In-Depth Understanding of Virtual Directories in Exchange Server

In this article, we are going to see the features and functionalities of Virtual Directories of Exchange servers in detail.

Introduction:

Virtual Directories in Microsoft Exchange is used for applications and other clients that use web based services. For instance, services like ActiveSync, Outlook Web App etc., are some of the in-built features that uses Virtual Directories. They are mainly used by Internet Information services (IIS) for establishing access with the Exchange’s Web applications and mailboxes. Virtual Directories are so robust, that we can manage a variety of settings like Authentication types, Logs and Reporting etc.Virtual Directories In Microsoft Exchange

Virtual Directory

They can be accessed either via the Exchange Console (2010)/Exchange Admin center (2013) or via PowerShell. Exchange Admin Centre provides very basic information about Virtual Directory options. However PowerShell gives the complete list of actions and information that can be performed on that Virtual Directory. Hence we can continue working with PowerShell which is common for all the versions of exchange.Access Virtual Directories Via Exchange Admin Center

Below are list of Important Virtual Directories.

  1. Autodiscover
  2. ECP
  3. EWS
  4. Microsoft-Server-ActiveSync
  5. OAB
  6. OWA
  7. PowerShell

Apart from the above there are other Virtual Directories that work with Exchange systems, they are

  1. Aspnet_client
  2. Rpc
  3. RpcwithCert

Each Exchange server will have its own virtual directories configured based on the roles installed on that server. The below table shows

Directory Authentication Server role Managed by
Autodiscover Anonymous, Basic,Windows CAS Shell
ECP Anonymous, Basic CAS EMC or Shell
EWS Anonymous, Windows CAS Shell
Microsoft-Server-ActiveSync Basic CAS EMC or Shell
OAB Windows CAS EMC or Shell
OWA Basic CAS EMC or Shell
PowerShell Anonymous CAS Shell
aspnet_client Anonymous CAS IIS, EMC
rpc Basic, Windows CAS Shell
rpcwithcert Disabled CAS Inaccessible
Default Website Anonymous Mailbox Inaccessible

Powershell Commands for Each Virtual Directory:

Directory cmdlets Purpose
Autodiscover Get-AutodiscoverVirtualDirectory Retrieves the Current Virtual directory settings
New-AutodiscoverVirtualDirectory Create a new autodiscover virtual directory
Remove-AutodiscoverVirtualDirectory Delete the current Virtual Directory
Set-AutodiscoverVirtualDirectory Modify the settings of the current Virtual directory
ECP Get-EcpVirtualDirectory Retrieves the Current Virtual directory settings
New-EcpVirtualDirectory Create a new Ecp virtual directory
Remove-EcpVirtualDirectory Delete the current Virtual Directory
Set-EcpVirtualDirectory Modify the settings of the current Virtual directory
EWS Get-WebServicesVirtualDirectory Retrieves the Current Virtual directory settings
New-WebServicesVirtualDirectory Create a new EWS virtual directory
Remove-WebServicesVirtualDirectory Delete the current Virtual Directory
Set-WebServicesVirtualDirectory Modify the settings of the current Virtual directory
Microsoft-Server-ActiveSync Get-ActiveSyncVirtualDirectory Retrieves the Current Virtual directory settings
New-ActiveSyncVirtualDirectory Create a new ActiveSync virtual directory
Remove-ActiveSyncVirtualDirectory Delete the current Virtual Directory
Set-ActiveSyncVirtualDirectory Modify the settings of the current Virtual directory
OAB Get-OabVirtualDirectory Retrieves the Current Virtual directory settings
New-OabVirtualDirectory Create a new autodiscover virtual directory
Remove-OabVirtualDirectory Delete the current Virtual Directory
Set-OabVirtualDirectory Modify the settings of the current Virtual directory
OWA Get-OwaVirtualDirectory Retrieves the Current Virtual directory settings
New-OwaVirtualDirectory Create a new OWA virtual directory
Remove-OwaVirtualDirectory Delete the current Virtual Directory
Set-OwaVirtualDirectory Modify the settings of the current Virtual directory
PowerShell Get-PowerShellVirtualDirectory Retrieves the Current Virtual directory settings
New-PowerShellVirtualDirectory Create a new Powershell virtual directory
Remove-PowerShellVirtualDirectory Delete the current Virtual Directory
Set-PowerShellVirtualDirectory Modify the settings of the current Virtual directory

Conclusion:

The above PowerShell commands seems to be easy but we should have extra care while operating those. Otherwise we will end up with unidentifiable issues, which will not be easy to troubleshoot. Use this cmdlets in a test environment unless you are confident and completely aware of these. Sometime we might have to recreate the directories while troubleshooting. These directories are very crucial for the connectivity. If you are not able to fix it, then you can consider OST file recovery to access the emails for time being until you fix the issue.

Author Introduction:

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

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