox should be administered with the 2007 EMC.

          The exception of course is when you do the mailbox move, that is done with the 2013 tools in your case.

  6. shaptoni says:

    Thanks Paul, and that is very true. I have noticed strange output in the 2013 shell viewing 2007

    FYI after migrating a room I could modify the object but was still experiencing the error
    I noticed that Booking delegates lists “Use customized setting to accept or decline booking requests”
    After I changed the option to: Accept or decline booking requests automatically, the “Use customized…” option disappeared and so did the error

  7. nodorina says:

    Hi,

    Does Shared mailbox still exist in Exchange 2013?

    If we migrate ‘shared’ mailbox type from Exchange 2010 to Exchange 2013, will it stay as ‘shared’ mailbox?

    Thanks

  8. Tim O'Connor says:

    Hi Paul,

    I’ve just completed a migration from Exchange 2003, through Exchange 2010, to Exchange 2013. I noticed just today that mailboxes that had been resources in Ex2003 are now allowing double-booking. In Exchange Administration Center some show up in the Mailboxes section and others in the Shared section – none in the Resources section.
    Using the shell I tried to change some to resources (Set-Mailbox MarketingDept1 -Type Room). Shell now tells me that they are indeed rooms (Get-Mailbox -Identity MarketingDept1 | Format-List RecipientTypeDetails) but they haven’t moved in Administration Center and when I edit them I don’t see the booking options, etc.
    How should I be converting these old Ex2003 resources to Ex2013 resources?

    Thanks, Tim

  9. Lisa says:

    We’re having a strange issue with our resources. We finished our migration from exchange 2007 to exchange 2013. We do not use public folders so we did not do anything with migrating public folders.

    We stopped all services on the exchange 2007 servers because migration was done. As soon as we did this conference room resources no longer worked (error: can directly book this room). Once we mounted the 2007 public folder database the resources worked correctly.

    What did we miss? Any help is appreciated. Does 2013 resources still use the public folder system folder?

  10. Phil Ready says:

    Hi Paul
    Great article (like all of yours), keep it up.

    I have a question on allowing conflicts for recurring meetings.
    If I AllowConflicts $True, single and recurring meetings are double booked. I thought Double booking are never allowed, no matter what the setting and that these settings just apply to recurring meetings, by deciding how many conflicts there are before rejecting the lot.
    My present settings are:
    AllowRecurringMeetings $True
    AllowConflicts $False
    ConflictPercentageAllowed 20
    MaximumConflictInstances 0

    If there is 1 conflict, all meetings are declined.
    Is there another setting I need somewhere?
    Thanks

    • MaximumConflictInstances 0 means no conflicts are allowed for new recurring meetings.

      AllowConflicts $True means the other conflict settings (percentage and max instances) are ignored. So this would override the setting above.

      If you want to allow *some* conflicts set AllowConflicts to $false and use the ConflictPercentageAllowed and MaximumConflictInstances values to control how much conflict you’re willing to allow.

        • Phil Ready says:

          Hi Paul. The article states that conflicts will always be declined and that AllowConflicts:$True will bi-pass the Max conflicts and %.
          Whereas I have found AllowConflicts:$True allows conflicts outright and all bookings are accepted and double bookings result.
          Plus When AllowConflicts:$False, ConflictPercentageAllowed 20 and MaximumConflictInstances 0, any conflict with recurring meeting will result in a total decline. It works if I set MaximumConflictInstances 3 (or anything other than 0)
          This concurs with you reply on July 1, but is contrary to the TechNet article text and flowchart.

  11. Mark Cummings says:

    We recently upgraded to Exchange 2013, and several of my users have been setup as rooms to ease with schedulers being able to book appointments for them as the auto accept features seem to work better for a room rather than a mailbox. It looks like I have had an unintended problem though that OWA does not work for a room. I do not see any options for it under the resources options and I have not found anything about OWA and resources from searches other than how to manage resource settings through OWA. Any idea on how to OWA-enable a resource in Exchange 2013?

    Thanks

  12. Greg says:

    We are moving to an Exchange 2013 environment from Exchange 2007. We currently use a third-party room scheduling system and are moving away from that to the native room scheduling in Exchange/Outlook 2013. One thing I haven’t been able to figure out yet is how to include a picture of a resource. I can use the Set-UserPhoto command, but it only allows a tiny thumbnail. I’m looking to be able to show a full size picture of a room so a user can see the room layout. How can I do that?

    Thanks

  13. Steve says:

    In Exchange 2010 Resource Room Mailboxes I could add resource custom properties, such as Whiteboard, TV, DVD, WebAccess, Multidirection Speaker phone. In other words, I could show room amenities while I selected a conference room. I cannot figure how to do this in Exchange 2013 Resource Room Mailboxes.

    BTW, these items are not considered check-out worthy and only come with the room.

    Thanks for any input.

  14. Jay says:

    My users would like to have an admin e-mailed a copy of the reservation anytime a new one is made. Is there a way to do this? No rules options for resource rooms, and don’t want to enable a booking attendant. Thanks!

  15. Dan Hicks says:

    Hi Paul nice article,

    I have the following issue with an Exchange 2013 environment set up with a cross forest organization running Exchange 2010.
    When a migrated and linked account on the EX13 side creates an event adding a room resource and/or person on the Ex10 side, when the person Ex10 person or resource accepts a second entry is created on the event under the category ‘optional’.
    Any thoughts on it? Thanks

  16. Barzinje says:

    Hi Paul

    Thank you for nice article..
    When I send a reservation to a romm, I get confirmation by e-mail, but I get the same deal on my calendar as well. How can I avoid getting this deal on my calendar (I want only on resource)?

    br
    Barzinje

  17. Barzinje says:

    Sorry, When I send a reservation to a romm, from my Outlook calender, the same appointment (reservation) appeared on my Outlook also .

  18. Shannon says:

    We are currently running in a 2010/2013 on premise coexistence environment. We have noticed that our In-Policy permission are not showing up in the 2013 EAC under Booking Delegates, this section is blank, where is 2010 we have specified certain users to only be able to book these resources. How do you migrate these permissions to the 2013 environment?

    • Shannon says:

      Please ignore the Booking Delegates part of my question, but how do we migrate the In-Policy permissions from 2010 to 2013?

    • During a co-existence you should manage the mailbox with the version of the tools that match the version of the server it is hosted on.

      There’s no special steps that I know of to migrate the permissions and other configurations of the room mailbox. Just migrate the mailbox to the new server and it should continue working as before.

      Do it with a test mailbox first if you want to be sure.

      • Shannon says:

        We have migrated all of resources to Exchange 2013 now, and the resources that have specific users set as delegates, now show up with the option “Use customized setting to accept or decline booking requests” select and we are unable to see who has this access. If we select “Select delegates who can accept or decline booking requests” there are no names listed. How can we get this setting to show up correctly in Exchange 2013 as it does in 2010?

  19. Ingo G. says:

    Hi Paul,
    we are running an Exchange 2013 Environment and have several roomresources. not even everyone should have the right to book every room.
    how do I restrict the permission for certain Groups to book certain rooms?

    • Sur says:

      HI Paul,

      we have the same issue, where everyone has access to the room resources in Exchange 2013. How do we set permissions per user for these room resources so that certain groups are restricted from booking? or set the following permissions per user: (reviewer, author, editor)

  20. Kristian says:

    Thanks for your informative article.
    I have a question about “pools”. Is there a way to create a resource pool in Exchange 2013? This would be great for car pools, where you just want to book a car, and any available car would be booked? I’ve read through all the comments and seen that someone allowed conflicts, and I see that it would be possible to allow 4 conflicts if there were 4 cars for example. But then it would be really hard to administer since noone knew which person should have which car. Could it maybe be done with delegation? or is there a really smooth way to do this that I havent found yet?

    I am trying to squeeze as much power out of Exchange as possible here 😉

    Thanks!

  21. Kathie says:

    Thank you for this article. Is there a way to add a colour to each room resource e.g. allocate a colour to each room to represent the room’s location/campus? Although we incorporate the location within the name of the room, our admin assistants would like them colour coded as an easy visual aid. Thanks for your assistance!

    • Last time I checked any colours assigned to different calendars were a user setting in Outlook that only applied to that person’s view, not everyone who looks at the same calendar.

  22. Aris says:

    Hi Paul,

    I have problem with booking meeting room, the problem is there is no notification for each user, what happen with my configuration in exchange 2013?

  23. Flip says:

    Hi Paul,

    We are running Exchange 2013. When creating new room or equipment mailbox in ECP we get an error:

    “Cannot open mailbox /o=MyDomain/ou=Exchange Administrative Group (FYDIBOHF23SPDLT)/cn=Configuration/cn=Servers/cn=EX01/cn=Microsoft System Attendant”

    This only happens in the Resource section. Is this normal behavior and would you happen to know why this is happening?

  24. EMAD says:

    Great Article,

    We’re running Exchange 2013. Sometimes, Two users book the same room at the same time & they both receive the acceptances email. It doesn’t decline the conflict meeting.

    what could cause that issue ?

    Regards.

  25. George says:

    Hi Paul

    Great article. I have a question about showing an address from the location field. When a user creates a meeting and selects the room from the “rooms list” it puts the name of the room in. Is there a way to show the full address that I have typed in the Location field of the room object in ECP? My management is asking me to rename the rooms but I want to find a different way to show the address so any potential or existing external customers know where our office is. We have multiple locations.

    Thanks

  26. Dug says:

    When some room mailboxes are migrated to Office 365, the booking delegates setting is set to “Use customized setting to accept or decline booking requests” which has caused some issues with overbooking appointments, no notifications sent to users etc…. Would you know what customized setting it could be referring to that sets this option?

  27. hendra says:

    Hello Paul,

    I got a problem after migrate the resource room from exc2k7 to exc2k13..the problem is when we set the schedule for a meeting, the schedule always changed the interval time booked room after 15 minutes for every each room.

    for ex:
    – we set the schedule meeting for a resource room from 1 PM – 2 PM, after 15 minutes the resource room meeting will be change automatically the schedule to be 1 PM – 1.16 PM..so the room calendar will be available for used.

    could you help give me the clues for solution?

  28. Chris says:

    G’day Paul. We’ve got existing rooms in the old public folders. We’re running hybrid right now, so we can see the rooms if we search. I’m trying to set up the rooms via the new Admin center (very nice it is too!). Is this a migration task via PS? Or can we add them in another way?

  29. SPatel says:

    Paul, great article, very useful information. What would be a good way to create a shared calendar that users could invite when they setup appointments? For e.g. a company wide calendar that is mainly used for events such as All staff meetings etc. This shared calendar would always be Free and should allow for double bookings as well, as it’s just a placeholder. Also, would like to publish this shared calendar to the Intranet. My thinking was to create a fake user and setup the Calendar properties to Always Accept. Any better suggestions? Thanks in advance!

  30. Rich says:

    I’m struggling with an issue where a room seems to have accepted a double-booking. The second person who booked the room did get declines for some conflicting instances, but not all, and the free/busy for the room mailbox shows both meetings. We are running both Exchange 2007 and 2013, but all room mailboxes were created in 2013. Any ideas?

    [PS] C:\>Get-CalendarProcessing on2m | fl
    RunspaceId : c992b7f3-0ef7-4713-887e-ab562f58c3a9
    AutomateProcessing : AutoAccept
    AllowConflicts : False
    BookingWindowInDays : 1080
    MaximumDurationInMinutes : 0
    AllowRecurringMeetings : True
    EnforceSchedulingHorizon : False
    ScheduleOnlyDuringWorkHours : False
    ConflictPercentageAllowed : 50
    MaximumConflictInstances : 100
    ForwardRequestsToDelegates : True
    DeleteAttachments : True
    DeleteComments : True
    RemovePrivateProperty : True
    DeleteSubject : True
    AddOrganizerToSubject : True
    DeleteNonCalendarItems : True
    TentativePendingApproval : True
    EnableResponseDetails : True
    OrganizerInfo : True
    ResourceDelegates : {}
    RequestOutOfPolicy : {}
    AllRequestOutOfPolicy : False
    BookInPolicy : {}
    AllBookInPolicy : True
    RequestInPolicy : {}
    AllRequestInPolicy : False
    AddAdditionalResponse : True
    AdditionalResponse : xxx
    RemoveOldMeetingMessages : True
    AddNewRequestsTentatively : True
    ProcessExternalMeetingMessages : False
    RemoveForwardedMeetingNotifications : False
    MailboxOwnerId : frna.com/Users/on2M
    Identity : xxx/on2M
    IsValid : True
    ObjectState : Changed

  31. sam_in says:

    Hi Paul,

    Scenario is, when the user boo one of the equipment, it needs to send another mailbox ( with the schedule and the requester) to another mailbox (this is the shared mailbox for one group), the group will get the info and make the equipment ready when the requester to ask for that equipment.

    Hope this explains. can it be possible in exchange 2013?

    • There’s nothing native in the calendar processing for that. You might be able to use a transport rule that triggers when the acceptance is sent by that mailbox. Otherwise it would need to be an EWS script or a custom room management system that integrates with Exchange.

  32. sam_in says:

    We still want to use auto acceptance for that equipment mailbox and planning to forward that schedule and requester information to the another mailbox.

  33. Wilson says:

    Hi Paul, I’m running Exchange 2013 and Outlook 2013/2016.
    When I create equipment resource for my conference line, GoToMeeting, Laptops, etc. in Exchange, I cant see them in the Scheduling Assistant in Outlook. I would have to create all of my resources as rooms to show up in scheduling or contact list. is this normal or am I doing something wrong?
    Thank you.

    • They will show up in the GAL (assuming the GAL hasn’t been modified to hide them) but you might need to wait for your Outlook client to get an updated offline address book first.

      You can test it in OWA if you can’t wait for the OAB to update.

  34. sam_in says:

    Hi Paul,

    We have equipment mailboxes we are thinking to users can book the equipment but it should not be updated in user’s calendar. why we are thinking is, some user is booking equipment for more than 2 weeks, the user calendar shows 2 weeks busy.

    Is there a way in exchange 2013 server to configure when user book the equipment it should be updated in equipment mailbox calendar but not in user calendar?

  35. Pack The Ripper says:

    Hi Paul

    When publishing a resource mailbox calendar to our external clients, they can view the diary but are unable to add appointments, despite Default and Anonymous having Pub Editor rights. Any ideas? Would a regular mailbox work better in this case than a resource?

  36. Olusesan says:

    Hello Paul,
    My resource mailbox stops sending notifications to users, this has caused lots of clashes between different. It has been sending before but suddenly stops.

    Please any head way?

  37. Desmond says:

    Hi Paul,

    I’m an IT administrator and I would like to create a few equipment mailboxes for loaner laptops. How can I configure automated email reminders for both the borrower and myself so as to ensure the laptop is returned on time?

  38. Saura says:

    Hi Paul,

    Would there be a way to forward the emails received by a Resource mailbox to another mailbox? I am trying to check this option in Exchange 2013. In Exchange 2007, I could see Delivery Option under mailbox properties but not in Exchange 2013, for Resource mailbox.

    I am aware that we could easily set a rule in Outlook for mail forwarding. But I tried it as well by taking the ownership of the Resource mailbox. It just does not work. Any help would be really great.

    Thanks,
    Saura

      • Saura says:

        Thanks for reply. We got users at Director level who do not want to check multiple mailboxes and want the emails to get forwarded. So, they have asked to set a rule for auto-forward of emails to their mailboxes and the original mail resides in the Resource mailbox. I could do that with Exchange 2007 Delivery Options. But, I am unable to see that in Exchange 2013.

        Regards,
        Saura

          • Saura says:

            OK, there is a mailbox for themselves and then other shared mailbox for the team and another shared mailbox for business reports etc etc. This is how the setup is. So, the additional mailboxes are configured in Outlook in the normal way.

            Mailboxes shows below each other. But, people need to expand the mailboxes to see the folders and then the sub-folders. It sometimes becomes confusing with multiple mailboxes and lot of scrolling up and down. Hence, I think the request was made for an auto-forward of the mails. So, all the information can be seen in the same mailbox and no more scrolling up and down.

            Hope, I am making sense.

            Regards,
            Saura

          • Why not just add the important folders to their Outlook favorites, so they can easily see and access them when needed?

            It makes no sense to me to have all those separate mailboxes if all you’re going to do is forward emails into their inboxes anyway.

  39. Ferdinand Navarro says:

    Good write up. Plain and simple in setting up a resource.

    We recently migrated from Exchange 2007 to Exchange 2013. With that, I had the task of migrating calendars from Public Folders to Calendars in the Resources tab. Fairly simple.

    A user mentioned to me that in Public Folders, an organizer would create a “New Appointment” and invite Attendees and when they responded, the organizer would receive an email of their response. This doesn’t seem to occur in Resource Calendars. Is there a configuration that allows responses back to an organizer? (The organizer is not attending the meeting)

  40. Saura says:

    Hi Paul,

    Totally understand your question. But, it is what it is. I am just trying to figure a way. I got a PS command to get it done. So, just sharing it here. It may benefit someone.

    Set-Mailbox -Identity “fromMailbox” -DeliverToMailboxAndForward $true -ForwardingSMTPAddress “recepientMailBox”

    Thanks,
    Saura Tripathy

  41. MattZ says:

    Hi Paul,
    We run Exchange 2010 and have about 8 RoomMailboxes setup. Management is for staff at the Hospitality desk only, so Delegation is set. (No other users making any bookings directly) The Desk would like to use standardized (color)categories to manage the status or use of the rooms a bit better and provide some visual aid when multiple calendars are opened in Outlook. We need 5-8 categories of color and name. Currently they use colors, but cannot rename the tags or labels on the boxes themselves.
    Currently I have an permission or rights issue: Even if I set the ‘Full-Access permission’ on the box the staff is unable to rename existing Categories in the boxes. Creating a new seems possible, but we would like to use the existing cat’s on the calendar items. We have about 2 years worth of scheduled appointments both future and history that we want to keep. Do you have any advise on the minimum rights required to make changes to the labels?

    thank you in advance!
    This Q&A-list really helps in finding clever ways to use Exchange!

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