Exchange recipients limit

In fact, this information is easily available on technet, but sometimes it is useful to organize and put them in one place.

Exchange 2010 and Exchange 2007  recipients limit

There is an important change compared to Exchange 2003 – Distribution group are treated as one recipient.

We can restrict recipients limit at the following levels:

  • Organization
  • Transport server
  • Receive Connector
  • Mailbox


Recipient limit  at the organization level, we can check this PowerShell command:

Get-TransportConfig | fl MaxRecipientEnvelopeLimit

or in EMC

Organization Configuration | Hub Transport | Global Settings | Transport Settings tab | Transport Settings Properties

Transport Settings

And we can set this limit:

Set-TransportConfig-MaxRecipientEnvelopeLimit 4000

At Transport Servers level  we can check limit by the following command:

Get-TransportServer | fl Name, PickupDirectoryMaxRecipientsPerMessage

This limit applies only to messages thrown into the Pickup Directory on transport servers. So this setting are not applied to regular mail

We can set this:

Set-TransportServer-identity ‘Server_Name’-PickupDirectoryMaxRecipientsPerMessage 100

At Receive Connector level we can check limit with following command

Get-ReceiveConnector | fl Name, MaxRecipientsPerMessage

This limit applies to messages accepted by a specific Receive Connector

We can set this limit:

Set-ReceiveConnector-Identity ‘ConnectorName’-MaxRecpientsPerMessage 200

And at the end  settings for a specific mailbox:

Get-Mailbox ‘Mailbox_Name’ | fl recipientLimits

Unlimited means that the global settings are used.

Or in the EMC  in the mailbox properties |  Mail Flow Settings tab |  Delivery Options properties

Delivery Options

We can set this:

Set-Mailbox-identity ‘Mailbox_Name’-RecipientLimits 50

And what about mailboxes  limits and the global limits ?

Mailboxes limits always take priority over the global. And not just in the case of restrictions, but also bigger recipient numbers than the global limit.

There is one other place where you should look  when determining limits. Especially in environments migrated or coexisting with Exchange 2003.

These are the  Global Settings

Run ADSIEdit connect to Configuration

Expand CN = Configuration … | CN = Services | CN = Microsoft Exchange | CN = NazwaOrganizacjEX | CN = Global Settings | choose Message Delivery properties  and find the value of msExchRecipLimit


This limit can be changed by using the ESM  for Exchange 2003 or Exchange 2007 (SP1) and Exchange 2010 tools. But after changing in the ESM EX 2003  the new value is not visible in the console 2007/2010. Unfortunately, it is used!

In case of conflict, the lower limit is taken.

Exchange 2003 limit recipients

Each member of the distribution group is treated as one recipient.

We set the limit on the number of recipients in

  • Global Settings
  • SMTP Server properties
  • User Properties

Global settings

Expanding Global Settings | Message Delivery choose properties  | Defaults tab

Message Delivery Properties

SMTP Virtual Server Properties

Expand Administrative Groups | group_name | Servers | Protocols | SMTP |select  SMTP server properties | Messages tab


USER properties | Exchange General tab | Delivery Options | Recipient Limits

Delivery Options

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