Upgrading to Exchange 2013 and use Public Folders in your environment? The FAQ below will be of interest to you.


In the past, the Exchange team has said that it would be de-emphasizing Public Folders.  What is the plan for Public Folders going forward?

o   Public Folders are important to us and our customers.  We think they are the best way to archive distribution lists; as such, we do not plan to remove public folders, but instead we are investing in them.  Management of public folders will be integrated into the Exchange Administration Center (EAC), and public folders will be enhanced with the same backup and high availability architectural benefits that Exchange provides for email and calendars.

  • How will migrating public folders into public folder mailboxes work?
    • The public folder migration process will involve several steps:
      • Prior to migrating, customers will need to check that all required pre-requisites are in place and no existing public folder migrations are already in process. Then, administrators will need to execute remote PowerShell scripts which collect folder names, size and other data which are passed onto the migration cmdlet.
      • Customers will then be able to trigger the start of migrations using the ‘*-PublicFolderMoveRequest’ cmdlet set. The public folder migrations are online moves.  Once the public folder databases complete the replication process, the migration request can be finalized by the administrator. During this process, users will be locked out of the legacy public folder database temporarily until after the finalization process is completed.
      • Then, the administrator can validate the public folder hierarchy on the destination public folder mailbox and users will be able to access modern public folders.
  • During public folder migrations, will users still have access to legacy Exchange 2010 public folders? 
    • Yes; users will not be pointed to the new Exchange public folder mailboxes until the migration has been completed. Users on the next release of Exchange can access the new Exchange public folders once migration is completed. Exchange Server 2013 users can access legacy public folders but Exchange 2007 or Exchange 2010 users cannot access Exchange Server 2013 modern public folders so we recommend that public folders not be migrated until all users and mailboxes have been moved to the new Exchange.
  • Is there bi-directional synchronization between legacy public folders and new public folders?
    • No, there is no bi-directional public folder synchronization. Legacy source public folders are active until the online move process is completed and auto suspend state is reached. After this point, users can be locked out from the legacy public folders as the delta content is synchronized to the new destination public folders as part of the finalization process of the migration.
  • How will the public folder migration work to disseminate legacy public folders into separate public folder mailboxes?
    • One of the public folder migration steps uses a PowerShell script to generate a mapping of the legacy source public folders to new public folder mailboxes. This mapping is generated in CSV format and administrators will be able to place specific folders into public folder mailboxes as needed by editing the CSV file.
  • When migrating public folders, can I specify which public folder database server the content should get pulled from?
    • Exchange chooses the hierarchy from the specified source server. Any folder content residing on that source server is picked. For folders that may reside on different servers, the Exchange migration process will check the list of servers the folders are available on and pick the one for which there is already an open connection.
  • Until you do the final public folder migration switchover, are the legacy public folders still active?
    • Yes, legacy public folders are still active until you reach the migration finalization phase.  At that time, delta content gets synchronized to the new destination public folder mailboxes. Users may have interruptions in accessing legacy public folders at this time, but afterwards users will be directed to the destination modern public folder mailboxes once finalization is complete.
  • Can public folder migration introduce too much load on my source server and impact the end user experience?
    • We will provide performance guidance and recommendation for customers conducting public folder migration. Some of these recommendations include:
      • Picking the source server which has the least amount of folders or users connecting to it.
      • When migrating legacy public folders to new public folders on-premises, specifying the source server that is closest to the destination Exchange 2013 server and one that has the largest number of folder replicas.
      • When migrating to Exchange Online, specifying the source server as the machine which has maximum bandwidth connection for faster migrations.
  • Will migrations fail if a public folder administrator has left and there are orphaned public folder permissions?
    • The current behavior is to ignore orphaned permissions which are not copied to the destination. Exchange administrators can proactively look for orphaned folder permissions using the ‘Get-PublicFolderClientPermissions’ cmdlet and assign the appropriate permissions to the folder prior to migration so that they are no longer orphaned.
  • Do legacy system folders get migrated as part of a new public folder migration?
    • Yes, system folders are migrated with the exception of deprecated system folders such as ones of Offline Address Book and Free/Busy information.
  • What public folder management GUI will be available in the Exchange Administration Center (EAC)?
    • There will be new public folder mailbox and management GUI in the Exchange Administration Center (EAC) but there currently is no GUI for public folder moves. Customers will need to use PowerShell cmdlets in order to move public folders.
  • What about eForms and other types of content usually associated with public folders? Will those work?
    • Yes, eForms are supported with public folders for the next release of Exchange.
  • Will new public folder mailboxes be hidden from the GAL?
    • Yes, only the new public folders themselves are accessible and viewable by clients.
  • If I have a very large public folder hierarchy (for example, 200 GB), would I need to create a single public folder mailbox that is the same size (for example, 200 GB)?
    • No, you do not need a public folder mailbox of the same size or in that example, a 200 GB public folder mailbox for a hierarchy of the same size.  It will fit into a much smaller mailbox. In the next release of Exchange, the hierarchy corresponds to folder records and each record is typically only a few KB in size. Approximately a million records take up 1 GB worth of storage.
  • If a large legacy public folder hierarchy is getting migrated, wouldn’t finalization of the public folder migration process cause users to be locked out of being able to use public folders for a long time?
    • Administrators can force a delta sync of legacy public folders to new public folders before the finalization process. This will help keep the finalization process time short. Administrators can force this synchronization with the following cmdlet: ‘Resume-PublicFolderMigrationRequest \PublicFolderMigration’
  • If I have a large public folder deployment in Exchange 2010, can I migrate content to new public folder mailboxes during the work week and then do the migration finalization and delta sync over the weekend so users are only locked out of the legacy public folders over the weekend?
    • Yes, this is recommended in order to mitigate impact to your end users.  Also, administrators can force a delta sync of legacy public folders to new public folders before the finalization process. This will help keep the finalization process time short and minimize inaccessibility of public folders to end users during this migration process. Administrators can force this synchronization with the following cmdlet: ‘Resume-PublicFolderMigrationRequest \PublicFolderMigration’
  • Which Outlook clients will be supported for public folders in the next release of Exchange?
    • New public folder mailboxes are not visible to end users and clients; only the public folders themselves are viewable by end users. Administrators will be able to view public folder mailboxes using remote PowerShell cmdlets or the Exchange Administration Center (EAC). At this time, end users will be able to view new public folders in the latest versions of Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010, as well as the next release of Outlook.

§  Why aren’t Public Folders available in Outlook Web App?

o   Public Folders are a critical part of the Outlook experience for many of our customers and we plan to update Outlook Web App to include Public Folders in a future service update.