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Using Outlook 2007 with an Exchange Server.

I am trying to setup a server-side rule, but if I decide to mark the message read-only, Outlook forces the rule to be client-side. I'd like my rules to be server-side. Anyway of getting around that?

What am I missing?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Although Microsoft clients claim that this is a client only action, the server is able to mark a message as read.

Outlook does not support it and you have to configure the rule with the web interface (if you have it available): Outlook Web App

An example with Exchange 2010:

enter image description here

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Rules that depend on a client side action, like marking an email as read, can not be processed by the server as the server has no mechanism to mark messages as read, so this becomes a client side rule as it relies on the email client to perform the action.

Rules that depend on actions that the server can perform, like copying a message to another folder in the mailbox, become server side rules.

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I understand what you are saying, but because the email is on the server, Exchange can mark an email read. For instance, if I read the email on my iPhone, then go into the office and start Outlook, the email appears read - thus this happened on the server. – AngryHacker Jan 28 '10 at 6:54
No, the client (iPhone) is marking the email as read. When you read it on the iPhone... you're reading it. Therefore, it's marked as read. I can tell you that Exchange server has no mechasnism for marking an email as read before the client (Outlook, iPhone, OWA, etc.) has read it. When creating this rule in Outlook 2003, a warning warns you that this is a client-only rule. Did Outlook 2007 not give you that warning? – joeqwerty Jan 28 '10 at 12:34
I just tested this and AngryHacker is right. If you mark it as read on your phone, it automatically gets marked as read on outlook. So the server does keep track which emails have been read and which have not. So the 'mark as read' rule should be server side, but works as a client-only rule. This sucks. – Virat Kadaru Jan 5 '12 at 18:59
+1 angryhacker and @virat-kadaru - this is a core feature if you use multiple clients (smartphone, tablet, PC, web interface, etc.) to access your mailbox. Works fine for me with Exchange. Unfortunately it's probably the proprietary Exchange implementation that makes this impossible for rules. In IMAP it's simply setting the \Seen flag. – Alexander Klimetschek Feb 22 '12 at 16:05
Of course a client can tell a server that a message is read but the action is performed on the server and stored on the server. Using Outlook Web Access you can create a server side rule to mark messages as read (see my answer). – Matteo Nov 15 '13 at 12:34

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