Exchange 2007+: Aliases have invalid data

Twice in the past two weeks, I have come across Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2007 migrations which went uncompleted. In both cases, I received the following error(s) when trying to view the properties of a recipient with spaces in its alias or when viewing the properties of the offline address book:

  • The properties on have invalid data. If you click OK, default values will be used instead and will be saved if you do not change them before hitting Apply or OK on the property page. If you click cancel, the object will be displayed read-only and corrupted values will be retained. The following values have invalid data: Alias.
  • WARNING: Object has been corrupted and it is in an inconsistent state. The following validation errors have been encountered: WARNING: is not valid for Alias.
  • Set- : is not valid for Alias.

Here is a screenshot of the error:

Exchange 2003 would allow an administrator to put spaces in the Alias attribute. That poses a problem for 2007 which is strict about the characters it allows in this attribute. In Exchange 2007 the following characters are considered valid: Strings formed with characters from a to z (uppercase or lowercase), digits from 0 to 9, !, #, $, %, &, ‘, *, +, -, /, =, ?, ^, _, `, {, |, } or ~. But, no spaces.

Going through you recipients one by one is a daunting task. Here is some code to automate this cleanup. Once you take care of this, you shouldn’t run into it again since the tools in Exchange 2007 won’t let you make the same mistake.

Clean up mailboxes:

Get-Mailbox | Where {$_.Alias -like "* *"} | ForEach-Object {Set-Mailbox $_.Name -Alias:($_.Alias -Replace " ","")}

Clean up public folders:

Get-PublicFolder | Where {$_.Alias -like "* *"} | ForEach-Object {Set-PublicFolder $_.Name -Alias:($_.Alias -Replace " ","")}
Get-PublicFolder -Identity "" -Recurse -ResultSize Unlimited | Foreach { Set-PublicFolder -Identity $_.Identity -Name $_.Name.Trim()}

Clean up contact objects:

Get-MailContact -ResultSize unlimited | foreach {$_.alias = $_.alias -replace 's|,|.'; $_} | Set-MailContact
Get-Contact | Where {$_.Alias -like "* *"} | ForEach-Object {Set-Contact $_.Name -Alias:($_.Alias -Replace " ","")}

Clean up distribution groups:

Get-DistributionGroup | Where {$_.Alias -like "* *"} | ForEach-Object {Set-DistributionGroup $_.Name -Alias:($_.Alias -Replace " ","")}

Check for any objects that still throw errors:

Get-PublicFolder | findstr "Warning"
Get-Contact -resultsize unlimited | findstr "Warning"
Get-Mailbox -resultsize unlimited | findstr "Warning"
Get-DistributionGroup -resultsize unlimited | findstr "Warning"

Rebuild your address lists:

Set-AddressList "All Users" -IncludedRecipients MailboxUsers
Set-AddressList "All Groups" -IncludedRecipients Mailgroups
Set-AddressList "All Contacts" -IncludedRecipients MailContacts
Set-AddressList "Public Folders" -RecipientFilter {RecipientType -eq "PublicFolder"}
Set-GlobalAddressList "Default Global Address List" -RecipientFilter {(Alias -ne $null -and (ObjectClass -eq 'user' -or ObjectClass -eq 'contact' -or ObjectClass -eq 'msExchSystemMailbox' -or ObjectClass -eq 'msExchDynamicDistributionList' -or ObjectClass -eq 'group' -or ObjectClass -eq 'publicFolder'))}


  1. David Taig says:

    Clean up public folders: This doesn’t work.

    It should be start with:

    Get-PublicFolder -Identity “” -Recurse -ResultSize Unlimited | Get-MailPublicFolder | …. – nearly has it, however this doesn’t work either and the workaround in the comments doesn’t help either!!

    Any help, as need to exclude the System Public Folders from this process and ‘Get-PublicFolder -Identity “” -Recurse -ResultSize Unlimited | Get-MailPublicFolder | ….’ does it, however any Public Folders that are not mail-enabled show as any error when you do a ‘| ft name’ for example..

  2. David Taig says:

    Check for any objects that still throw errors:

    Get-PublicFolder | findstr “Warning”

    This also doesn’t work. The best I can come up with is

    Get-PublicFolder -Identity “” -Recurse -ResultSize Unlimited | Get-MailPublicFolder | findstr “Warning”

    This shows the Warning’s, however also shows Errors for Public Folders that are not mail-enabled

  3. This was very helpful. I was using powershell to change the managedby value using Set-DistributionGroup, and got this error.

    By the way, what plugin are you using for displaying code?

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