4 Different Types of Objects in Exchange Server (Part II)

In part 1 we have seen about the user mailbox object and in this article we are going to look into other objects in detail that are available in Exchange system.


Apart from the generic mailboxes and objects, there are other useful and interesting objects in Exchange. Some of them are used in a daily basis. Learning about these objects are essential to manage and administration of Exchange server. Let’s discuss about these objects.


Public Folder:  Public folders are part of Exchange systems, it is used to store emails and data. As the name specifies it is public to everyone and also can be restricted with permissions. If anyone wanted to send same email to multiple people, then they can store that email in the public folders and let the other users to access that specific folder. We can see in detail about the procedure to create the public folder database and how to access it in our upcoming article.

Until 2010, Public Folder had a separate database to store data, but this concept is discontinued in Exchange 2013 and followed Public Folder Mailbox. The first created Public Folder Mailbox is the primary mailbox and contains all the Public Folder Hierarchy and permissions.

Site Mailbox:  This is first introduced in Exchange 2013. It is mainly used for SharePoint purposes. SharePoint is one of the latest technology that allows single platform to act as website, content storage, information sharing etc., hence a mailbox can be assigned to it which is called as Site Mailbox. Users can send documents as email to this mailbox and it can be stored and shared in SharePoint sites. The Site Mailbox of a SharePoint site can be configured in Outlook to access the data. In order to access it we need Outlook 2013 or above


Mail Contact: Mail Contacts used for the purpose of displaying external email address in the Global Address List (GAL) and to add them in Distribution Groups. For example, when a new external vendor like a caterer or cab has been appointed in the company and his email address might be out of your active directory and Exchange environment. We can create a mail contact with his external email address. This contact would be shown up in GAL and it can be added to relevant Distribution List (DL) so that his external mailbox will also receive emails that was sent to the DL.Mail Contact

Mail User: Mail user is an Active Directory object. As the name denotes, it is a user account but it does not have an in-house mailbox. They have user ID and password, these objects are created for the purpose of providing access to the in-house resources like Computers, printers etc. But it can hold an external email address. Similar to mail contact, this email address also show up in GAL and can be added to Distribution Groups.Mail User

System Mailbox

Arbitration Mailbox: Arbitration Mailbox is one of the system mailbox, which is used for Approval mechanism and work flow. These mailboxes are used for moderated recipients such as Distribution Groups, Transport rules etc., mails sent to these objects will be sent for approval to the respective owners. Until the Owner approves/rejects those emails, it will be temporarily stored in those arbitration mailboxes. Apart from this there are other process that are handled by Arbitration Mailboxes like federation, migration etc. These mailboxes have been constantly improved from Exchange 2010. It is a vast topic and will be discussing in detail in a separate chapter.

Discovery Mailbox: Discovery mailboxes are hidden mailbox. It is used for Compliance and legal purpose.

eDiscovery Search: When the legal team or someone needs to perform a search through companywide or on a particular mailbox for a specific email or data, it is called as eDiscovery Search. This similar to an orphaned Exchange OST file recovery, however performing directly from the server.

All the results of the eDiscovery search will be stored in Discovery mailbox.  Compliance and eDiscovery requires special permissions to be given to user. We will be discussing this topic separately in detail.


Exploring these objects will be really helpful for you in order to manage the system more efficiently. As I said before system mailbox is a vast concept and we will look into it deeply in our upcoming articles in this series. Until then stay tuned 🙂

Author Introduction:

Sophia Mao is a data recovery expert in DataNumen, Inc., which is the world leader in data recovery technologies, including repair pst problem and word recovery software products. For more information visit www.datanumen.com

One response to “4 Different Types of Objects in Exchange Server (Part II)”

  1. Will definitely check out your next post about this. I’m just starting to explore the wonders of these objects in order to boost my efficient by a ton. XD

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