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Exchange 2010 Personal Archive: End the PST Nightmare!

Kenneth Spiteri

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Kenneth is an Exchange Administrator who loves to share anything he finds interesting with the rest of the community. He also helps with the administration of the site.

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Exchange 2010 Personal Archiving was one of those features that helped the latest Exchange release hit the headlines. Today we explore how to employ this feature and take a look at the advancements to be included in SP1.

If you mention PSTs to Exchange Administrators, you will see many of them cringe. Personal store (*.pst) files are used by users to store e-mails locally, instead of keeping them in their online Exchange mailbox. Very often users employ PSTs because they find themselves restricted by mailbox quotas, unaware that in the long term they are exposing themselves and the organization to a PST management nightmare (think of backups or a mailbox search spanning some 8 different files). Apart from this, there is an increased risk of data theft and increased electronic discovery cost as a result of keeping these PST files in so many different locations.

Another common PST application is brick level backups with the export-mailbox cmdlet (and ExMerge in earlier Exchange versions). This also leads to similar problems inherent to email storage fragmentation.

The Personal Archive feature in Exchange 2010 (also known as an "Online Archive") aims to end the PST hell by providing an alternative online storage location where historical e-mail data can be stored. Using Outlook 2010 or Outlook Web App, users will be able to see a secondary mailbox along side their primary mailbox to which they can drag and drop e-mails (and PST files!) as they please. The administrator can also set retention polices to move or delete e-mails after a given period of time. What's more is that this mailbox has a seperate quota - called an "archive quota" - separate from the quota for the primary mailbox.

The rest of this article will explain how to enable and disable the Personal Archive, setup an archive quota, and configure retention tags and retention policies to automatically move e-mails into the Personal Archive.

Enabling and Disabling the Personal Archive

To create a new mailbox and enable the personal archive feature; from the Exchange Management Console, navigate to Recipient Configuration, right click the Mailbox node and select "New Mailbox". This will launch the New Mailbox wizard.

New Mailbox

Follow the wizard until you get to the Archive Settings page where you will be asked to select whether you want to create an archive mailbox for this new account. Select this checkbox and press Next to start the mailbox creation process.

New Mailbox Archive

The "Create an archive mailbox for this account" option simply runs a Powershell cmdlet with the "-Archive" parameter in the background.

To create a new mailbox and set it with the personal archive feature enabled, from the Exchange Management Shell execute the cmdlet:

New-Mailbox -UserPrincipalName -Archive -Database "Mailbox Database" -Name JenniferPeach -Password "pa55w0rd" - FirstName Jennifer -LastName Peach -DisplayName "Jennifer Peach" -ResetPasswordOnNextLogon $True

This is basically the same cmdlet you would run when creating a normal mailbox via the powershell, but includes the "-Archive" parameter. We set the "ResetPasswordOnNextLogon" to "$true" so that the next time this new user logs on, they will be prompted to change their password.

Enabling or disabling the personal archive feature on an already existing mailbox is easy.

To do this via the Exchange Management Console:

  1. Navigate to Recipient Configuration | Mailbox
  2. Right click on the mailbox you wish to add an archive mailbox for and select "Enable Archive"
  3. You will be presented with a prompt explaining how online archives are a premium feature that are only available when using an Enterprise license. Click OK to proceed.
  4. You will notice that the icon for this user's mailbox changes. This indicates that the mailbox has the online archive feature enabled.

Mailbox Icon

To disable the personal archive feature, simply right click on the user's mailbox and select "Disable Archive".

To do this via the Exchange Management Shell:

  1. Execute the cmdlet:

    Enable-Mailbox "Rachel Peach" - Archive

    "Rachel Peach" would be the name of the mailbox for which you want to enable the personal archive feature.

  2. If successful, you will be presented with the details of that mailbox (as shown below):

Enable Archive

To disable the personal archive feature, use the following cmdlet:
Disable-Mailbox "Rachel Peach" -Archive

Once you have enabled the personal archive feature, you can change the Personal Archive mailbox display name that appears within Outlook or the Outlook Web App by following the instructions below.

From the Exchange Management Console:

  1. Right click on the user's mailbox and select Properties
  2. From the Mailbox Features tab, select the Archive feature and click the Properties button
  3. Edit the name of the archive mailbox and press OK and then OK again to close the Properties dialog.

Set the Archive Name

Setting an Archive Quota

Currently, you cannot set the Archive Quota from the Exchange Management Console. However, you can set the Archive Warning Quota. To do this:

  1. Navigate to Recipient Configuration | Mailbox
  2. Right click on the mailbox you want to configure and select Properties
  3. In the Mailbox Settings tab, select Archive Quota and click the Properties button
  4. Enable the "Issue warning at (MB):" checkbox and enter a value
  5. Press OK and then OK again to close the Properties dialog.

To set the Archive Quota from the Exchange Management Shell, run the following cmdlet:
Set-Mailbox "Rachel Peach" -ArchiveQuota 2GB -ArchiveWarningQuota 1GB

...and of course to set the quota for all mailboxes in a store:
Get-Mailbox -Database | Set-Mailbox -ArchiveQuota 2GB -ArchiveWarningQuota 1GB

User Comments - Page 1 of 1

Alexander Zammit 2 Aug 2010 02:36
The archive is different from your main mailbox because of the fact that the Exchange server deals with it differently. This is really what this article is all about.

If you prefer to have the archive out of Exchange you are not alone, your best option is to go for 3rd party solutions.
ExchangeGenie 2 Aug 2010 00:00
If your both are mailboxes and they will be reside on same server or either on different servers then what is different between mailbox and archive mailbox as both are mailboxes and i think as a mailbox both have same advantages and features.
Adam Toth 7 Jul 2010 05:30
PST's purpose was the speed: it is on the local computer. But Online Archive is the same as the Exchange Mailbox: both of them are on the server, and the network is never such fast than the local machine.
ProgentCT 2 Jul 2010 16:12
You don't need an enterprise server license for Archiving. Just the enterprise CAL (in addition to the standard cal). So, + 30/user.
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