Monday, November 22, 2010

Uploading photos to Active Directory for use with Outlook 2010

One of the coolest new features in Outlook 2010 is the ability to view photos stored in the Active Directory. While this is supposed to work only with Exchange Server 2010, it seems to also work if you are running Exchange 2007 and Outlook 2010.  I am also expecting to see the capability to use this photo integrated in to other products such Office Communication Server (Lync) and SharePoint.  You can upload photos to the Active Directory using the Exchange 2010 Exchange Management Shell.

My company's products Self Service Active Directory Update and Directory Manager are great tools for getting the data in to the Active Directory and are MUCH easier to use than the Exchange Management Shell. Our Directory Search application can be configured to display a user's photo. For existing and future customers, here is some information:
  • Use the thumbnailPhoto attribute NOT the default jpegPhoto attribute
  • Microsoft's recommendation for the photo size is 96 x 96
  • We recommend setting the photo size to 128 x 128
  • Typical image sizes are between 5KB and 10KB
  • Impact on the Active Directory is usually minimal
  • Adjust the settings using the DirectorySettings.XML file in the section
  • If you supply a photo at EXACTLY the size (such as 128x128) then we do not alter the photo
  • Photos supplied at different sizes/resolutions are re-rendered to the size specified in the XML file
  • The thumbnailPhoto must be flagged in the schema so that it replicates to global catalog servers
  • The NETWORK SERVICE user must be given "modify" permissions to the \inetpub\wwwroot\directorymanager\photos or the \inetpub\wwwroot\directoryupdate\photos folder.  This folder is used for temporary storage only.
  • The IIS application pool's Identity must use the NETWORK SERVICE account
Existing users of Directory Update v1.6 or later and Directory Manager v1.3 or later can modify their application to upload photos by editing the DirectorySettings.XML file.  If all you wish to do is upload photos, the other sections of Directory Update or Directory Manager can be hidden.

While Directoy Update and Directory Manager can both upload photos, we recommend using Directory Manager and designate the task to a small number of people (such as Human Resources) so that you get consistent and good quality photos.

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