The Exchange Control Panel

25/09/12

An incredibly useful tool for Microsoft Outlook and Exchange users

The Exchange Control Panel is an incredibly useful and often overlooked feature of Microsoft Exchange users. It can be used by anyone who uses Microsoft Outlook connected to Exchange 2007 or Exchange 2010. It is also a hugely powerful tool for Exchange administrators, and includes some very useful features. This article is split into two sections; one for Users and one for Administrators. Whether you're a user or an admin, there will be something useful for you here.

The Exchange Control Panel is a feature of Microsoft Exchange, and requires no extra software to use.

For Users

If you have an Exchange 2010 system in your organisation, the chances are you're familiar with Outlook Web App. This is the system that allows you to login to your email account via the Internet, it looks something like this:

You usually access Outlook Web App (OWA) by going to a web address like this

https://mail."yourdomain".com/owa

 

The Exchange Control Panel is accessed in a very similar way. Instead of using "/owa" on the end your of your web address, use "/ecp".

When you go to that address, you'll see a login page identical to that of OWA, but notice the address is different. Login to this page as normal, using the same details you would for OWA.

As a standard user, you can also access the ECP by logging into OWA, and clicking Options in the top right-hand side.

Once logged in, you can access various sub-menus and tools. They include:

Account - here, you can:

Organize E-Mail - There are 3 sub-categories here:

  1. Inbox Rules. This is very similar to the inbox rules you may be familiar with in your Outlook program. The only difference here is, these rules don't require Outlook to be open and running.
  2. Automatic Replies. Again, this is very similar to Outlook, you can specify custom replies and choose periods to send Out Of Office replies.
  3. Delivery Reports. This is a feature that Outlook doesn't offer, and is a great tool for admin's and users alike. You can search for a delivery report on any message you have sent or received with any other account on your domain, as well as fine tune your search by searching for words in the subject line. When you open up a report, you'll receive something like this

Great for tracking missing emails.

Groups - a good tool for viewing the email groups in your organization

Settings - there's a whole host of options for you here, they include:

Phone

Block or allow

For Administrators

The ECP really comes into its own as a system admin. Most day to day administrative tasks can be performed from the ECP, without even having to login to your Exchange system. Obviously, the account you're logging in with must be an Exchange admin and have the relevant security permissions for ECP management.

Users & Groups

From this section, you can also enable a litigation hold on a mailbox. In very short terms, a litigation hold allows administrators to preserve mailbox information. With a mailbox under a litigation hold, a user can use their mailbox as normal, but any deleted items will be retained, even if they are 'hard deleted' from Recoverable items.

You can also enable and disable Exchange ActiveSync here, for users with mobile phones in your organization.

Distribution Groups

External Contacts

Roles & Auditing

Mail Control

The mail control section gives you a lot of control over what happens with emails in your company. You can configure Rules, similar to that of rules in Outlook but with more control as an admin. You can setup Journaling, allowing you to send NDR's automatically, and view delivery reports for all users in the organization.

Phone & Voice

Here you can setup ActiveSync, allowing you to connect mobile phones to your Exchange server, and manage them centrally. As with a lot of the features in the ECP, you have a lot of control here. You can setup ActiveSync device policies and apply them to users and groups. Further reading should be done before attempting to configure ActiveSync and device policies.

To conclude, the Exchange Control Panel is an incredibly powerful tool for both users and administrators. If offers you control over your email account or your Exchange server, from anywhere in the world as long as you have an internet connection.

 

I hope this has been a really useful guide for you on how to use Exchange Control Panel. If you have any more questions or issues, give us a call on 0114 299 4050!

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