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Frequently Asked Questions

Features (4)

Product features of Active Subscriber

Active Subscriber uses standard Active Directory Distribution Groups. You can use Exchange Management Tools to create a group (or "list" in traditional list server terminology), edit group membership, set an owner for a group or migrate groups during upgrades.

Active Subscriber makes no proprietary changes to Distribution Groups and does not require Active Directory schema changes.

Active Subscriber automatically creates contacts in Active Directory when required.

You can change the responses that Active Subscriber makes to commands simply by editing plain text dictionary files. This feature also allows Active Subscriber to support multiple languages and provides the flexibility to customise all the responses that the list server makes to commands.

Subscribers can send commands in their own language, and Active Subscriber will attempt to reply in the same language.

Active Subscriber supports several different languages including:

* Danish
* Dutch
* English
* German
* Italian
* Norwegian
* Portuguese
* Spanish
* Welsh

Plus you can add support for your own language easily!

Active Subscriber mailing lists can have an assigned manager. If a list has a manager, all subscription requests are forwarded to the manager for approval. The manager simply clicks reply to approve the request.

New in Active Subscriber is the ability to assign a user group to manage a list, or all your lists.

Managed lists allow the use of the "silent subscribe" command so you can manage list memberships without sending confirmation messages to subscribers with every membership change.

Active Subscriber allows you to override the server used to query the Active Directory Service.

This is done via a registry setting (all the usual disclaimers about editing your registry apply!)

Run regedit.exe and open HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE and navigate to the
SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\ActiveSubscriberService\Parameters key.

Add a new String Value, "Domain Controller" and set it to the (fully qualified) hostname of the machine you wish to use for Active Directory queries. This should be a server which contains a writeable replica (or master copy) of the complete Active Directory site containing your Active Subscriber Data OU.

In brief

  1. Migrate the OU data
  2. Create or migrate the service account and mailbox
  3. Install Active Subscriber
  4. Configure and test

In depth

Ikakura and Active Subscriber both store all their lists and contacts in an Active Directory OU. By default the OU was called "ReddFish Listserver Data. When you migrate your site from an older version of Exchange to Exchange Server 2007, the OU should get migrated as well.

Active Subscriber also needs a mailbox, you can use the migrated ReddFishListServer mailbox, or just create a new mailbox-enabled user using the Exchange 2007 Management Console. The new user will be your list server "service account".

Now install Active Subscriber on the new server specifying the username and password for the service account. Run the Active Subscriber Service Manager and it will look for the service account and the OU, you might need to specify the name of the OU.

Remember that all the data for Active Subscriber and Ikakura is stored in the OU using standard Exchange/Active Directory distribution groups and contacts, so your old lists should be 100% compatible with Active Subscriber. When migrating your OU, please consult the Microsoft documentation for Exchange Server to ensure you follow the best practice for migrating to Exchange Server 2007.

A list server is an application for managing subscriptions to (e-)mailing lists via e-mailed "commands". Active Subscriber is a list server designed specifically to work with Exchange Server 2007 and Exchange Server 2010. Our older product, Ikakura, was designed to work with older versions of Microsoft Exchange.

Yes. If a subscriber does not exist in Active Directory, Active Subscriber creates a new contact in Active Directory and stores it in the same organizational unit (OU) as the mailing lists.
N.B. Active Subscriber also deletes subscribers from the OU if it finds they are no longer members of any lists (or if it receives a non-delivery report), but it never creates or deletes contacts outside the Active Subscriber Data OU - it only modifies those contacts that it "owns".

Ikakura depends on two Exchange services:

1. Microsoft Exchange Active Directory Topology Service
2. Microsoft Exchange Service Host

These should both be on an Exchange Server which is providing Mailbox and/or Client Access roles.

Active Subscriber uses Exchange's "auto-discovery" to find the EWS URL which is used to retrieve the listserver's mail from Exchange.

It is possible however to over-ride the auto-discovered web services directory with a user specified setting as follows:

Consider upgrading to our latest service release (available from

Add a sting value to the registry key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\ActiveSubscriberService\Parameters Add a REG_SZ value 'EWS URL' with value 'https://EWSSERVER/ews/exchange.asmx'

Where EWSSERVER is the hostname of your EWS server (which is usually the hostname you use for OWA).

The EWS URL should normally match what you would see running Get-WebServicesVirtualDirectory in the Exchange Management Shell command line, but some networks do not seem to return a useable URL.

Administrative groups which allow multiple users to manage all lists (ListServer Managers) or a given list ([List Name] Managers) need to be mail enabled.

The documentation for the ListServer Managers group suggests that the group can be either a Distribution Group or a Security Group. But if the group is a Security Group, the group needs te be "mail enabled" in order to work with the list management capability in Active Subscriber. To mail enable a distribution group, you can use the Exchange Management Console (see

The installer needs to run with full administrative permissions.

Open a new console window with "Run as administrator". From the console window, change to the directory containing the MSI.

Run the installer with the following command:
msiexec /i "activesubscriber.msi"

Download our latest service release ( or later). Service releases can be found here.

Versions of Active Subscriber prior to cannot process command messages with certain kinds of attachments, the messages will be "stuck" in the listserver inbox and prevent the list server from continuing until the message is deleted.

The question marks mean that a pre-requisite was not checked because an earlier pre-requisite is missing. As there are dependencies on earlier pre-requisites the checker does not continue to check pre-requisites when it finds one missing. Instead it displays them with a question mark.

If you specify an incorrect password for the service account, the service will install, but you will not be able to start the service. Check the password for the service using the Window Services applet.
Sometimes these errors also occur if the service account does not have sufficient access rights. Try "emulating the list server" as described in the manual.