Topic Last Modified: 2011-04-28

Distribution groups are mail-enabled Active Directory group objects that are created to expedite the mass sending of e-mail messages and other information within an Exchange organization.

There are two types of distribution groups:

It's important to note the terminology differences between Active Directory and Exchange 2010. In Active Directory, a distribution group refers to any group that doesn't have a security context, whether it's mail-enabled or not. In contrast, in Exchange 2010, all mail-enabled groups are referred to as distribution groups, whether they have a security context or not.

When you select the Distribution Group node under Recipient Configuration, and then select a mail-enabled distribution group in the result pane, the following actions are available either by right-clicking the distribution group name or by using the action pane.

You can also use the Exchange Management Shell to manage all aspects of distribution groups. For more information, see Recipient Cmdlets.

Click Disable to remove all Exchange attributes from the Active Directory group object. The distribution group will no longer be mail-enabled, but it will remain in Active Directory.

The Disable action is not available for dynamic distribution groups.

Click Remove to remove the distribution group from Active Directory.

Send Mail

Click Send Mail to send an e-mail message to recipients by using the Exchange Management Console. Select the recipient or multiple recipients in the result pane, and then click Send Mail in the action pane. You must configure an e-mail account on the computer from which you are sending mail.

You can only send mail to multiple selected recipients if they are all of the same recipient type.

You can send mail to the following recipient types:

  • User Mailboxes

  • Mail Contacts

  • Mail Users

  • Dynamic Distribution Groups

  • Distribution Groups

You cannot send mail to resource mailboxes.


Click Properties to view or modify the settings for the selected distribution group.

For more information, see Configure Distribution Group Properties and Configure Dynamic Distribution Group Properties.

If you select multiple items from the result pane, and it contains both mail-enabled distribution groups and dynamic distribution groups, the Properties, Disable, and Remove actions will not be available.

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