i've created this blog as a storage for random tech notes i've found useful and may help others at the same time. i've joked that it's not possible to know everything but i'm google certified and can find just about anything i need using google. it's worked time and time again. anyway i hope you find this info useful if not that's fine too as it's really intended for me anyway :) -- google certified

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Exchange 2010 auto reply for distribution groups

I had the need come up to configure an auto reply for emails sent to a distribution group. This is easy if you have certain third party applications but it’s not terribly difficult if you don’t. Here’s what you’ll need:

-          Distribution group (Test-Distribution-Group)
-          Dummy mailbox (Dummy-Mailbox)
-          Enable Allow auto replies in Exchange
-          Outlook

First start out by verifying the settings to allow automatic replies happen. In exchange 2010 open up the EMC, Org Config, Remote Domains, Modify the default policy or whatever you have here. On the message format tab, select Allow automatic replies. 

Next open up the properties for the distribution group. EMC, Recipient Config, Distribution Group, Test-Distribution-Group. On the Advanced tab select Send out-of-office messages to originator.

Now we can configure a server side rule in with Outlook to send an email. I used Outlook 2010 here. Open Outlook, File, Rules and Alerts, New Rule, Apply rule on messages I receive, Select sent to people or public group, specify the Test-Distribution-Group, next, Select have server reply using a specific message, click the link and type out the email you want to reply with, here you can also select delete it. I select delete it to keep this mailbox from accumulating a ton of emails. 

Finally we make this mailbox a member of the distribution group.
You can take this a step further and make this dummy mailbox default email address be something like donotreply@domain.com and create a rule that anything sent to this user only is deleted.
Good luck!
google certified


  1. I did a search on Google AutoReplies... this has nothing to do with Google!

    1. That's why the title says Exchange 2010.
      Try a search on Google for Exchange.

  2. Good little set of Instructions, but even with those settings on the EMC I can only get internal based auto-reply. Is there anything else I have missed or is there a tets on the command shell I could run ?

  3. Tim do you get a bounce back when sending from the outside? By default new distribution groups require authentication. Check the mail flow settings for your group.

    1. Different user here - same problem.

      Internally the autoresponder works no problem. When I test using an external email address, the email gets to the users on the distribution list, the "no reply" account rule processes (messages ends up in the deleted items) but the sender doesn't get the response.