Once you understand these concepts you will know what is and how it operates.

List server

A list server, sometimes called a listserv, is an automated subscription maintenance service for email mailing lists. A list server processes subscription maintenance commands, including requests to subscribe and unsubscribe from lists, which it receives by email. List server users are thus able to maintain their own mailing list subscriptions.

is a list server for Microsoft Exchange.

runs as a Windows service under its own user account. Subscribers manage their mailing list subscriptions by sending command emails to the service user’s email address.

In Microsoft Exchange, email lists are implemented as distribution groups. Unlike other list servers, works directly with Exchange distribution groups, bringing integrated list server functionality to the popular Exchange platform.

List manager

List owner

The owner of a distribution group (listed in its “Managed By” attribute in Active Directory) is automatically a list manager, except that the service user doesn’t count as a manager.

A list with owner managers is a managed list, where the owners have to approve subscription requests.

Manage and view roles, global and list scope

also provides two other manager roles: manage and view roles. You can assign any security group on your system to these roles. Manage and view roles can have global scope (i.e. for all lists) or list scope (i.e. for a particular list).

The owner of the service user account (listed in its “Managed By” attribute in Active Directory) also has the global manage role.

Users with manage or view roles are entitled to use the members command to see who subscribes to their list(s).

Users with manage roles can use the silent directive for their list(s).

Users with global view or manage roles can use the which command to see which lists a particular subscriber subscribes to.


has its own designated container, which is an organizational unit in Active Directory.

Any distribution groups inside the container are maintained by . Distribution groups outside the container are ignored.

When receives a subscribe command, it looks everywhere in Active Directory for the subscriber’s email address. If the subscriber can not be found, a new external email contact is created within the container.

Any external email contacts that are inside the container are removed when they no longer subscribe to any lists. Any subscriber email contacts and mailboxes that are outside the container are never changed or deleted by

Email address

Email addresses in are in the usual internet email format as specified in RFC 2822.

RFC 2822 address examples
Joe Bloggs <>

Additionally, allows the display name to follow the plain email address, which should not be enclosed in angle brackets: Joseph Bloggs

Managed versus open lists

Managed lists
A managed list is an Exchange distribution group with at least one owner who is not the service user.

When a list is managed, all subscription requests have to be forwarded to the list owners for approval. The list owner can then approve the subscription by forwarding the email back to the list server.

Open lists
An open list is any list that isn’t managed, i.e. with no owner or whose only owner is the service user.

When a list is open, anyone can join immediately just by sending a subscribe command.

Distribution group owners are maintained using the Microsoft Exchange built-in toolset, either with PowerShell or through an interactive management console.

When you create a new mailing list you may be forced to specify an owner. If you want to keep the list open so people can subscribe freely, you can choose the service user as the only owner.


In command emails, mailing lists (Exchange distribution groups) are referred to by name. When the name contains space characters or other white space, the mailing list name must be enclosed in quotation marks.

will use any of the main quotation mark systems from around the world.

When a mailing list name starts with an opening quote character, everything following is included in the name up until the matching closing quote character. Any non-matching quote characters are treated as ordinary characters.

So you can use quote characters within names so long as the name isn’t enclosed in quotes or if it’s enclosed in different quote characters.

" ' ( « » ‘ ‚ “ „ ‹ › 「 『 〝
" ' ) » « ’ ‛ ” ‟ › ‹ 」 』 〞 
quote character pairs (opening quote above, closing quote below).


“plain double-quoted name”
“double-quoted name with a ‘ single quote in it”

Service user

The service user is a special user account used by .

runs as a Windows service logged in under the service user account. The service user is generally created when is installed. The installation process grants the service user the various rights and permissions it needs to do its job as a list server.

Command emails are always sent to the email address of the service user.

The service user account has to be in the same Active Directory domain as the Exchange server.

The service user does not need to be an administrator.

The service user account can be used as the owner of a list. A list whose only owner is the service account still counts as an open list.