How to Automatically Remove Spaces from Legacy Distribution Groups for Exchange 2007 & 2010

In Exchange 2003, it was possible to create a mailNickname (aka Exchange Alias) with special characters in it such as spaces. This poses a major problem in Exchange 2010, as it does a validation on that field and if it’s invalid in any way, it considers it a corrupt object. This prevents you from upgrading the object and will also prevent Distribution Group managers from modifying their lists.

Personally, I manage an Exchange environment with thousands and thousands of groups, hundreds of which included spaces. Modifying them one at a time wasn’t an option, so I found this PowerShell script to remove them programmatically.

Simply copy this script into a text file and name the file “FixDistro.ps1.” Open up the Exchange Management Shell (make sure to Run As Administrator), navigate to the directory holding the script and type: “./FixDistro.ps1”


$DistributionGroups = Get-DistributionGroup -OrganizationalUnit "internal.domain.local/OU/SubOU" | Where {$_.Alias -like "* *"}

ForEach($DistributionGroup in $DistributionGroups) {Set-DistributionGroup $DistributionGroup.Name -Alias:($DistributionGroup.Alias -Replace " ", "")}

It should go through and change all of the Distribution Groups so that they will not have spaces in them. Please note however that if the script runs into a Distro with another special character, it will likely terminate. You can either fix that distro manually and then rerun this script or simply modify this script to replace those particular special characters.

You will get a prompt to upgrade the object to Exchange 2010. Instead of hitting a key each time, just hold down the Enter key and it will fly through them pretty quick.

About Rebecca Harness

Rebecca Harness is a Business Information Security Officer (BISO) for a publicly-traded, global information solutions company. As BISO, she champions security initiatives and recommends strategies to mitigate risk, facilitating innovation and new product development. She’s also responsible for representing the business unit’s security program in client facing engagements, conferences, and industry forums. Prior to her current role, she was an influential cybersecurity leader for one of the world’s largest transportation providers, known for transforming information security efforts into well-orchestrated programs. There, she developed an innovative methodology for delivering key information security priorities as a service model, leading to quicker adoption enterprise-wide while significantly reducing operational costs. She also led and modernized their global, multi-brand PCI Assessment and other compliance initiatives. In the early 2000’s, Rebecca developed one of St. Louis' leading Managed Services Providers from a startup in a spare bedroom into a mature consulting company with 30+ employees and 150+ clients in the Greater St. Louis Area. Rebecca holds many certifications, including; ISACA Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA); ISC2 Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP); and GIAC Security Leadership Certified (GSLC). She’s also a proud alumni of Hastings College and a longtime member of the Society of American Magicians.

2 Responses to “How to Automatically Remove Spaces from Legacy Distribution Groups for Exchange 2007 & 2010”

  1. I have tried two of your script verbatim, with of course changing the domain info in the scripts to match mine and neither of them work

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