Managing Personal Archive in Exchange Server 2010 (Part 3)

If you would like to read the other parts in this article series please go to:

Managing disconnected personal archive…

Let’s say that we have a user with a couple of items in his/her Personal Archive mailbox, and we are going to disable the feature. Basically, open Exchange Management Console, expand Recipient Configuration, click on Mailbox, select the desired user and right-click on the user and then click Disable Archive. A dialog box requesting confirmation will be displayed, just click on Yes. The first thing that we will notice is that the icon of the mailbox will come back to the regular mailbox icon. A second thing is that the Archive shows up as disconnected on the mailbox server where the archive was originally located, as shown in Figure 01.  From the end-users perspective the Personal Archive item in the mailbox is gone without calling for any manual interaction from the users’ side.

Figure 01

If you want to disable the feature using Exchange Management Shell, just run Disable-Mailbox <MailboxName> -Archive and type Y to confirm the operation.

All disabled mailboxes and archives will be kept in the Disconnected Mailbox of the Mailbox Server. If a disabled mailbox is not showing up on the list wait a little bit or you can force the refresh by running the Clean-MailboxDatabase <Mailbox-Database-Name> cmdlet.

A simple way to recover from that scenario is to go to Exchange Management Console, Recipient Configuration, Disconnected Mailbox, right-click on the disconnected Archive from the list and then click on Connect to Primary Mailbox. A dialog box like the one shown in Figure 02 will be displayed, just click on Yes and we are all set. The user can open a new Outlook Web App or Outlook and the archive will be there with all data in it. By the way, after clicking on yes a warning will be informing you that the replication must take place before the user can actual use the mailbox, just click on OK.

Figure 02

Okay, we saw a simple scenario but in some other scenarios we have to go a little bit further than the regular reconnect process and make sure that we have the information that is on the disconnected mailbox/archive is available to different users. Let’s go over a couple of scenarios where you must use PowerShell to get the expected results, as follows:

Scenario #01: User Jose was disabled/removed from the organization and after that his manager request access to his old data and the mailbox of the manager is Sheldon.

In order to get this done the first step is to list all disconnected mailboxes from the server where the mailbox was removed. This step is important because we are going to get all the necessary information that is required for the next step.

Get-MailboxStatistics –Server <ServerName> | where { $_.DisconnectDate –ne $null } | Select DisplayName,MailboxGuid,Database

Now that we have identified the disconnected mailbox, we are going to restore the information using the previous information. We are going to use Jose’s entry to the destination mailbox (Sheldon), an important point here is that the destination mailbox must have archive enable before running the following cmdlet:

New-MailboxRestoreRequest –SourceDatabase <Database> -SourceStoreMailbox <MailboxGuid> -TargetMailbox <Mailbox> -TargetIsArchive –AllowLegacyDNMismatch

Then, we can monitor the process running the Get-MailboxRestoreRequest cmdlet. The entire process can be seen in the Figure 03. The result is that the destination mailbox (Sheldon) will have all Jose’s mailbox information in its archive.

Figure 03

Scenario #02: A user (Lidi) had his archive disabled previously, and we need to connect that disconnected archive to another user’s archive (in this example the other user is our friendly Darth Vader).

The procedure is exactly the same of the previous scenario, however, in this one we are restoring data from a disconnected personal archive instead of a mailbox to another user. After finishing the process we are going to have a copy of all data on Darth Vader’s mailbox. Since, we are in fact restoring data we still have the disconnected object which can be reconnected to the original user at any time, the entire process can be seen in Figure 04.

Figure 04

Migrating data to the Personal Archive…

There are several ways to import data to the Personal Archive. In this section let’s go over a couple of tasks that can help you develop your strategy of migrating data to the new Personal Archive feature.

Figure 05

Let’s start with the easy way which is just drag and drop data from the PST to the Archive. You can do a fancier task, which is right clicking the folder that you want to move and select Copy Folder or Move Folder. A dialog box will show up (Figure 06), just select the Archive location and click OK. It may take a while depending on the folder size.

Figure 06

The third option is also done at the user level using the Export Wizard to copy all content from a PST to a Personal Archive. If you select the top level node while exporting a PST, you will be assuring that all data will be moved to the Personal Archive. The downside of this solution is that with larger PSTs, where the process may take hours to complete. These are the steps that can be used to use the export wizard from an Outlook 2010 client:

  1. Logged on Outlook check for the Mailbox, Personal Archive and PSTs on the left
  2. Check where the PST file(s) is/are located (right-click on the PST and click on Data File Properties…, Advanced button, and memorize the location of PST that is displayed in the Filename field (Figure 07)

Figure 07

  1. Click on Cancel, and Cancel again. Right-click again on the PST and click on Close <PST Name>, where <PST Name> is the name of your PST.
  2. Click on File, Open and then click on Import (Figure 08)

Figure 08

  1. In the Import and Export Wizard, select Import from another program or file, as shown in figure 09.

Figure 09

  1. In the Import to a file page. Select Outlook data file (.pst) and click Next
  2. In the Import Outlook Data File page. Select the PST file from Step 2, and click Next.
  3. Select the folders or the entire PST by clicking on the first item, and select the Archive item and click on Finish, as shown in Figure 10. The import process will start, time to grab a coffee (if it is a large PST you may consider going to the cafeteria across the street) and wait the process to finish.

Figure 10


We went through some processes how to move data from a PST to a Personal Archive and how we can reconnect or get the data that is still located in disconnected mailboxes.

In our next and final article of this series, we are going to see an easier way to manage PSTs using cmdlets on the server side to move data into the Personal Archive of our users, also we are going to check how we can use MRM with Personal Archives and how to prevent users to start using PSTs through Group Policies.

If you would like to read the other parts in this article series please go to:

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