How to Configure a Disaster Information Message in Exchange 2010 UM

Exchange 2010 Unified Messaging can be used to create a disaster information message for employees.  Typically you will have a dedicated phone number for this purpose and will advertise this number to employees on a regular basis.  When a disaster occurs a DR coordinator calls into Exchange UM and records a message for employees, giving them information and instructions.  You may want to visit Talking About Disaster for information and ideas about what to include in your disaster information message.



This article explains how to create an auto attendant for this purpose and how to configure Exchange to allow greetings to be recorded using the telephone user interface (TUI).  I assume that you already are using Exchange Unified Messaging and that it’s configured properly. 



Let’s get started.



  • Create a new enabled* Auto Attendant called “Disaster Announcement” with a Pilot Identifier for the disaster information extension.


  • Open the properties of the new auto attendant.  On the General tab, disable speech-enabled and directory enabled. 

  • Set the Business Hours Greeting and Business Hours Main Menu Prompt to use the C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\V14\UnifiedMessaging\prompts\en\Silence-250ms.wav file. This will set the prompts to silence.   Alternatively, you may want to use a WAV file saying, “There are no disasters right now. Call back later” for the Main Menu prompt. 

  • Set the Times tab to Always Run

  • Clear all the options in the Features tab. 

  • Configure a new Key Mapping called “Announcement” that runs the “Disaster Announcement” auto attendant (itself) when the user presses no key (time-out). This will cause the auto attendant to loop.  Alternatively, you can configure it to play the Silence-250ms.wav file, which will loop indefinitely until the caller gets bored of hearing nothing and hangs up. 


  • Clear all the options on the Dialing Restrictions tab and click OK to save the changes.


Then use the TUI to configure the auto attendant greeting when a disaster occurs.   Read Enable Custom Prompt Recording Using the Telephone User Interface for instructions on how to do this.

* If you create the auto attendant as disabled you will run into an interesting problem where you cannot save the AA configuration changes because the AA references a disabled AA (itself).

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