FreeDocs in Exchange 2003

Something that I noticed a while back when upgrading servers to Exchange 2003 is that some messages with attachments could not be opened in OWA 2003. When attempting to open certain messages, a 403 Forbidden error was received. It turns out that this is actually a security feature of Exchange 2003. Let me explain.

You may be aware of the ability to drag and drop files from a folder directly into an Exchange public folder. These files become what are termed FreeDocs. As such, they are different to files that are attached to a message via Outlook and posted to a public folder. In Exchange 2000, browser access to FreeDocs was permitted; in Exchange 2003, this facility has been disabled by default.

If you require this functionality to be enabled, a simple registry key can be enabled on your back-end mailbox server. First, navigate to:


Add a DWORD of EnableFreedocs with a value according to the following list:

0 = Freedocs are inaccessible in OWA. This is the default setting.
1 = Freedocs are accessible in OWA but only when accessed by the back-end server.
2 = Freedocs are accessible in OWA but only when accessed by the back-end server or via the front-end server with a host header that matches an entry in the registry value AcceptedAttachmentFrontEnds
3 = Freedocs are accessible everywhere.

Account Deleted on December 16, 2003 at 06:29 AM in Useful Info
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Posted by: Just Me at Dec 16, 2003 8:29:48 PM

But I don't need to see Siggy's post! I've got the registry hack right here! :-)

Posted by: Neil Hobson at Dec 17, 2003 1:16:14 AM

Well, I just wanted to point out that it would have been nice to give credits.

It has been posted many times on the newsgroups, not only by this guy.

Posted by: Just Me at Dec 17, 2003 3:03:01 AM

I didn't get the registry key from anyone on the newsgroups! But that's a fair comment about credits, which is something I always try to do on posts to this blog. In this case, thanks go to Paul Bowden of Microsoft!

Posted by: Neil Hobson at Dec 17, 2003 3:07:04 AM