On Public Folders and what to do with them …

As a UC Consultant, I’m often called to deal with some tricky migrations but last week I was asked to deal with a complex situation.

I was visiting a customer who was still maintaining an older legacy Exchange environment because of the Public Folders and their access and this customer now wanted to move the data to the newer production environment.

Not exactly hard, you may think, until you start doing some digging through TechNet and the Exchange pages at Microsoft. You see, Microsoft have provided a set of scripts that will migrate Public Folder data from Exchange 2010 to Exchange 2013/2016.

A number of my colleagues also pointed me to this information as well but it turns out that these scripts are supported in two specific cases:

  1. Migration from Exchange 2010 to Exchange 2013/2016 in the same on-premises forest.
  2. Migration from Exchange 2010 to Exchange Online as a cross-forest migration.

Turns out that a cross-forest migration on-premises is not a supported scenario. The suggestion from the Office 365 community forums was to manually migrate the data using PST files.

Given that we were only talking about 14GB of data, that was simple enough but there were a lot of specific permissions and delegations on the folders. One of the steps given in the Microsoft documentation is to export the permissions to an XML or CSV file so a quick trip through the PowerShell ISE let me write a quick script that could read in the CSV file and apply the permissions back to the Public Folders.

So to summarise: If you’re doing a cross-forest migration of Public Folders, the Microsoft scripts are only supported in two cases; for all other migrations you should use PST files and script the permissions using the export from the legacy folders.

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