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Understanding Message Classifications

Applies to: Exchange Server 2010

Topic Last Modified: 2009-12-01

Message classifications are a Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 and Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 feature intended to help organizations comply with their e-mail policies and regulatory responsibilities. When a message is classified, the message contains specific metadata that describes the intended use or audience of the message. Outlook 2007 or Microsoft Office Outlook Web App may act on this metadata by displaying a user-friendly description of the classification to senders and receivers of a classified message. In Exchange 2010, the Microsoft Exchange Transport service may act on the metadata if there's a transport rule that meets specific criteria that you have configured.

The following list provides a brief description of some of the message classification fields that you can set:

  • Display name   This property specifies the display name for the message classification instance. The display name appears in the Permission menu in Outlook 2007 and Outlook Web App and is used by Outlook and Outlook Web App users to select the appropriate message classification before a message is sent. The display name is also displayed in the recipient description that appears in the InfoBar in an Outlook message. The parameter name for this property is DisplayName.
  • Sender description   This property explains to the sender what the message classification is intended to achieve. The text that you enter for this field is used by Outlook and Outlook Web App users to select the appropriate message classification before a message is sent. The parameter name for this property is SenderDescription.
  • Recipient description   This property explains to the recipient what the message classification was intended to achieve. The text that you enter for this field is viewed by Outlook and Outlook Web App users when they receive a message that has this message classification. The parameter name for this property is RecipientDescription.
  • Locale   This field specifies a culture code to create a locale-specific version of the message classification. For more information about the locale field, see "Localizing Message Classification Instances for Different Languages and Locales" later in this topic. The parameter name for this property is Locale.

After Outlook 2007 is enabled to accept the default message classifications, users can apply message classification to messages that they send. Senders see the sender description in the InfoBar in Outlook 2007. By using the Exchange Management Shell, you can customize the sender description for each message classification and locale.

Bb123498.note(en-us,EXCHG.140).gifNote:
Outlook Web App requires no special configuration to display or use message classifications.

Three message classifications are enabled in Exchange 2010 by default:

  • Attachment Removed   This classification notifies recipients when attachments have been removed from the message.
  • Originator Requested Alternate Recipient Mail   This classification notifies recipients that the message has been redirected from delivery to the original addressed recipient.
  • Partner Mail   This classification notifies recipients that the message was encrypted and delivered through a secure connector.
    Bb123498.note(en-us,EXCHG.140).gifNote:
    Users can't add these classifications to messages.

In the initial installation of Exchange 2010, all message classifications are informational only. They aren't associated with any transport rules and only provide additional information about a message to the message recipients. By default, in Exchange 2010, the Microsoft Exchange Transport service doesn't take any special action on the message.

However, you can create transport rules based on message classifications. For example, you can configure a transport rule that checks all incoming messages for a specific message classification and direct that these messages be delivered to a designated recipient. For more information, see Create a Transport Rule.

Message classifications can be logically separated into two classes based on how they are attached to a specific message:

  • A message classification can be manually added by the sender of a message before the message is sent.
  • A message classification can be added as the result of a rule. For example, when the Attachment Filter agent removes an attachment from a message, the Attachment Removed message classification is attached to the message. When the sender receives the message, Outlook 2007 displays an explanation of why the attachment was removed in the recipient description in the InfoBar. As the Exchange administrator, you can customize the recipient description.

Looking for management tasks related to message classifications? See Managing Message Classifications.

Contents

Localizing Message Classification Instances for Different Languages and Locales

Precedence and Retention of the Message Classification

Providing Read Access to Message Classifications

Message Classifications in Transport Rules

Managing and Deploying Message Classifications

In some scenarios, your business needs may dictate using different languages for message classifications for different groups of users, regions, or locales where your business operates. After you create the default message classification instance, you can create more than one message classification instance for different languages.

You can also use a message classification instance to change the content of the sender description and recipient description to reflect differences in regulatory requirements for different jurisdictions. If a message classification for the locale of the recipient exists in Active Directory, Exchange will attach the localized message classification to the message.

For example, health care-related companies that operate in the United States and in Europe may have to comply with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations in the United States but not in Europe. Therefore, the display of message classifications that are HIPAA-specific should only be enabled for employees operating in the United States. You can set Read permission on classifications so that only appropriate users can view specific message classifications.

Each localized version of a specific message classification is a new message classification instance. The Locale parameter defines the locale for a particular message classification instance. The Locale parameter takes a data type of CultureInfo. When you create a localized version of a message classification, you will reference the default instance of the message classification and create a localized instance of the existing message classification.

For an example of a localized message classification and more information about how to create localized versions of message classifications, see Create Localized Versions of Message Classifications.

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By default, a message classification travels with a message for the life of the message until it leaves the organization. Therefore, if a sender sets a message classification on a specific message, the message will retain the message classification as long as other rules don't remove it.

Each message classification can be assigned a relative priority to other message classifications. This sets the precedence on a specified classification and how it's displayed to the recipient in Outlook. The message classification with the highest precedence is shown first, and subsequent classifications with lesser precedence are displayed in the appropriate order thereafter. You set precedence by using the DisplayPrecedence parameter on the Set-MessageClassification cmdlet in the Shell.

For each message classification, you can specify whether the message classification is retained when a recipient replies to or forwards the message. You can specify whether a classification is retained by setting the RetainClassificationEnabled parameter on the Set-MessageClassification cmdlet in the Shell.

For more information, see Set-MessageClassification.

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When you create a message classification and enable the computer on which Outlook runs, the new message classification will be present in the Permission menu of Outlook and Outlook Web App.

You can control read access for the message classifications presented in the Permission menu of Outlook 2007 if you configure the message classifications that you export into the Classifications.xml file. For more information about how to create and use the Classifications.xml file, see Deploy Message Classifications for Outlook 2007.

You can control read access for the message classifications presented in the Permission menu of Outlook Web App if you configure the Read permission on the message classification object. By default, all message classifications are created with Read permission for any authenticated user when you grant Read permission to authenticated users on the message classification object in Active Directory. For situations requiring more restrictive access for message classifications, the Read permission can be removed from a message classification object by setting the AdPermission parameter on the Get-MessageClassification cmdlet using the Shell. For more information, see Remove Read Access from Message Classifications.

It's important to understand that the Read permission set on the message classification object doesn't control whether the sender can use the message classification. Read permission on the message classification only controls whether the message classification is displayed in the Permission menu in Outlook Web App. Outlook 2007 users can send message classifications even if the user doesn't have read access to the message classification. Advanced users can still send classified messages by editing the Classifications.xml file installed on their computer to enable message classifications Outlook 2007.

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After you create a message classification instance, you can associate a transport rule with the message classification. You use the Shell to create a transport rule and add the message classification as a condition. For information about how to use the Shell to create transport rules, see Create a Transport Rule.

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Before Outlook 2007 users can set and view message classifications, you must deploy the message classification configuration files and create an Outlook registry key on the end-users' computers. The Outlook message classification templates are .xml files that you must generate after you create and configure the message classifications.

You manage all message classifications by using the message classification cmdlets in the Shell. You can bind message classifications to transport rules by using the Shell or the Exchange Management Console (EMC).

For more information, see Deploy Message Classifications for Outlook 2007.

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