Export messages from a user mailbox and import them to the user’s Exchange Online Archiving (EOA) mailbox

This document is for customers who migrated to Exchange Online Archiving (EOA) from Exchange Hosted Archiving (EHA) and have an on-premises Exchange Server deployment.

In organizations that use cloud-based archives for on-premises primary mailboxes and that were migrated from EHA, messages are captured by the Journaling agent for archiving into the user’s cloud-based archive in Exchange Online. If messages sent or received by a user are not journaled to the user’s EOA mailbox due to misconfiguration or outages, you can use this procedure to capture messages for journaling by:

  1. Exporting messages received between specified start and end dates, when journaling did not occur, to a .PST file
  2. Importing the messages to the user’s EOA mailbox so they are archived and available for eDiscovery.

The tool you use to export messages from the user’s on-premises mailbox will differ based on the version of Exchange Server the user mailbox resides on. The following table defines which tool you should use based on your version of Exchange Server.

Exchange Server Version

Tool used to export messages

Exchange Server 2010

New-MailboxExportRequest cmdlet

Exchange Server 2007

Export-Mailbox cmdlet

Exchange Server 2003

ExMerge

 

After you have exported messages to .PST files, you can use the free PST Capture tool to import them to the user’s mailbox in Exchange Online.

Note: The current version of PST Capture allows you to enumerate only 1000 users.

Preserve messages required to be archived

To preserve messages that were not journaled you must extend the Deleted Item Retention period to the number of days from when messages were not journaled (the start date) until you have exported the mailbox content. For example, if the start date is July 1st, 2012 and you will complete exporting messages on Dec. 31st, you must have in place a Deleted Item Retention period of at least 183 days. Note that the default setting for Exchange Server 2003 is seven days and for Exchange Server 2007 and 2010 it is fourteen days. You must extend this setting before the messages are purged at these default settings. Extending the retention period after an outage has been in progress beyond the current setting does not save messages that have already expired.

Configure Deleted Item Retention for Exchange 2007 and Exchange 2010 users

You can configure the Deleted Item Retention period on a mailbox database or on individual mailboxes. For more information, see the following topics:

Additionally, if your on-premises mailbox is on an Exchange 2010 Mailbox server, you can enable Single Item Recovery (SIR) for the mailbox. This preserves a copy of the original item even if the user or a process tries to modify it or permanently delete it. For more details, see Understanding Recoverable Items. To enable Single Item Recovery, see Enable Single Item Recovery for a Mailbox.

Configure Deleted Item Retention for Exchange 2003 users

If your on-premises mailboxes are on Exchange 2003, configure Deleted Item Retention on each mailbox database in Exchange 2003:

  1. Start Exchange System Manager.
  2. Select the mailbox database you want to configure and go to the Properties page.
  3. On the Limits tab, enter the desired value in the Keep deleted items for (days): field.

Note: You must configure Deleted Item Retention period on all mailbox databases on which the affected users’ mailboxes reside.

Export messages

For Exchange 2010 mailboxes you can export messages from user mailboxes.

What you need:

  • The list of mailboxes from which you want to export messages
  • The start date and end date during which messages were not journaled to users’ Exchange Online mailboxes.

Export messages from an Exchange 2010 mailbox

If your users’ primary mailbox is located on an Exchange 2010 Mailbox server in your on-premises organization, use this procedure to export messages to a PST file.

Before you begin

  • The maximum .pst file size supported by Outlook is 50 gigabytes (GB). Therefore, we recommend that you don't import a .pst file larger than 50 GB. You can create multiple .pst files for mailboxes larger than 50 GB by specifying specific folders to include or exclude or by using a content filter.
  • Importing and exporting mailbox data may take several hours depending on file size, network bandwidth, and MRS throttling.
  • The account you use to perform this procedure must be delegated the Mailbox Import Export management role in your on-premises Exchange 2010 deployment. By default, this role is not assigned to any user or group, including Organization Administrators.
  • Use this command to assign the Mailbox Import Export management role to a security group (recommended):

New-ManagementRoleAssignment <name of role assignment> –Role “Mailbox Import Export” –SecurityGroup <name of security group>

    For more details, see Add a Role to a User or USG.

  1. Create a file folder on your Exchange 2010 mailbox server, a file server or on your admin workstation running Windows. This folder will be used to hold the exported .PST files. Restrict folder permissions so only authorized personnel who require access to the folder for the purpose of exporting or importing .PST files have access to it.
  2. Share the folder and assign the Exchange Trusted Subsystem group read/write permissions to the shared folder. If you don't grant this permission, you will receive an error message stating that Exchange is unable to establish a connection to the target mailbox.
  3. Use this command to export messages from the user’s mailbox.

New-MailboxExportRequest –Mailbox Tony –ContentFilter {Received –gt 01/01/2012 –AND Received –lt 03/31/2012} –FilePath \\SERVER01\PSTFileShare\Tony.pst

You can also perform a bulk export by using the Get-Recipient cmdlet with a filter – for example, department name, to get a list of mailboxes and then pipe the results to the New-MailboxExportREquest cmdlet.

This example retrieves mailboxes from the Sales department and exports them to the shared folder \\SERVER01\PSTFileShare. Each user’s alias is used to name the .pst file for that user.

$folder = “\\SERVER01\PSTFileShare\”

Get-Recipient –Filter {RecipientType –eq “Sales” –AND Department –eq “Sales”} | For-Each {$mb=$_; write-host “Exporting:” $mb.name; $filename = $folder + $mb.alias + “.pst”; New-MailboxExportRequest –Mailbox $mb –ContentFilter {Received –gt 01/01/2012 –AND Received –lt 03/31/2012} –FilePath $filename}

You can also perform a bulk export by retrieving members of a distribution group and creating a mailbox export request for each user. If the users are not a member of an existing distribution group, you can create a new distribution group for the purpose of creating mailbox export requests and then remove the distribution group if it is no longer required.

Important: Before you use this command to create mailbox export requests for each member of a distribution group, make sure the distribution group membership reflects the mailboxes from which you want to export messages.

Get-DistributionGroupMember “Distribution Group Name” | For-Each {$mb=$_; write-host “Exporting:” $mb.name; $filename = $folder + $mb.alias + “.pst”; New-MailboxExportRequest –Mailbox $mb –ContentFilter {Received –gt 01/01/2012 –AND Received –lt 03/31/2012} –FilePath $filename}

After creating mailbox export requests, you can monitor the status of the export requests by using the Get-MailboxExportRequest cmdlet. The cmdlet will output the status of each request.

For more details, see Mailbox Import and Export Requests and Create a Mailbox Export Request in Exchange 2010 documentation.

 

Export messages from an Exchange 2007 mailbox

If your users’ primary mailbox is located on an Exchange 2007 Mailbox server in your on-premises organization, use this procedure to export messages to a PST file.

Before you begin:

  • The maximum .pst file size supported by Outlook is 50 gigabytes (GB). Therefore, we recommend that you don't import a .pst file larger than 50 GB. You can create multiple .pst files for mailboxes larger than 50 GB by specifying specific folders to include or exclude or by using a content filter.
  • Importing and exporting mailbox data may take several hours depending on file size and network bandwidth.
  • The account you use to perform this procedure must be delegated Exchange Server Administrators role and local Administrators group for the source server and the target server where you want to store .PST files.
  • Additionally, the account must be delegated Full Access permission on mailboxes from which you want to export data. To grant Full Access permission on a mailbox, use the Add-MailboxPermission cmdlet. For example:

Add-MailboxPermission –Identity john –User Admin01 –AccessRights FullAccess

  • You must run the command from a 32-bit computer that has the following installed:
    • The 32-bit version of the Exchange Management Tools
    • Outlook 2003 Service Pack 2 (SP2) or Outlook 2007

To export mailbox content, use this command from the Exchange Management Shell on the computer with Exchange Management Tools and Outlook installed.

Export-Mailbox -Identity <Mailbox> -StartDate "<Month/Day/Year>" -EndDate "<Month/Day/Year>" -PSTFolderPath <Path_Of_PST_Folder>\<File_Name>.pst

 

Export mailbox data from Exchange Server 2003

If your on-premises mailboxes are on an Exchange 2003 server, you can use the free Microsoft Exchange Server Mailbox Merge Wizard (ExMerge) tool to export mailbox data.

Before You Begin

 

  1. Start  the ExMerge tool and click Next.
  2. On the Procedure Selection page, select Extract or Import (Two Step Procedure) and click Next.
  3. On the Two Step Procedure page, select Step 1: Extract data from an Exchange Server Mailbox and click Next.
  4. On the Source Server page, specify the following:
    1. Microsoft Exchange Server Name Specify the name of the Exchange 2003 server where the mailboxes you want to export reside.
    2. Domain Controller (DC) and Port Number for LDAP queries: (Optional) ExMerge automatically selects a domain controller to read Exchange configuration. You can optionally specify a domain controller and an alternate LDAP port number if the DC is configured to listen on a port other than default port TCP 389.
    3. Click Options and then select the Dates tab to specify the From and To dates. Messages sent or received between the specified dates will be exported.
    4. On the Database Selection page, select the mailbox databases which contain the mailboxes you want to export data from.
    5. On the Mailbox Selection page, select the mailboxes to be exported.
    6. On the Locale Selection page, click Next.
    7. On the Target Directory page, select a directory where mailbox data will be exported.

 

 

Import .PST file data to Exchange Online

After you have exported messages from user mailboxes in your on-premises Exchange organization, you can use the PST Capture tool to import them to the users’ archives in Exchange Online. 

The current version of PST Capture allows you to enumerate up to 1000 mailboxes in Exchange Online. An updated version of PST Capture that can enumerate more than 1000 mailboxes will be made available in February 2013.

 If your organization has more than 1000 mailboxes, you can do one of the following to preserve messages until the new version of PST Capture becomes available:

  • Preserve the exported PST files until an updated version of PST Capture is available in February 2013.
  • If you are using Exchange 2010, create one or more new mailboxes in your on-premises organization and import the PST files to those mailboxes to make the messages available for eDiscovery using Multi-Mailbox Search.

Use PST Capture to import PST file data to Exchange Online

  1. Download Microsoft Exchange PST Capture from the Microsoft web site.
  2. Follow the instructions in Install PST Capture to install the PST Capture Console.

Note:  You do not need to install PST Capture agent on any client computers. The agent is used to discover PST files on client computers and copy them to a central file share. This step is unnecessary because you already know the location of the exported PST files.

  1. Follow the instructions in the Online Connection Settings section in Configure PST Capture Settings to configure the console for your Exchange Online tenant admin account.
  2. Follow the instructions in Import PSTs using PST Capture to import PST file data to Exchange Online.

Using Multi-Mailbox Search to verifying import

After you have imported PST files to Exchange Online, you can use Multi-Mailbox Search to search mailboxes to which you imported the PST data. Multi-Mailbox Search is an Exchange Online and Exchange Server 2010 feature that allows you to search multiple user mailboxes using search parameters such as start date, end date, sender, recipients and keywords. Messages matching your search query can be copied to a discovery mailbox, a special mailbox that is used to hold search results from mailbox searches. For more details, see Multi-Mailbox Searches.

When using Multi-Mailbox Search, use start and end dates that fall within the time period of the sent/received dates of messages imported to Exchange Online. If you do not specify a search query, you can copy all messages within the specified date ranges to a discovery mailbox.

We recommend that you specify relevant keywords in the search query to narrow down your search to a subset of messages imported to Exchange Online. This ensures that a smaller number of messages are copied to the specified discovery mailbox, allowing you to quickly verify if messages were imported successfully.

After the search is completed, you can access the discovery mailbox and verify that messages returned in search results were the messages you imported from PST files.

Managing PST files after a successful import

After you have successfully imported PST file data to Exchange Online and used Multi-Mailbox Search to verify that the import was successful, you can either retain the PST files securely on your on-premises file shares or remove them permanently. Data imported to Exchange Online Archiving is expired based on retention policies you configure in your Exchange Online organization and expired messages are removed permanently.

If you decide to retain PST files on your on-premises file shares, follow your organization’s security guidelines to ensure only authorized personnel have access to the file share and access is audited.