Exchange 2007 Message Classifications (Part 1)

by [Published on 21 Dec. 2006 / Last Updated on 21 Dec. 2006]

The new Message Classification feature available in Exchange Server 2007.

If you would like to read the next part in this article series please go to Exchange 2007 Message Classifications (Part 2).

Exchange Server 2007 has a new feature called Message Classification where a message can be classified by the user or Administrator. This kind of feature helps organizations maintain e-mail policies as well as regulatory norms. When a message is classified, it receives metadata that describes the message use or audience. This classification is visible in OWA 2007 and Outlook 2007, increasing the use of the message system and the user’s productivity.

Message Classification may occur on both sides: the user side through manual intervention, or transport rules at the hub transport role managed by the Administrators, who can classify or not, depending on the type of messages that pass through Hub Transport.

Overview

By default there are four Message Classifications when Exchange Server 2007 is deployed and which are available in OWA. Below, the four default message classifications are explained:

  • Company Confidential: This kind of message contains proprietary information and should be handled confidentially
  • Company Internal: This kind of message contains sensitive information that should only be delivered to internal recipients
  • A/C Privileged: This kind of message is either a request for legal advice from an attorney or a response by an attorney about legal advice.
  • No restriction: traditional message without any added metadata

Outlook 2007 has to be configured in order to use Message Classifications.

Another point, which highlights the flexibility of the Exchange Server 2007 product, is that the Message Classifications are set to coincide with the regional settings, in other words, we can create a Message Classification and put the text in several languages, such as: Portuguese and Spanish. When the user has one of these languages configured, he will receive a message in his native language.

Creating Message Classifications in Exchange Server 2007

The Exchange Administrator is able to create new Message Classifications. There are four main fields in this process. We have to use the Exchange Management Shell. Below we will see a brief description of these four options:

Display name

This field specifies the display name for the message classification instance. The display name appears in Office 2007. Outlook and Outlook Web Access users use the field to select the appropriate message classification before they send a message.

Sender description

This field explains to the sender what the message classification is intended to achieve. The text that the Exchange Administrator enters in this field is used by Outlook and Outlook Web Access users to select the appropriate message classification before they send a message.

Recipient description

This field explains to the recipient what the message classification is intended to achieve. The text that the Exchange Administrator enters in this field is viewed by Outlook and Outlook Web Access users when they receive a message that has this message classification.

Locale

This field specifies a culture code to create a locale-specific version of the message classification.

In this article we are going to create two new Message Classifications, their names will be Articles and Blog. To create a Message Classification, we will use a cmdlet called New-MessageClassification:

  1. Open the Exchange Management Console
  2. Put into the Exchange Management Console the following (Figure 01)
    New-MessageClassification -Name Articles -DisplayName Articles -SenderDescription "Articles content" - RecipientDescription "Messages containing some articles information."
  3. After this the cmdlet will show the attributes of the new Message Classification that we have just created


Figure 01: The result of the cmdlet new-messageclassification after execution

  1. We will now create a new Message Classification called Blog:
    New-MessageClassification -Name Blog -DisplayName Blog -SenderDescription "Blog content" - RecipientDescription "News and tips about Exchange Server"


Figure 02: We have just created the second message Classification called Blog

Now that we have created the new Message Classifications, we should take a look at them. We can achieve this by using a cmdlet called Get-MessageClassification, to filter the output, we will use the following cmdlet (figure 03)

Get-MessageClassification | Select DisplayName,SenderDescription


Figure 03: All Message Classifications

How to check out the new Message Classifications in OWA

To create a new message in Exchange Server 2007 OWA, we have a new button called Message Classification, which displays all Message Classifications when clicked (Figure 04) as well as the two Messages Classifications that we have just created.


Figure 04: The two new Message Classifications in OWA

Enabling Message Classification in Outlook 2007

By default Outlook 2007 is not enabled to use Message Classification. To enable this resource we have to do two things: export the Message Classification settings from Exchange Server 2007 and enable it in Outlook 2007.

Exporting Message Classifications from Exchange Server 2007

To export the new Message Classifications that we have just created, we have to use a script that comes with Exchange Server 2007. All the scripts can be found at “X:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\Scripts", where X: is the drive of the Exchange installation. In the figure below (Figure 05) we are able to see the built-in administrative scripts in Exchange Server 2007. They should be used from the Exchange Management Shell.


Figure 05: The content of the Scripts folder. We will use the selected script to export Message Classifications

We should open the Exchange Management Shell and go to "X:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\Scripts", and run the script called Export-OutlookClassification.msh with the Message Classification we want to use in Outlook 2007 in the end-user. The exportation of these definitions is easy and we use a cmdlet called Get-MessageClassification together with the script that was shown in the previous step (Figure 06).


Figure 06: Exporting all the settings through the script called Export-OutlookClassification.msh

The syntax of the cmdlet is:

"Articles", "Blogs" | Get-MessageClassification | ./Export-OutlookClassification.msh > c:\classifications.xml

In the first part of the command line, we can put how many Message Classifications we want, putting a comma (,) between the items; after the pipe (|) we use the cmdlet Get-MessageClassification; after the other pipe (|) we use the script ./Export-OutlookClassification.msh where the output of the cmdlet will be redirected to the file in the selected path at the end of command line (in this case c:\classifications.xml)

After we run the script the xml file can be found where we defined it in the previous cmdlet. (Figure 07)


Figure 07: The file that was created

If we open the xml file, we will see the content with the definitions that will be used by Outlook 2007. We can see only the Message Classifications defined in the previous Exchange Management Shell cmdlet.


Figure 08: The content of the archive Classifications.xml with the defined Message Classifications

Enabling Message Classification in Outlook 2007

After creating the xml file that contains definitions about the specified Message Classifications, we can import it to the client with Outlook 2007 installed. In this article we are going to put it in the root drive (c:\) of the client machine. We should follow these steps:

  1. Copy the archive classifications.xml of Exchange Server 2007 to the root drive of the machine where Office 2007 was installed
  2. Close Outlook, if it is open
  3. Click Start, Run and type regedit
  4. Expand HKEY_CURRENT_USER
  5. Expand Software
  6. Expand Microsoft
  7. Expand Office
  8. Expand 12.0
  9. Expand Common
  10. If the folder Policy doesn’t exist you need to create it
  11. Click on Policy
  12. Add three values inside this folder (figure 09):
    1. EnableClassifications of the type DWORD with value 1
    2. TrustClassifications of the type DWORD with value 1
    3. AdminClassificationPath of the type STRING with the whole path where the xml file was created in Exchange Server.


Figure 09: Creating the structure to support Message Classification for the user with Outlook 2007

Now we can open Outlook 2007 and create a new message. In this new message there is a button called Set Permission. Click on it and you will see all the Message Classifications that we have imported from Exchange Server 2007 through the xml file (Figure 10).


Figure 10: Creating a new message and using Message Classification

Testing the Message Classification feature

Let’s test the message classification. Here is a quick recap of what was done:

  1. We have created two new message classifications in Exchange Server 2007
  2. We have validated the two New message Classifications in OWA
  3. We have exported the xml file from Exchange Server 2007
  4. We have imported the xml file in Outlook 2007

Now we will perform some tests using the Message Classification feature. We are going to use a scenario where we have three users Anderson.Patricio, Jose.Rodas and Administrator.

First, we will test the Sender Description. We will send a message from user Anderson.Patricio to Jose.Rodas using the Message Classification called Articles (Figure 11), and we should make sure that the new box above the field “To…” is filled out with “Articles Content”, this description was defined in the SenderDescription property.


Figure 11: Sending a message using the Message Classification called Articles

The user Jose.Rodas should verify the description of the message he received. He will see a box (figure 12) with a short description about the Message Classification defined in this message. This description was defined in the RecipientDescription property.


Figure 12: Message received showing the RecipientDescription of the Message Classification Articles

If the user Jose.Rodas replies, or forwards this message, the Message Classification by default is still on the message. If we want to remove this Message Classification, we should click on the button Message Classification and then click on No Restriction.

We can control this behavior through the RetainClassificationEnabled attribute. By default this attribute is enabled, to disable it we have to use this cmdlet:

Set-MessageClassification -Identity Articles -RetainClassificationEnabled:$false

If the RetainClassificationEnable is set as false, all the received classified messages will lose the Message Classification when the user replies to them.

Conclusion

In the first part of this article we saw this new Message Classification resource for Exchange administrators. This feature enables us to manage message traffic in an orderly way, showing how the feature can be used by the user through OWA or Outlook 2007. In the next article we are going to see how we can classify through transport rules and how to use a localized version of Message Classification.

If you would like to read the next part in this article series please go to Exchange 2007 Message Classifications (Part 2).

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