Easily book meeting rooms with the Exchange 2003 auto-accept agent


The Exchange 2003 Auto Accept Agent is a new tool that extends the benefits of resource scheduling to both Outlook and OWA users.  Meeting organizers can schedule resources (usually meeting rooms) by adding them as a meeting attendee and sending out a meeting request.  The Auto Accept Agent is an event sink that automates the response to these requests, first checking the resource’s schedule to see if it is available.



The agent has some nice features.  Incoming requests are checked for conflicts with existing appointments (not free busy) in the resource’s calendar so booking is not subject to problems that arise because of latencies in free busy replication.  The agent enforces a “booking window” that prevents resources from being booked too far into the future.  Recurring meetings are easier to book since the agent can handle a specified number of conflicts.  For example, if a recurring meeting with 10 instances has just one scheduling conflict, the agent can be configured to accept the entire recurring meeting and send a decline for the single conflict.  From a security perspective no permissions need to be granted on the resource calendar, and all attachments as well as the body of the request can be optionally stripped out.  Finally, the resource does not need to be specified as a “Resource” attendee – a common mistake organizers make when using Outlook’s direct booking feature.


- Paul Tischhauser

Comments (17)
  1. Mike Abrahamson says:

    The download page lists Windows 2003 as the only supported OS. Is this true? Can I run this on a W2K Server with EX2003?

  2. Paul Tischhauser says:

    That’s an error on the download page. Yes, you can run this on W2k/E2k3.

  3. Marcel Marth says:

    The deployment document says Exchange Server 2003 Enterprise Edition is required. Will it not work with Standard Edition?

  4. Paul Tischhauser says:

    Yes – it will work with Standard Edition. The readme page that is linked to download page clarifies this point.

  5. JB Lewis says:

    this is exactly what my users have been asking for… Unfortunately, it isn’t working for me. It installed without error (as local service), I was able to register mailboxes without incident. However, when I invite the resource, I get an error in the event log. It is an Item Processing Excepetion. The exception info is as follows

    System.Runtime.InteropServices.COMException (0x80040E19): Object or data matching the name, range, or selection criteria was not found within the scope of this operation.

    at Private.Interop.Cdoex.IDataSource.Open(String SourceURL, Object ActiveConnection, ConnectModeEnum Mode, RecordCreateOptionsEnum CreateOptions, RecordOpenOptionsEnum Options, String UserName, String Password)

    at Microsoft.Exchange.Agents.AutoAccept.EventSink.BindToCalMsg(String msgURL, String calendarLocation, IAppointment& inStoreAppt, String& calMethod)

    at Microsoft.Exchange.Agents.AutoAccept.EventSink.ProcessOnSaveEvent(String itemUrl)

    at Microsoft.Exchange.Agents.AutoAccept.EventSink.OnSave(IExStoreEventInfo pEventInfo, String bstrURLItem, Int32 lFlags)

  6. Paul Tischhauser says:

    It’s likely that the mailbox still has a rule set up to forward to a delegate and the request is being forwarded before the agent can get to it. Check the Delegates tab under Tools->Options in Outlook to see if the "Send meeting requests…only to my delegates…" checkbox is checked. If so, uncheck it.

  7. JBLewis says:

    D’oh! Yup that fixed it… Let’s see… It was getting the trigger to run, but then when it did, there were no calendar items to process.

  8. Sched says:

    Can you customize your own message for Auto Accept Agent?

  9. Paul Tischhauser says:

    No – there is no current customization of the response text. If you don’t mind me asking, how would you use the feature if you had it? Would there be a single custom message for all resources, or would you need a different message for each?

  10. Sched says:

    It would probably be similar messages for all. I just wanted to customize it for our wording. I know that ERM provide this feature. I though Auto Accept Agent would as also. We are currently using Auto Accept for Exhcange5.5 and are try to compare the benefit between ERM and Auto Accept Agent.

  11. Lee Jarvie says:

    Where can I find the guide for this product? I’ve downloaded it, but it doesn’t have any detailed docs in it on how to setup resources, etc.

  12. Paul Tischhauser says:

    The download page has a link to the deployment guide at http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/exchange/2003/library/autoaccpt.mspx

  13. Dave Campbell says:

    Thank you for making the auto-accept agent available. It works great when I configure the agent to use a domain account with full rights to the resource mailbox. Also, there are no delegates or rules on this mailbox. But when the agent is configured to use the local service on the Exchange server, I receive the following ‘Access is denied’ error:

    "file://./backofficestorage/abc.defg.com/MBX/crw-3/Inbox/autoaccept agent meeting.EML". This item will not be processed.

    The exception information is:

    System.UnauthorizedAccessException: Access is denied.

    at Private.Interop.Cdoex.IDataSource.Open(String SourceURL, Object ActiveConnection, ConnectModeEnum Mode, RecordCreateOptionsEnum CreateOptions, RecordOpenOptionsEnum Options, String UserName, String Password)

    at Microsoft.Exchange.Agents.AutoAccept.EventSink.GetFolderLocations(String sMailboxURL, String& calendarLoc, String& deletedItemsLoc)

    at Microsoft.Exchange.Agents.AutoAccept.EventSink.ProcessOnSaveEvent(String itemUrl)

    at Microsoft.Exchange.Agents.AutoAccept.EventSink.OnSave(IExStoreEventInfo pEventInfo, String bstrURLItem, Int32 lFlags)

  14. Paul Tischhauser says:

    At setup the agent can be configured (on Windows 2003) to run as Local System, not as a Local Service account. While the Local System account has complete access to the local machine, the Local Service account is fairly restricted. To fix this, go in to the Identity tab on the Auto Accept Agent properties in the Component Services snap-in and change the system account to Local System.

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