Full mailbox rights for administrator

This article explains how you can grant Full Mailbox rights (to an administrator) when running Exchange 2003 / SBS 2003
Doing the same is easier when running SBS 2008; we’ll do an article on that later.

If, for whatever reasons you might have, you need Full Mailbox rights to a user mailbox when running Exchange 2003 you might be out of luck if you’re using the Administrator account.  By default, these rights are explicitly denied by group policies / Exchange policies.

If you don’t feel like doing lots of work, there’s an easy fix to get access to the mailbox:  Create an account that isn’t the domain administrator (Or assign the rights to any other user).


  1. Create a new user or simply select an existing user.
  2. If you chose to create a new user, make sure to create a mailbox for him – just to be safe.  It’s possible that this works without creating one, though.
  3. Open Active Directory: Computers & Users, and then select the user you want to give Full Mailbox rights.
  4. Right-click, and choose ‘Settings’.
  5. On the Exchange Advanced tab, click the ‘Mailbox Rights’ button.
  6. Click ‘Add’, and select the user.
  7. Check all check boxes, except the last one.  (If you check the ‘deny’ boxes as well after reading this, maybe you admin rights should be stripped forever 😉 )
  8. Click Ok.
  9. You can now log into the mailbox by going to http://urltointernalsite/exchange/<<username>>  and entering YOUR username and password instead of the ones of the user.

And voilà!  You can now read everyone’s private mails do whatever it was you wanted to do.

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