Step 5: Use Exchange 2007 public folders for extended email archiving

Create Exchange Server 2007 public folders, adjust storage limit settings, and configure a mail-enabled folder for long-term email archiving and retention.

Microsoft has de-emphasized the use of public folders in Exchange Server 2007. However, sometimes they can be a good option for long-term message archiving. In this part of the tutorial, I explain how to use the Exchange Management Console to create a public folder store, and then switch to the Exchange Management Shell to create an individual folder that will act as a message repository.

To create a public folder store in the Exchange Management Console:

  1. Open the Exchange Management Console and navigate through the console tree to Server Configuration -> Mailbox. The top half of the details pane will display all Exchange 2007 servers in your organization.
  2. Select your server from the list, and the bottom half of the details pane will display the storage groups and stores contained on the server.

  3. Click New Storage Group from the Actions pane to launch the New Storage Group wizard. This wizard prompts you to enter a name for the new storage group and verify the paths for the system and log files. You also can enable Local Continuous Replication (LCR) for the storage group, which is a good idea if you have the system resources available.
  4. Click New to create the new storage group.
Now you can create a public folder store within the storage group. Keep in mind that Exchange 2007 only lets you create one public folder store per server.

To create a public folder store within the storage group:

  1. Select the newly created storage group, and choose the New Public Folder Database link found in the Actions pane. This will launch the New Public Folder Database wizard.
  2. Enter a database name and click New to create it.
  3. After creating the necessary public folder database, you can create a folder to archive messages. To do this, switch to the Exchange Management Shell and create a public folder named Contoso Archives by entering:

    New-PublicFolder –Name "Contoso Archives"

You'll notice that the command doesn't specify a server name. As such, the Exchange Management Shell checks to see if the local server is running Exchange 2007. If it has a public folder database installed, the public folder is created on the local server. Otherwise, Exchange will look at site costs to determine the closest Exchange 2007 server that contains a public folder store. It will then install the public folder on that server.

Adjusting public folder settings

After creating the necessary public folder on Exchange 2007, you should adjust some settings so that the public folder meets your needs. Public folders in a public folder tree have default, built-in storage limits. You can adjust these limits at either the store level or public folder level. If you don't have other public folders in the store, set the limits at the store level. To do so:

  1. Right click on the public folder store and select Properties.
  2. Select the Limits tab to see storage limits.
  3. If your goal is long-term message archival, you don't want storage limits hindering you. Therefore, deselect the storage limit-related checkboxes. There also is a checkbox that you can use at the bottom of the properties sheet to set an age limit on items in the public folder store.

  4. If you want to retain archived items for five years, select the Age limits checkbox and enter 1782 -- the number of days to retain database items.

All settings on the properties sheet apply to the database as a whole — not to individual folders. Implementing these settings at the database-level works if you only have one folder in the database. If your database contains multiple folders, then you will need to configure the individual folder directly. You can remove storage quotas from an individual public folder by opening the Exchange Management Shell and entering:

Set-PublicFolder –Identity "\Contoso Archives" –UseDatabaseQuotaDefaults: $False

Configure a mail-enabled folder

More on email archiving in Exchange 2007:
Email-archiving ebook: Planning, policies and product selection

How to set up a Deleted Items Retention policy for Microsoft Outlook

A primer on Exchange 2007 server roles

How to set up Exchange Server 2007 transport rules

Now that we've configured the public folder, it's time to create the mail-enabled folder. You want to mail-enable the folder so that you can use a transport rule to email copies of any message containing a reference to the Contoso project to the folder. This will allow the message to be stored in a secure location for five years.

Mail-enabling a public folder also involves using the Exchange Management Shell. Under normal circumstances, you would mail-enable the public folder by entering:

Enable-MailPublicFolder –Identity "\Contoso Archives"

In this case, however, you want to go a step further and mail-enable the public folder to hide it from the address list. This keeps the public folder's contents free from messages that aren't directly related to the Contoso project. If the folder were to appear in the Global Address List (GAL), then users could include the folder in email blasts that were intended for everyone in the company.

Rather than risk pollution, it's better to prevent the folder from being added to the Global Address List initially. To mail-enable a public folder to prevent it from appearing on the GAL, open the Exchange Management Shell and enter:

Enable-MailPublicFolder –Identity "\Contoso Archives" –HiddenFromAddressListsEnabled $True

These commands enabled the public folder, but we didn't assign an email address to the folder. Exchange 2007 creates an email address automatically. To see how this works, enter the following command into the Exchange Management Shell:

Get-MailPublicFolder –Identity "\Contoso Archives"

You will see results similar to those displayed in Figure 14.

Exchange 2007 Get-MailPublicFolder command
Figure 14: The Get-MailPublicFolder command retrieves information related to mail-enabled public folders.

Upon entering this command, the Exchange Management Shell provides you with an alias and a full identity for the mail-enabled public folder. You can combine the alias with your domain name to obtain the folder's email address.

For example, the alias is Contoso_Archives, and the name of my internal domain is Therefore, the email address for this public folder would be

To complete this procedure, modify transport rules so that they point to the email address associated with the public folder. Messages that would normally be sent to conventional mailbox will be directed instead to the public folder.

Email archiving and retention with Exchange 2007 managed folders

 Home: Introduction
 Step 1: Create Exchange 2007 managed folders for email retention
 Step 2: Define email-retention limits for Exchange 2007 managed folders
 Step 3: Set email storage quota limits on Exchange 2007 folders
 Step 4: Configure transport rules to auto-archive Exchange 2007 email
 Step 5: Use Exchange 2007 public folders for extended email archiving

Brien M. Posey, MCSE
Brien M. Posey, MCSE, is a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional for his work with Exchange Server, and has previously received Microsoft's MVP award for Windows Server and Internet Information Server (IIS). Brien has served as CIO for a nationwide chain of hospitals and was once responsible for the Department of Information Management at Fort Knox. As a freelance technical writer, Brien has written for Microsoft, TechTarget, CNET, ZDNet, MSD2D, Relevant Technologies and other technology companies. You can visit Brien's personal Web site at

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