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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and create a rule that anything sent to this user only is deleted.