At one point or another in your Exchange administration, you will run into a situation where you have a conference room that someone needs to keep a schedule of. Usually this is a receptionist, or an admin, and to avoid confusion, you must book the room through them.
In Exchange 2003, there was a bunch of ways to do this, but inevitable, I would always see some admin with 10 calendars in her mailbox, or in public folders trying to manage the rooms, and it get’s messy.
I was at a company where no one outside of the admin knew she was scheduling rooms like this, the company let her go and poof, all of the scheduling for the rooms went with it.
In Exchange 2007, there is a nice way to set up mailboxes for Conference Rooms or Equipment. They are called, um, well, Room and Equipment Mailboxes!!
There are a total of four different types of mailboxes in Exchange 2007. User Mailboxes, which are the normal type associated with a user. Room Mailboxes, which are associated with a conference room. Equipment Mailboxes, which are associated with mobile items like projectors, or laptops. The last type is Linked Mailboxes. These mailboxes are user mailboxes that are accessed by objects from a separate trusted forest.
We are focusing on Equipment and Room mailboxes, which generally do the same things. The first thing we want to do is create a room mailbox called “Conference Room 20th Floor”.
To do this, open the Exchange Management Console, Expand “Recipient Configuration”, select the Mailbox node, and select “New Mailbox”. From here, select the “Room Mailbox” option:
From here its just like creating a regular user.
Finish it out, and you have your mailbox! Notice the powershell code that would have performed the same action:
Now we have the mailbox. The first thing we should note is that the user account associated with the mailbox is disabled:
Now we need to assign some delegates to it. These will be the users responsible for managing the mailbox. In our case, we are going to assign the delegate permission to the user “Paul A. Ponzeka”. This has to be done through the Exchange Management Shell. It’s done by running the command, Set-MailboxCalendarSettings <NameofRoomMailbox> –ResourceDelegates <alias of delegate>.
In our case this would be Set-MailboxCalendarSettings ConferenceRoom20thFloor –ResourceDelegates pponzeka.
The command was accepted. (Thanks for all the pomp and circumstance Microsoft, Geez!)
Now, when we log on as Paul A. Ponzeka, we can open the Conference Room 20th Floor as a shared calendar. Notice, we have an appointment on December 10th:
Wait a second, what if I never checked? The meeting still has to be accepted. Well that’s annoying right? Let’s change that.
The setting you have to change is called Auto Accept. What this does is, when the resource mailbox receives a meeting request, it checks to see if the time marked is available. If it is, it accepts the request and sends a confirmation. If it isn’t, it declines the meeting and sends a cancellation. Again, this can only be set through the Exchange Management Shell. The command is Set-MailboxCalendarSettings <NameofRoomMailbox> –AutomateProcessing:AutoAccept. In our case this command would be Set-MailboxCalendarSettings ConferenceRoom20thFloor –AutomateProcessing:AutoAccept.
Again, big song and dance from Microsoft over the command being successful. Now if we send another meeting request. It will automatically send back the user an acceptance if the room is available!