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How to set up a meeting room resource in Exchange 2003
These notes cover how to set up a bookable resource (such as a meeting room, pool car etc) so that people can book the resource using Outlook. These notes assume a meeting room, but can be applied to any tangible resource.
Create the Resource in Exchange
Each resource needs its own Exchange user account. Unfortunately there is no difference (to Exchange) between a user account for a person and a user account for resource (such as a meeting room). The difference is only in how they are used (see How to book the resource below). (This is different in Exchange 2007, which does have resource mailboxes.)
If you need the resource to be available straight away for others to use (and not wait until the following day) then see also: How to force the address book to update.
The key thing about booking a resource (such as a meeting room) is that it must be invited as a resource.
Normally when you book a meeting you can invite attendees and invite each as "Required" or as "Optional". The resource you want to book should instead be invited as a "Resource" (which shows as "Resources" in Outlook 2003).
If you simply invite the resource without marking it as a resource then you will not be booking the resource.
These notes have been tested with Exchange Server 2003 and Outlook 2003.
About the author: Brian Cryer is a dedicated software developer and webmaster. For his day job he develops websites and desktop applications as well as providing IT services. He moonlights as a technical author and consultant.