Exporting Mailboxes content using Exchange Management Console
Exchange Server 2010 brought a lot of new features to the Exchange Management Console and one of these new features is the Export Mailbox wizard, where an Administrator can work on the export process of one or more mailboxes using a simple and fast wizard.
Bear in mind that the Export Mailbox wizard won’t export to PST just to another Mailbox. We will see the process to export all content and afterwards we will see some options and daily activities using this wizard that may be helping the administrator to get its tasks done in an easier way.
This article will be based on a simple scenario, and we are going to define an account to perform all the Export operations, in our article this account will be called Auditor. Our mains goals for this new account are listed below:
- Export all content from a couple of regular users to the his account
- Export all messages send and/or received by a specific user in the last couple of months
- Remove all messages containing a specific subject/attached file from a couple of users
All process described in this article and more can be accomplished just by using Exchange Management Shell, the objective here is to demonstrate how we can accomplish such tasks using the Export Mailbox wizard. Some operations, such as: remove the data from a certain period of time or export to PSTs can only be done by Exchange Management Shell.
Assign Permissions to a Specific Account
Based on our scenario we are going to use a specific account (Auditor account) to perform the export process. The new account has two ways to have access to the Exchange Management Console: connecting through RDP on the server or installing the Exchange Management Tools on his workstation.
In this scenario I’m going to enable the Remote connection on the server. Let’s right-click on My computer and click on Properties, then let’s click on Remote Settings, then click on Remote tab and select the option Allow connection from computers running any version of Remote desktop (less secure) or the third option if you are aware which operating system your auditor is using. The second step is to open Computer Management and add our Auditor user to the Remote Desktop Users group
Now, that our Auditor is able to log on the server, let’s add him to the Mailbox Import Export role using Exchange Management Shell logged as administrator/Organization administrator (Figure 1).
RBAC allows the administrator to specify very flexible permissions if our Auditor user tries to change anything on the user level he would see the user’s properties like the picture depicted on Figure 2.
In this article we just enabled access to the Auditor using RDP to make it easier in a real life environment. I would rather spend 30 minutes installing the Exchange Management Tools on the Auditor machine joined to your domain than allowing an external user to log on your Exchange Server but it’s up to you how you can enable a user to have access to certain portions of your mail system. Also, don’t forget that Exchange Server 2010 has Remote PowerShell capabilities were if an end-user has the proper permission he can use Remote PowerShell to execute commands without installing Exchange Tools.
Exporting in a Simple Scenario
Let’s start simple and let us export all content from a couple of mailboxes to the Auditor mailbox. Logged as Auditor account on our server and we can be following these steps:
- Open Exchange Management Console
- Expand Microsoft Exchange On-Premises
- Expand Recipient Configuration
- Click on Mailbox
- Right click on the desired mailbox (es) and click on Export Mailbox…, as show in Figure 3.
Note: The user does not have the Server Configuration item and also doesn’t have any regular tasks, such as: New Mailbox, New Contact and etc.
In the Introduction page, select the mailbox that will receive the exported data from the selected mailboxes that we chose in the previous step. We can also define the Target Folder field where all data configured to be exported will be located in the target mailbox (in this example the target mailbox is the Auditor mailbox and a new folder called Export Mailbox (Anderson and Andrei) on <date> will be created and underneath that folder an hierarchy of each mailbox will be created). After defining the destination mailbox and folder name, click on Next. (Figure 4)
In the Conditions page we will have a series of options to export the data from the mailbox (es) selected in the first step. If you do not select anything then all mailbox content will be exported to the target mailbox. In the next section of this tutorial we will apply these conditions for some needs that an Auditor/Mail Administrator may have during its daily tasks or for some specific tasks required by a business need. Click on Next, as shown in Figure 5.
In the Export Options page. Now that we defined the filters that will be applied during the Export process we can define what’s going happen to the data using the Export Options section. We still have two options on the same page: how to deal with corrupted messages and set a global catalog instead of the default setting (automatic). After selecting all those options, click on Next, as shown in Figure 6.
In the Export Mailbox page (Figure 7). We will have a summary of all options that we have decided so far, click on Export to start the operation.
In the Completion page. The result of the operation will be displayed and also the cmdlet that was used during the export process, as shown in Figure 8.
The result can be seen in the Figure 9 where a new folder using the text that we defined in the first page of our previous wizard was created and a subfolder for each mailbox and the date and time when the export process occurred was added to the end of this folder.
Now it’s up to you, if you want just read the content, maybe forward the message, export to a PST using your Outlook client and give to the user but the data is already there. By the way, if you want to forward a message, and since we are talking about cool features of Exchange Server 2010, you can right click on a message and click on Forward as attachment and here we go, you have a new message and the original message attached to the new message (Figure 10 and Figure 11 show this process in detail).
Daily Tasks that can be Performed Using the Export Mailbox Wizard
Okay, now that we found how easy is to export using the Mailbox Export Wizard, let’s use the same strategy to get our goals done, as follows:
Question #01: How can I remove a specific message/file from all mailboxes?
Let’s say that a smart user found a torrent on the web and he spread the word to all your users (Figure 12), and you want to remove the message or any other message containing a *.torrent file from your mailboxes using Export Mailbox.
The solution is really simple using the Export Mailbox, just enable these options:
- In the Conditions page, select when any attachment file name contains text patterns
Add the pattern *.torrent on the link in the Step 2 of the same page.
- In the Export Options page, select delete exported contents from the source mailbox(es)
Question #02: Your manager wants all the communication between user X and Y from the last couple of months
That is also easy, just select both mailboxes that you want to track down the conversation and in the Condition page, select the option sent to recipient with specific e-mail addresses or display names and add both SMTP address on the link displayed in the Step 2 of the same page. You can be a little bit more precise and you can define the date range of the communication selecting the option Received in a specific date span and defining the start and end date.
The result of the operation is shown in the Figure 13 where we can use the advantage of the conversation feature and see the entire message in a glance.
In this article we have seen how to Export mailbox (es) using Exchange Management Console in Exchange Server 2010. We also validate some real scenarios where we can use the Export mailbox wizard to facilitate and save administration time to export/clean up mailboxes.