Running Exchange System Manager on Windows XP

Recently I got asked (again) about running the Exchange System Manager (ESM) on Windows XP.  It works, but what if you use Outlook on the same machine?  It is officially unsupported.  Or to state it another way, if you have a problem with Outlook or the ESM and don't have the problem on a machine that doesn't have the other product installed, then we won't fix it.  After all, Outlook and Exchange aren't supported on the same machine:

266418 Microsoft does not support installing Exchange Server components and Outlook on the same computer

So, what can you do?  Large companies often have helpdesk people that need to make changes to the mail attributes of users and they can't do that unless they have the ESM installed otherwise the tabs don't show up in the Active Directory Users and Computers (ADU&C), right?  Yeah, pretty much.  So what are the options? 

I asked around and here are the replies:

·        Microsoft's official recommendation is that your administrators connect to a Terminal server that has the tools you need installed. 

·        Another option is to run a Virtual PC on the Windows side that has the tools installed. 

·        The Enterprise solution for most companies however seems to be using third-party solutions (like web applications) to make the changes. 

·        Others look at the potential issues and have decided to just got ahead and do the unsupported.  It works for them.

The thing is that even in Exchange 5.5, the Admin.exe wasn’t officially supported on the desktop with Outlook as well, but most people did it.   Where Microsoft doesn't excel, the best solution often is an opportunity for our partners. 

What is your solution?  What are you doing to work around this?  I'm interested in what the majority of you are doing.  Email me or post below.  I'll post the results later.

Comments (7)

  1. Tony Woodruff says:

    I have been running ESM with Outlook on XP (and Windows 2000 before that) for years. True, some ESM functions do not work, but all ADUC tabs work well, as does Outlook.

    When I do need to perform a function that does not work from XP, I follow Microsoft’s recommendation to use Terminal Services to the Exchange server. No big deal….

  2. Philipp Kohn says:


    I´ve installed the Ex2k3 Systemmanager on my WXP-SP2-adminworkstation… OLK2k3 Sp1 runs always in the background and I have no problem with it…

    Best regards Philipp

  3. Kirk says:

    I use Remote Desktop to administer all my servers (2000 and 2003). It is extremely smooth process and I rarely need to physically be at the server anymore. There is no need to install most administration tools locally.

  4. NetStudent1 says:

    I run outlook and ESM on the same box, infact all our admins do. Never had a problem.

  5. Ron Wojnar says:

    I read somewhere that the key .dll necessary for ADUC Exchange management was maildsmx.dll. In addition, the users doing the management needed at least view-only permissions at the root of the Exchange structure. I created a group, added the appropriate accounts, and applied the permissions via ESM. I copied maildsmx.dll off the production E2K3 server, and then used Dependency Walker to identify all other .dll dependencies.

    I packaged those .dlls in a zip file, keeping all the files in a folder called exchdll. I then instructed our helpdesk types to unzip the file into their %windir%system32 folder, keeping the directory structure intact. Finally, they were told to run “regsvr32 %windir%system32exchdllmaildsmx.dll” from a command prompt. The Exchange attribute pages appeared the next time that ADUC was run.

    We’ve been running this scenario for about six months now, with no issues noted. I’ve only tried this on desktops, not domain controllers.

  6. Benjamin Mateos says:

    Hi Gerod,

    Long time w/o reading your blog…

    On most companies I worked for; they use the same machine for Outlook and ESM. And like you said, "It works for them".



  7. Rob D says:

    We run Outlook and the Exchnage 5.5 admin tools on the same machines, usually without iisue. We do copy the correct mapi dll into the exchangebin folder, otherwise Exchange admin doesn;t integrate correctly with our main user management tool, Hyena, from

    We are migrating to 2003 though…

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