Exchange 2010 Public Folders: Part 1

This content comes from a chapter removed from my book Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 Inside Out, also available at (including a Kindle edition). For space reasons to keep the book to a reasonable size, the chapter on public folders was removed. This probably made sense as the book should really be focused on all the new technology that’s included in Exchange 2010 rather than the older stuff – and public folders have been around since 1996.

The chapter was supposed to be published as an extra that could be downloaded but that hasn’t happened to date, so here it is. Part 2 is available here and part 3 here. If you like this kind of content about Exchange Server, why not follow me on Twitter so that you receive updates when I post material.

Update: If you’re interested in upgrading to Exchange 2013 and need to migrate some public folders to the modern format (or indeed, to migrate some public folders to Exchange Online in Office 365), then you might like to read my thoughts on the migration process. Then again, you might not!


Exchange 2010 Public Folders

To me, public folders are the cockroaches of Exchange. They continue to persist despite seemingly being on the edge of extinction several times. Microsoft originally launched public folders as the cornerstone of Exchange’s collaborative capabilities, something that could take on the ability of Lotus Notes to generate end-user applications based on electronic forms. Public folders offer the ability to replicate data so that a copy is close (in network terms) to users, a feature that was tremendously important in the days of expensive and scarce bandwidth. Public folders were the way to share documents and other items across organizations and can be mail-enabled to allow users to send messages to folders, a feature often exploited to allow public folders to serve as the enduring repository for email-based discussion groups.

Many still remember the demos that Microsoft did to prove the capabilities of public folders when they were launched in Exchange 4.0. Playing chess through public folders was my favorite demo as this illustrated the power of electronic forms to gather and display data coupled with the data replication model that used email as its transport. Regretfully, EFD, the electronic forms designer utility, never moved with the times and languished as a 16-bit application that proved less than useless as Exchange evolved.

Nothing remotely similar in terms of shared storage focused on office applications existed in Microsoft’s product lineup until SharePoint 2001 appeared and even though SharePoint has evolved dramatically since then, it still doesn’t deliver quite what public folders do. Public folders are antique, undervalued, and creaking, but they act as a valuable applications platform for many companies and that’s why they are still around. Some companies have hundreds of thousands of folders in their public folder hierarchy, even if they don’t quite know what all the folders are used for, whether they still hold useful information, who created the folders in the first place, and what to do with them in the future.

Public folders and Exchange 2010

Despite their popularity in some quarters, once Microsoft launches into the development cycle for a new version of Exchange, the same question is raised whether this is the version when public folders are finally dispatched to the great byte bucket in the sky. To their credit, Microsoft listened to customers and started to invest a small amount of engineering resource into public folders in Exchange 2007 and have continued on this path in Exchange 2010. Public folders are only required in Exchange 2010 if you:

1.    Have the requirement to support Outlook 2003 clients,which cannot use web-based distribution to access OAB and free/busy data. Outlook 2007 clients are also able to use public folders in this way but Outlook 2010 clients only use web-based distribution to access OAB and free/busy data.

2.    Have applications that are based on public folders. Ten years ago, these applications were reasonably popular but recently they have become a fast-disappearing category as companies have migrated applications to more modern and functional platforms. SharePoint and InfoPath forms are an option that is often considered for the kind of forms-based applications that were deployed on top of public folders.

If you deploy a new Exchange 2010 organization, you’ll be asked by the installation procedure whether any Outlook 2003 clients (or older Entourage clients) exist inside the organization. Outlook Express and other IMAP4 clients are also able to access public folders, but they don’t depend on them for OAB and free/busy. If you need to support these clients, Exchange will create a public folder database to be used for the OAB and free/busy. If not, you’ll never see a public folder database unless you decide to create one. Clients with their mailbox on an Exchange 2010 server can only access public folders if replicas are available in a database hosted by an Exchange 2010 server. If this is not the case, clients will be told that they can’t access public folders because there is no Exchange 2010 public folder server.

It would be unreasonable to expect a dramatic increase in functionality for public folders after a decade of doubt, but it is nice to see that the code is still being maintained. In summary, public folder management is divided between two consoles and EMS:

  • The public folder management console (Figure 1) allows administrative access to the folder hierarchy, including the ability to create new folder replicas on different servers, remove folders, and mail-enable folders. No access is available to the content of public folders through the console as this feature remains the sole preserve of clients. In other words, if you want to see inside a public folder, you have to use a client like Outlook or OWA that can open a folder and view its contents. Outlook is the only client that is able to report how much storage a public folder occupies. The same is true of folder permissions. You can create a new public folder with the console but then need to revert to Outlook or EMS to set permissions.

Figure 1: Exchange 2010 Public Folder Management Console

  • The database management section of EMC allows you to create new public folder databases. Figures 2 and 3 illustrate the two screens of the New Public Folder Database Wizard. After public folder databases are created, you can update their properties such as setting storage limits, replication schedules, and limits for deletion retention and item age. Inside mixed mode organizations that support both Exchange 2007 and 2010 servers, you have to perform public folder management using the Exchange 2010 ESM because of the schema changes made in Active Directory and the Store for Exchange 2010.The situation is slightly more complex when Exchange 2003 servers are present but the same principle exists that you should manage public folder servers using the same version of the management tools as the public folder server. Replication between the different versions of servers is sufficient to keep public folder servers synchronized across the organization.

Figure 2: Creating a new public folder database

Figure 3: Specifying file locations for the new public folder database

  • Exchange 2010 SP1 includes a new Manage Public Folder Settings Wizard that you can use to set user permissions for folders and their sub-folders (Figure 4). Apart from making it much easier to manipulate public folder settings, the wizard is a good learning aid to help administrators become acquainted with the EMS cmdlets that can be used to work with public folders. For instance, to learn the proper syntax for the command to grant a user access to a public folder.

Figure 4: The Manage Public Folder Settings wizard

  • EMS offers a set of cmdlets for public folder management that underpin the features offered by EMC and the public folder management console.

An account must hold the public folder management role before it can perform any public folder management task.

Public folders continue to be organized into two sub-trees within the folder hierarchy:

  • Default public folders (the IPM_Subtree) are those available for population by client applications.
  • System public folders (the non_IPM_Subtree) are not revealed to client applications and are used by Exchange to store system data such as the OAB and free and busy data as well as the organizational forms used by Outlook 2003.

Exchange does not include the content of public folders in its content indexes. You have to use SharePoint if you need to index public folders for search purposes.

If you are used to working with public folders through EMS in Exchange 2007, you need to check any code (especially in scripts) that you have developed for this purpose because Microsoft has made a number of changes in the way that the cmdlets work.

Creating a new public folder database

Exchange 2010 creates a default public folder database if you tell the installation procedure that you need to support Outlook 2003 clients. Because DAGs don’t support public folder databases, you need to create a second database on another server if you want to replicate public folders to ensure some level of high availability. You can create a new public folder database with the New-PublicFolderDatabase cmdlet. This example creates a new public folder database on a specified server and then mounts the new database. Note that you have to tell Exchange where to place the database and transaction logs; this is a difference from Exchange 2007 where you always create a public folder database in a nominated storage group so Exchange can determine the location of the files from the default location of the storage group:

New-PublicFolderDatabase 'PubFolders1' –Server 'ExServer1' -EdbFilePath 'D:\Exchange\PF\PFDatabase.edb'
–LogFolderPath 'D:\Exchange\PF\'
–CircularLoggingEnabled $True
Mount-Database 'PubFolders1'

You can use the Get-PublicFolderDatabase cmdlet to validate that the new database exists:

Get-PublicFolderDatabase –Identity 'PubFolders1' | Format-List

The same cmdlet is used without a parameter to see all the public folder databases that exist within the organization. By default, Exchange does not return the names of public folder databases that reside on Exchange 2003 or 2007 servers, so if you want to see this information, you have to specify the –IncludePreExchange2010 parameter as shown below. The-Status parameter instructs Exchange to return information about the mount and last backup status.

Get-PublicFolderDatabase –IncludePreExchange2010 –Status

Retrieving information about all of the public folder databases in an organization can take some time to complete because of the need to access information from the different servers that host the databases. You can restrict retrieval to a specific server by passing the server name in the –Server parameter.

Get-PublicFolderDatabase –Server 'ExServer1' –Status

Adding new public folders

Now that we have a public folder database, we can populate it with folders using the New-PublicFolder cmdlet. To create a new top-level folder, we use “\” (the root) as the location. For example:

New-PublicFolder –Name 'Technical Information' –Path '\' -Server 'ExServer1'

We can then populate the sub-folders under the top-level folder that we have just created. This example creates a new public folder called Exchange 2010 under the Technical Information top-level public folder and hosts the initial replica on the server called ExServer1. Of course, you don’t have to create new public folders with EMS and many administrators will opt to create folders with Outlook so that they can use a GUI.

New-PublicFolder –Name 'Exchange 2010' –Path '\Technical Information' –Server 'ExServer1'

If you run this command on a mailbox server that has a public folder database, you can omit the server name and Exchange will create the folder in the local database. The root folder (named Technical Information in this case) must exist on the target server. To create the folder at a deeper location in the hierarchy, you pass the complete path to the folder. For example:

New-PublicFolder –Name 'Administration' –Path '\Technical Information\Exchange 2010'-Server 'ExServer1'

Retrieving information about public folders

After you create the public folder, you can check its properties with the Get-PublicFolder cmdlet. As you can see, the complete path has to be stated to allow Exchange to locate the folder:

Get-PublicFolder –Identity '\Technical Information\Exchange 2010\Administration'

A complete list of public folders under the IPM_Subtree is generated by passing the root folder as the path and including the Recurse parameter to force Exchange to traverse the hierarchy and report all folders that it finds. Recurse instructs Exchange to retrieve information about all child folders and their children. Use the –GetChildren parameter instead of –Recurse if you want to just fetch details of the child folders under the path. The two parameters are mutually exclusive. In either case, while you always work with the copy of the public folder hierarchy on the server to which you are connected, this operation can take some time to complete if the public folder hierarchy is large and might not contain any newly created folders if their details are still being replicated. As shown here, you can pipe the list to capture it in a text file.

Get-PublicFolder –Identity '\' –Recurse –ResultSize Unlimited > C:\Temp\PublicFolders.txt

Scanning a large list of folders to find a particular one can be frustrating. You can filter what Exchange returns as follows:

Get-PublicFolder –Identity '\' –Recurse | Where {$_.Name –eq 'Exchange 2010'} | Format-List

HasSubFolders                  : True
HiddenFromAddressListsEnabled  : False
IssueWarningQuota              : unlimited
LocalReplicaAgeLimit           :
MailEnabled                    : False
Name                           : Exchange 2010
ParentPath                     : \Technical Information
PerUserReadStateEnabled        : True
ProhibitPostQuota              :
Replicas                       : {PFDatabase1}
ReplicationSchedule            : {}
RetainDeletedItemsFor          :
UseDatabaseAgeDefaults         : True
UseDatabaseQuotaDefaults       : True
UseDatabaseReplicationSchedule : True
UseDatabaseRetentionDefaults   : True
HasModerator                   : False
Identity                       : \Technical Information\Exchange 2010
OriginatingServer              :

We can see that the folder has some sub-folders and we also know the path to the folder, so we can discover the set of sub-folders by running the Get-PublicFolder cmdlet using the folder path and the –Recurse parameter.

Get-PublicFolder –Identity '\Technical Information\Exchange 2010' –Recurse | Select Name, Identity | Format-Table –AutoSize

The same technique can be used to retrieve information about system public folders such as those used to hold OAB and free/busy information.

Get-PublicFolder –Identity '\Non_IPM_Subtree' –Recurse | Select Name, Identity | Format-Table –AutoSize

Two cmdlets are available to retrieve some information about public folder contents. The intention of these cmdlets is that they can be used for basic reporting purposes so that you understand what’s going on within public folders. They are not intended to provide comprehensive reports, although there is no doubt that considerable ingenuity can be exerted to create good looking and interesting reports based on the data generated by these cmdlets.

  • Get-PublicFolderItemStatistics: Provides an insight into the content that exists in a public folder by letting administrators view the item titles, size, and so on.
  • Get-PublicFolderStatistics: Provides summary information about anything from a single folder to all of the public folders known in the hierarchy, including system folders. The summary is provided in alphabetical order and includes name, the number of items in the folder, the size of the items in the folder, and the date and time of the user access to the folder.

The Get-PublicFolderItemStatistics cmdlet is new to Exchange 2010 and lists the basic details of the items in a folder. You cannot see the actual content itself without accessing the folder with a client. For example:

Get-PublicFolderItemStatistics –Identity '\Departments\Finance' | Select Subject, CreationTime, MessageSize | Format-Table –AutoSize

Subject                                         CreationTime          MessageSize
-------                                         ------------          -----------
Finance Planning Sessions – FY10                11/30/2009 6:07:44 AM 9.479 KB (9,707 bytes)
Restricting expenses                            11/30/2009 6:06:45 AM 47.9 KB (49,046 bytes)
Planning for change                             11/30/2009 6:02:20 AM 1.367 MB (1,433,576 bytes)
News about finance changes                      11/30/2009 5:56:07 AM 1.312 KB (1,343 bytes)

Moving to the Get-PublicFolderStatistics cmdlet, if you don’t pass a folder identifier, you get a summary list of all folders in the hierarchy. If you don’t specify the name of a server that hosts a public folder database, Exchange connects to the first public folder database available in the site. The LastUserAccessTime property here is of interest in order to identify public folders that have not been accessed recently by a user because these folders become candidates for deletion if you decide to clean up the public folder structure. It’s unfortunate that many public folders are created, used for a short period, and then rapidly become a repository that is accessed less and less frequently before becoming unwanted orphans that take up valuable database space. If you want to identify public folders that should be deleted, you could sort the output from the Get-PublicFolderStatistics cmdlet by the LastUserAccessTime property so that the folders that have not be accessed recently are at the top of the output. You could then contact the owners of each folder to ask whether the folder should be deleted or kept. The command to generate the report about public folder statistics sorted by last access time is:

Get-PublicFolderStatistics –Server ExServer1 | Sort-Object LastUserAccessTime | Format-Table Name, ItemCount, LastAccessTime –AutoSize

Name                                             ItemCount        LastUserAccessTime
----                                             ---------        --------------
Add-ons                                               34          12/30/2009 3:43:31 AM
Administration                                        112         12/30/2009 3:46:29 AM
Annual Budgets                                        250         12/30/2009 3:58:56 AM
Audits                                                17          12/30/2009 4:01:08 AM
Capital Expenditure                                   52          12/30/2009 4:00:56 AM

Here’s what you might see when you drill down on a specific folder. This output reveals that there is more information available about a folder than shown in the summary view.

Get-PublicFolderStatistics –Identity ‘\Departments\Finance’ | Format-List

ContactCount             : 1
CreationTime             : 11/30/2009 3:57:54 AM
DeletedItemCount         : 12
FolderPath               : Departments\Finance
ItemCount                : 533
LastAccessTime           : 12/30/2009 3:57:54 AM
LastModificationTime     : 12/30/2009 6:58:53 AM
LastUserModificationTime : 12/30/2009 5:22:30 AM
LastUserAccessTime       : 12/30/2009 5:23:30 AM
Name                     : Finance
OwnerCount               : 1
TotalAssociatedItemSize  : 0 B (0 bytes)
TotalDeletedItemSize     : 0 B (0 bytes)
TotalItemSize            : 1.426 MB (1,494,997 bytes)
DatabaseName             : PFDatabase1

We can combine the knowledge we’ve gained from the two examples to do something more useful, such as outputting some data about all folders into a CSV file that we can later manipulate with Excel to understand different aspects of our public folder deployment. For example, we might ask questions such as what the largest folder is, what folders have not been accessed in several months, and what folders are empty? Here’s how to generate the list:

Get-PublicFolderStatistics –Server ExServer1 | Select Name, ItemCount, TotalItemSize, LastUserAccessTime, LastUserModificationTime | Export-CSV 'C:\Temp\Public-Folders.CSV'

Updating public folder properties

Set-PublicFolder is the basic cmdlet used to update the properties of a public folder. Table 1 lists the properties that are most commonly altered.

Property Meaning
Age Limit Sets the age limit for all replicas of a public folder. Folders and their replicas are automatically removed when the age limit expires. Default: Not defined, meaning that folders are persistent until they are removed by an administrator.
IssueWarningQuota Sets the limit at which Exchange issues a warning to public folder owners that the folder is almost full. Default: Unlimited (database default is used)
MaxItemSize Sets the limit of the size of an item that a user can post to a folder. Default: Not set (database default is used)
PerUserReadStateEnabled Tells Exchange to maintain a read state for each user. The read state tracks whether an item has been read by a user. Default: True
ProhibitPostQuota Sets the limit at which users are no longer allowed to post items to a folder. Default: Not set (database default is used).
RetainDeletedItemsFor Sets the retention period for items deleted from a public folder. Default: Not set (database default is used – typically 14 days).

Table 1: Common public folder properties

To see the default limits for a public folder database, select it through EMC, view properties, and then click on the Limits tab (Figure 5).

Figure 5: Viewing public folder database limits

A public folder that is used as a repository for electronic forms is a good instance of when you might need to override the default database storage limits to set a maximum item size that allows the forms to be posted without allowing users to post other items. This example sets a maximum item size of 25KB and sets appropriate storage limits for a folder.

Set-PublicFolder –Identity ‘\Departments\Finance\Forms’ –AgeLimit ‘365.00:00:00’             –UseDatabaseQuotaDefaults $False –MaxItemSize 25KB –ProhibitPostQuota 500MB                 –IssueWarningQuota 465MB –RetainDeletedItemsFor ’90.00:00:00’

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About Tony Redmond

Lead author for the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook and writer about all aspects of the Office 365 ecosystem.
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112 Responses to Exchange 2010 Public Folders: Part 1

  1. Pingback: Exchange 2010 Public Folders: Part 2 | Thoughtsofanidlemind's Blog

  2. erdem ustun says: is a good article about public folder.I have a Question,

    How to create public folders with powershell from csv file which contains publicfolder’s name,username(access,read rights)…etc.

    sample csv file
    sectoral division,34567,read,
    IT\Software Enginering,8907,read,
    IT\Software Enginering\Design Division,67899,read,
    Network Division,67898,read,
    when I created first time to use this csv file without checking existing control, and after creating public folders I want to update public folders and others attribute ,have to check csv file compare to exchange public folders and if existing folders ,usercode,rights do nothing, if not exist to create,if exist public folders but usercode is different csv file update new usercode from csv file.

    can you help me about creating public folders from csv with scripting

  3. Pingback: Exchange 2010 Public Folders: Part 3 | Thoughtsofanidlemind's Blog

  4. mail maven says:

    This is a great article, Tony. I came across it while searching for information about old legacy EFD forms support in Exchange 2010. I keep telling this company they need to replace them, but so far that hasn’t happened. The forms have been replicated from Exchange 5.5 to 2003 and then to Exchange 2007, and so far they still work. We don’t have any EFD forms installed in our test org, so I cannot test whether or not they will work with 2010. Still haven’t found an definitive answer online. If you can point me to where the answer is published, it would be most appreciated.

    Thank you,
    Mail Maven

    • You know, I have no idea about EFD support. However, I think that if the forms worked with Exchange 2007 then there’s a reasonable chance that they will continue to work as before in Exchange 2010 simply because there’s been no change (that I am aware of) that would stop them functioning.


      • Hernán Guerrerp says:

        Hello, my name´s Hernan. Thanx for the article, I am new to Exchange Server, so I am learning a lot. My question is, can I migrate the Public Folder data before the instance of migrating all MX´s? May be I sound silly, but it´s a lot of info, and we need to do it fast.

        Thank you,

      • You can certainly establish Exchange 2010 mailbox servers and move public folders to them as the first part of a migration before you move mailboxes. I can’t see any reason why not.


      • Hernán Guerrerp says:

        Great! Thank you very much!! Great article, by the way.

  5. Guy In Houston says:

    Thanks for a great series of articles!
    My question is, if my company doesn’t use Personal Folders and doesn’t support Outlook 2003, I understand I can simply dismount and remove my PF Database. Is that correct?
    Looking at the properties for my mailbox databases, there’s a field for the ‘Default Public Folder Database’. Will that just be changed to blank?
    Or does the fact that my Exchange 2010 was installed with Public Folders precludes me from removing them?

  6. I’d dismount the PF database and leave it in that state for a couple of days before you deleted it, just in case. I don’t think you need to keep it around if you never need to use Outlook 2003 clients and have all the other clients accessing OAB and F/B data using Exchange web services.

    You don’t have to worry about the property of the mailbox database. That’s just used by Exchange to route clients who connect to the mailbox database to the right PF database.


  7. Bubba says:

    My public folders have been replicating from my old Exchange 2003 server to my shiny new Exchange 2010 server. I see folders dissappearing from the Public Folder Instances folder in 2003 (as discussed by the moveallreplicas script).

    There are two left, quite large (gigs), that have yet to dissappear after two days now. I tried the get-publicfolderstatistics command but that doesn’t tell me bobo about what’s really happening.

    I’ve googled and binged my brains out and can’t find a better way to truly see how many messages are left to transfer, etc. Do you know of a better way to peer into the replication (perhaps in real-time) to see just how much is left to transfer?

    I think Microsoft really dropped the ball on this and made it much harder than it needs to be buts working I guess. Thanks and great post!

  8. Bubba says:

    I understand it takes time and I’m being patient. Just curious as if there is a way to actually see it happening cause it makes me feel better. 😉

  9. vishal says:

    Hi Tony,

    i am getting error while creating public folder on exchange 2010 server
    The value of property ‘ProhibitSendQuota’ must be greater than or equal to that of property ‘IssueWarningQuota’. Prohib

    itSendQuota: ‘87.89 MB (92,160,000 bytes)’, IssueWarningQuota: ‘100 MB (104,857,600 bytes)’.
    + CategoryInfo : NotSpecified: (0:Int32) [New-PublicFolderDatabase], DataValidationException
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : 332B5E89,Microsoft.Exchange.Management.SystemConfigurationTasks.NewPublicFolderDatabase

    and edb file is not getting created, can you please tell me why its like that and from where i can change this limit for public folder. i am getting error while using set command also.

  10. Faisal says:


    I am getting a similar error as Vishal while running:

    new-publicfolderdatabase -Server ‘XXXX’ -Name ‘Pubfolder_2010’ -EdbFilePath ‘E:\Exchange Database\Public Folder.edb’ -LogFolderPath ‘E:\Exchange Database\Public Folder’

  11. Pingback: Exchange 2010 Public Folders Management - Yuval Sinay

  12. In Outlook 2003 and Exchange 2003, you could use Advanced Find to search for, say, a category in public folders and then further refine the search with More Choices and then add a field such as Business Fax=is empty to find contacts within a given category that had no fax number. In Exchange 2010/Outlook 2010, the same function yields no results. Checking the data shows that the results are wrong. Any idea how to restore this functionality in the 2010 environment?

  13. MJThaxton says:

    I have a department that is using a public folder to share contacts (over 1500). Originally, we started out with the contacts in a shared mailbox, where the department assigned custom categories (color coded) to each contact. However, they were unable to access the contacts from the address list. Microsoft recommended we move to a public folder. After we moved the contacts to a public folder, we realized the categories were added to the local mailbox (not the shared mailbox). Now I can see the categories that were assigned to the contact, but I cannot add a category to any contacts in the public folder. Also, the color coding that was assigned to the category is gone. We have Exchange 2010 and Outlook 2010. I know there are third party software products that will allow you to “sync” categories, but is there a way in Outlook to share categories between users? They are all there in the shared mailbox already, and I would really like to be able to move or import them into a public category list.

  14. Sergio says:

    Hi Tony,

    Is it possible to search FOR a public folder from an outlook client with Exchange 2010? I don’t need to search or index the contents of the folders (Well that would be nice but I know thats not possible)
    We have a few thousand Public folders and with exchange 2003 it was easy to search FOR a public folder but that doesn’t seem to work at all now. I know we can search from powershell but for our users, we can’t ask them to use powershell. Is there any way we can search in outlook for a public folder?
    Worth mentioning that we can’t download a local copy to everyone’s machines (adding to favourites) as we looking at over 40gb of data!


    • Hi Sergio,

      I don’t know the answer to your question and can’t test it here as I don’t have a copy of Outlook 2007. Outlook 2010 doesn’t seem to have the ability to search for a particular public folder either (in saying this, I’m assuming that you want users to be able to type in “ABC” to return a pointer to the “ABC” public folder).

      Is it possible for you to create a listing of all public folders and insert it as an item in the top level folder (with PowerShell this should be a matter of dumping all the folder names together with the path to each folder). That way users could open the item and search for a folder there to discover the hierarchy that they need to follow to discover the folder contents.



  15. D - UK says:

    Useful article thanks. We still have hundreds of mail enabled public folders as we use them for departmental email addresses. The reason being that they preserve each users read/unread status where shared mailboxes do not. We would dearly love to get rid of Public folders as they have caused massive replication issues in the past (down to us having far too many, we had nearly 3miilion at one point!), but this read/unread issue is still there. Can you suggest anything that can get round this as every exchange expert we have ever had has drawn a blank and we are moving to Exchange 2010 now.


    • AFAIK, the maintenance of unread/read status for items on a user-by-user basis is a feature that’s unique to public folders. I don’t know of another platform that offers the same facility that has an easy migration path from Exchange. My suggestion is to stay on the path to Exchange 2010 to get to the most modern platform and to then lobby your Microsoft representative to ensure that your needs are made known to the development group. I hear some whispers that improvements might be possible in the next release of Exchange, but that will only happen if Microsoft is convinced that it is worth their while to do the work as a response to customer demand.


  16. Madhesh says:

    Hi Tonny,

    am getting below error, please advice

    Cannot display the folder. Microsoft Outlook cannot access the specified folder location. Network problems are preventing connection to Microsoft Exchange

    In my Microsoft Exchange RPC Client Access service is running state only.

  17. Tom Germiat says:

    This is an old issue, but it’s never been answered. After migrating from 2003 to 2010 18 months ago, I discovered that users were now able to create folders at the root level, which I’d been able to explicitly deny in 2003. The small amount of information that speaks to the issue all ends in failure, with no one offering a resolution.

    The issue is that Default is (by default) set to PublishingAuthor:
    [PS] C:\Windows\system32>get-PublicFolderClientPermission -Identity “\”
    RunspaceId : 054be791-744e-4321-8e6b-28a6c962e1b4
    Identity : \
    User : Default
    AccessRights : {PublishingAuthor}

    RunspaceId : 054be791-744e-4321-8e6b-28a6c962e1b4
    Identity : \
    User : Anonymous
    AccessRights : {Reviewer}

    In an attempt to reduce the rights of “Default” it’s suggested that I first elevate another user to “Owner”. To do this I run the following command:
    add-PublicFolderClientPermission -Identity “\” -User “administrator” -AccessRights Owner

    I get the result:
    Failed to commit the change on object “\” because access is denied.
    + CategoryInfo : NotSpecified: (0:Int32) [Add-PublicFolderClientPermission], MapiAccessDeniedException
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : 6ABBF6B9,Microsoft.Exchange.Management.MapiTasks.AddPublicFolderClientPermission

    I’m at a dead end as I don’t want to lower the “Default” right without having raised another user. Is there another path I’m missing? Should I just attempt to reduce the “Default” right anyway? If I do, how will I administratively create new root level folders?

    These are all just questions.

  18. Tom Germiat says:

    I’ve tried the console. The Default Public Folder object doesn’t even show a rights dialog which seems to match the message saying I don’t have rights to “\”. Unfortunately, my user couldn’t have any more rights in the Exchange Organization, so I don’t know what else to try.

    • You seem to be between a rock and a hard place. The default access right to “\” (the folder root) seems to be “Publishing Author” and that appears to be the right that has been assigned to Administrator. This right doesn’t allow you to change the permissions, which is why you get the error when you attempt to make Administrator the owner. Is there any possibility that another account was used to deploy Exchange 2010 and might have therefore created the public folder database on the Exchange 2010 servers and taken ownership in that way? If this is the case, you might be able to use that account to reset matters.


  19. Tom Germiat says:

    I both appreciate and am horrified by your observation. The account of the person who built this Exchange installation is gone, as is that person. I’m sensing that this will be much more difficult than I first thought. Seems a pretty poor design if top-level control of rights can be lost this easily.

    Thanks again for you input.

    • One idea that’s running around in my brain is that you might be able to manipulate the permissions on the top-level folder with Exchange Web Services. I am not an expert on EWS by any stretch of the imagination but a) it’s the API that Microsoft has provided to manipulate Exchange store data and b) those that know it, such as Glen Scales who hangs out at, seem to be able to do just about anything that you care to ask. Perhaps it is worth your while asking Glen? He might even have some code to help!


  20. JimM says:

    Hi Tony,

    I am unclear on the Age Limit setting. We had a 2003 e-mail enabled public folder which had a mailbox manager rule on it that was migrated to 2010. It doesn’t appear that I can use retention policies on a 2010 PF, so the only other option I’ve stumbled across is the Age Limit setting. The description on the field seems to imply the replica will disappear after it reaches that age. I only want messages in the PF inbox older than XX days to be deleted. Do you know of a method to accomplish this?

    Thanks for your help!

    • You’re right that retention policies (or rather, the Managed Folder Assistant when it processes tags placed on items) don’t process public folders as these are designed to help manage content in user mailboxes.

      The AgeLimit parameter is defined as follows in the Exchange 2010 SP1 help (

      “The AgeLimit parameter specifies the overall age limit on the folder. Replicas of this public folder are automatically deleted when the age limit is exceeded. This parameter is mutually exclusive with the UseDatabaseAgeDefaults parameter.”

      I don’t know what you mean by PF Inbox – perhaps it’s just the name of a folder that you have created? In any case, if you set an age limit on a public folder, Exchange will remove the replicas when the age limit expires.

      There is an ItemRetentionLimit setting that is set with Set-PublicFolderDatabase, but it applies to all folder replicas in a database. I don’t see a property available with Set-PublicFolder or Set-MailPublicFolder that you could use.


  21. Glenn says:

    Tony, We recently migrated from 2003 to 2010 and when we decomissioned the old 2003 exchange server we realized the tech doing the migration did not finish the public folder re-homing. so we now have a replica of the public folders on the 2010 server but cannot access them any longer. any idea how we can re-home the public folders without having the 2003 server any longer?

    • Hi Glenn,

      I wish I had a magic bullet for you but I don’t. Situations like this require detailed examination on the ground before any progress can be made. I recommend that you involve Microsoft support as they have tools that might be able to assist. This kind of thing can be very messy and the environments differ so much from organization to organization that no one can help through comments on a blog. I wouldn’t even begin to try.


  22. Kris says:

    Hi Tony,

    Is there any way to publish the public folder to all users address book through Group Policy?


  23. Edward Scheinuk says:

    This question is not exactly in line with the others; however, it is somewhat related and I have reached a brickwall on resolution of the problem.

    We are using SearchServer Express 2010 with Exchange 2010. In our previous SSE 2008 and Exchange 2003 environment, “found” emails would include the full text of the “containing” Public Folder. In SSE 2010 and Exchange 2010, an unintelligible stream is provided instead of the previous full text. As example, for the same search parameters:

    SSE2008/Exchange2003 would show for a “found” email a location of – Corp/CY2009

    SSE2010/Exchange2010 would show –

    Stated a different way, the old SSE2008/Exchange2003 setup provided a URL that the SSE2008 user could use to separately navigate to the containing folder; i.e. the containing folder was denoted in plain english.

    Under the SSE2010/Exchange2010 setup, the URL will take you to the found item but cannot be used to identify the containing folder.

    What I am trying to accomplish is to provide a way for the SSE2010 user to obtain the containing folder path in plain english. This is important when trying to find lost or misfiled emails or just the folder containing an email conversation.

    Are there parameters which we can modify in Exchange2010 that will permit SSE2010 to show the “containing” folder information?

    • Hi Edward,

      I don’t think that you can change the way that Exchange 2010 works here. I believe that what you’re seeing is a unique identifier within the Store that OWA can use to navigate to the item. It’s probably faster using this method than the older approach because Exchange doesn’t have to interpret how to navigate through the hierarchy. This is important and good as servers and databases grow but it’s obviously not great for human beings.

      That being said, I am not tremendously familiar with SearchServer Express. Have you asked Microsoft about this issue or searched the TechNet Forums? I do see one item on this topic that concluded – it seems like they figure that this is a SearchServer issue:


      We have consulted with others who advise that SSE2010 IS returning the URL of THE EMAIL; however, because of the way that Exchange 2010 operates, the URL gives no “containing folder” path information (that is readable by ordinary humans) and hence can not be used to go to the “containing folder”.

      Again, the issue is that if are searching for information in Exchange 2010 Public Folders, it is likely that the “containing folder” of the “found” email will contain other relevant emails. Since we can only read the “found” email and are not provided with a path to navigate to the “containing folder” as was the case in Exchange 2003/SSE2008, we are at a loss.

      If you can advise whether or not the database index for Exchange 2010 stores containing folder information in a file path format, it would be helpful. Any other direction relative to Exchange 2010 would be welcome also.

      In the alternative, since “found” emails are opened in OWA, if you can advise how the “containing folder” of a “found” email can be identified while viewing the “found” email in OWA, that would solve our problem for the time being.

      Regards, BIFF

      • Edward Scheinuk says:

        Thanks for the answer though not the one that we are seeking. We have consulted with MS on SSE2010 and they point us to the Exchange 2010 folks. The Exchange 2010 folks point us to the SSE2010 folks.

        Question – if one has an email open in Exchange 2010 OWA, is there any way to determine the containing folder of that email? This is not as eloquent a solution as seeing the path in the SSE2010 hits; however, it would point to the containing folder.

        Regards, BIFF

  24. TomS says:

    I have used ReplaceReplicaOnPFRecursive.ps1 to move replicas from Exchange 2007 to Exchange 2010. After the command is complete, public folder management tool shows the replica only resides on the Exchange 2010 server when connected to the origional public folder database. When connected to the Exchange 2010 public folder database, I don’t see the replica shown when conneted to the source public folder database.

    Why would the replica not show up when connected directly to the target public folder database.

    The data is accessable but no longer lives in the source public folder database.

    • Tom,

      I’m sorry… and I may be having a bad day, but I simply don’t understand what you’re describing. I think you are saying that you have moved a set of replica folders to a PF database on an Exchange 2010 server but I lose the sense of what you are asking afterwards. Has replication completed fully? Are replicas present on both the Exchange 2007 and Exchange 2010 servers? Are these servers in the same site? What tools are you using to understand what’s going on and what are they showing you? What clients are connecting? What PF database are they set up to connect to (as per the PF database setting on the mailbox database)?

      I hate trying to debug situations at a distance and don’t do it as a rule. My guidance in these kind of situations is to ask Microsoft for support, assuming that you’re paying for a support agreement. If you are, then use the agreement and get support!


  25. Joe says:


    Great article. I do have a question for you…

    Is there a way to setup the public folders to show when there are new items sent to it? Like when a new message is received in outlook a blue (1) will show up next to the inbox folder. Can that same feature be applied to mail-enabled public folders? I have a PF setup for incoming faxes and it works, but the users don’t know any new items are posted unless they’re frequently clicking back to the folder.

    Also, when someone opens a new ‘fax email’ posted to the PF, Outlook shows them it has been read but not throughout the organization. I want users to know that a Fax has already been viewed instead of every employee with access to the PF taking action on it.

    Exchange 2010 and Outlook 2010


    • I think you want to set the PerUserReadStateEnabled property on the folder. This forces Exchange to keep a separate “unread” count for each user.

      You can set the property through the PF management console or EMS:

      Set-PublicFolder -id “\Budgets” -PerUserReadStateEnabled $True

      This will give you the unread state for a user but it won’t give you a “global” unread state in that after one user reads a fax it’s deemed to be read by everyone. That’s not the way PFs work.

  26. Edward Scheinuk says:

    Do you have any thoughts on my comments of October 11? As I see it, Exchange 2010 may use an arcane way of indexing emails; however, they do end up in “containing folders” which means that there should be a way to identify the “containing folder” of an individual email. Again, I would be happy if I could identify it in Exchange OWA.

    BTW, I purchased your book in the hope that it would shed light on the OWA matter but have not been able to find a solution as yet.

    Your thoughts?



    • I’m sorry – I really don’t have much to add. I’ve been in Frankfurt for TEC 2011 EMEA and didn’t think about the question at all. It’s possible that you could do something with Exchange Web Services to identify items and their containing folders but you’d have to wait for Microsoft to do this through OWA. Maybe you should file a request to them for a functionality update?

  27. ChanWL says:

    Hi Tony,

    We’re currently facing a situation with the Public Folders. Allow me to explain in detail.

    1. We have two Mailbox servers. MBX1 and MBX2.
    2. The Active copies of DBs 1 to 4 are hosted on MBX1 and the Active copies of DBs 5 to 8 are hosted on MBX2.
    3. There are two Public Folder databases, one hosted on MBX1 and one on MBX2.
    4. Mailboxes in DBs 1 through 4 are pointed to the Public Folder DB on MBX1.
    5. Mailboxes in DBs 5 through 8 are pointed to the Public Folder DB on MBX2.

    The situation we’re currently faced with is when a user updates a Public Folder, his colleague is unable to view those changes for some time, sometimes days in between.

    This is obviously caused by the replication schedule between the Public Folders on MBX1 and MBX2. Instead of changing the replication schedule, as some of these Folders are huge and will consume large amounts of bandwidth if we set it to Always Run, I propose the following scenario.

    1. We point all users on all DBs to the Public Folders on MBX1.
    2. The Public Folder DB on MBX2 then becomes a redundant backup, should anything happen to the DB on MBX1. It will continue receiving replication information and will just act as a backup.

    My questions on this are, does MS have any best practice recommendations for a situation of this sort? What is your opinion on the proposed change? Would MS have a more practical or simpler recommendation for us to take up?

    • Using a single PF database as the preferred landing point for all mailbox servers is OK as long as there’s no connectivity issues between the servers and the load generated will not impact the ability of MBX1 to service mailboxes.

      I don’t know if Microsoft has any best practice to offer you. Have you asked them?


  28. Info says:

    does this method work with Exchange 2010 /hosted???

  29. Info says:

    will we still be able to assign host plans under SP2? also if i unerstand correctly, the tenant administrator can manage the users from the ECP but not the Public folders for the Organization, so that will be the hosting companies responsibility.

  30. FeMail says:

    Hi Tony,
    My company wants to migrate all Exchange 2003 PFs, including custom Outlook forms, scripted workflows, and mail-enabled applications, to group mailboxes or SharePoint, because we won’t have any PFs in Exchange 2010. For the forms/apps/scripted workflows, are there any other alternative migration destinations? TechNet was not helpful.
    Thank you.

    • Hi,

      This is a difficult question because public folder applications are so different and occupy a huge spectrum of different types. Microsoft is putting its focus on SharePoint as the current migration destination of choice but I have no idea whether SharePoint can do the job that public folders do for you today. Maybe it’s worthwhile chatting with the companies that have commercial PF migration utilities available to get their thoughts on the matter? These include Quest, Priasoft, and AvePoint. In all cases I think this will be a complex, long, and costly process.


  31. kaizoman says:


    My company is using the Public Folders as a way to share and archive emails for projects. Regardless of if that was the right road to go down we are starting to have issues as some of our senior employees transition to MacBooks with Outlook 2011.

    Based on what we are seeing Outlook 2011 wants to sync the Public Folder to the laptop rather than just pull a listing of the emails in the folder.

    Do you know why that is, is there a setting we can fix on the server to stop this?

    Any other thoughts? Thanks for the great info on managing public folders.


    • Boy, you’re well ahead of my knowledge about how to use Outlook 2011 with public folders. We use Outlook 2011 here, but it’s connected to Office 365 and that doesn’t support public folders so I never see the issue. My theory is that because Outlook 2011 is built on top of EWS, it doesn’t have the same kind of smarts that MAPI has when it comes to PFs… but I could be dead wrong.

      Maybe someone else has run into this issue…


  32. Rashid says:

    nice artical, very helpful to build the concepts.
    I install the exchange 2010 as test server at my home I am facing one problem that when Microsoft outlook 2007/10 users click/press send/receive button… then that process never finishes…..
    and please refer any doc. regarding autodiscovery for account information on client computer who are not the domain users.
    Kindly help to sort out this problem…….


    • Autodiscover/Outlook works as follows:

      1. Access Active Directory to look up the autodiscover SCP. These are registered when CAS servers are installed.
      2. Then attempt to use DNS to find a record for autodiscover.emaildomain
      3. Then look for a Local XML AutoDiscover file
      4. Finally, check for an SRV record

      For non-domain enjoyed clients, Outlook never access the autodiscover url via SCP and it will directly jump to the second method “DNS lookup”. Since Autodiscover requires SSL, you need to make sure the name autodiscover.emaildomain is included in the certificate used for the IIS service.

      I have no idea what’s happening as described in “users click send and that process never finishes…” Does this happen with OWA too?


      • Rashid says:

        no, I don’t think so…..
        it is only with the Microsoft Outlook……

        secondly regarding the autodiscovery process…….. when I open the M. Outlook to configure the clients first time…. then it starts the wizard for creating/making the new email account e.g.
        name, email address….. password and confirm password…
        Ok I give all these parameters.
        our domain name is and internal active directory name is 2share.local.
        after discovery the username/email information… it asks for username/password again and then I put the username@2share.local and the password( that I set while creating
        the user in AD…….
        is this procedure correct………….. ??????????

      • What happens when you attempt to test Autodiscover using Microsoft’s Remote Connectivity Analyzer (

        You might get some other clues by turning logging on in Outlook and then checking the resulting log to see what AutoDiscover is returning to Outlook.

      • Rashid Iqbal says:

        ExRCA is attempting to test Autodiscover for
        Autodiscover was tested successfully.
        Test Steps
        Attempting each method of contacting the Autodiscover service.
        The Autodiscover service was tested successfully.
        Test Steps
        Attempting to test potential Autodiscover URL
        Testing of this potential Autodiscover URL failed
        Test Steps
        Attempting to Testing of this potential Autodiscover URL failed.esolve the host name in DNS.
        The host name resolved successfully.
        Additional Details
        Testing TCP port 443 on host to ensure it’s listening and open.
        The port was opened successfully.
        Testing the SSL certificate to make sure it’s valid.
        The SSL certificate failed one or more certificate validation checks.
        Test Steps
        ExRCA is attempting to obtain the SSL certificate from remote server on port 443.
        ExRCA successfully obtained the remote SSL certificate.
        Additional Details
        Validating the certificate name.
        Certificate name validation failed.
        Tell me more about this issue and how to resolve it
        Additional Details
        Host name doesn’t match any name found on the server certificate CN=*, OU=Domain Control Validated – RapidSSL(R), OU=See (c)11, OU=GT44823544, O=*, C=US, SERIALNUMBER=pqk9/h9jg-GcoGjYE697i3N4sZejXJBi.

  33. Shlomi says:

    i have a problem with the public folder in outlook 2010
    i use exchange 2010 with all latest fixes and so outlook
    what is do with users is dragging the public folder i want (contacts) to the contacts tab
    and then the user can have fast access to the public folders contact inside contacts instead to go through the directory list and go down and select the public folders and so on.
    but the problem is that sometimes the public folders contacts not showing inside the contacts tab.
    it somehow disappear.
    do you know why this is? i read that other users have some problem with that as well that the public folders it self not showing sometime to time

    i think from what i saw that it happend in outlook 2010 and 2003 it’s ok.

  34. Rashid Iqbal says:

    I think snapshot can give better understanding of the result.
    how can I forward you the snapshots……?

    • I’m sorry, but I do not provide a remote debugging service for Exchange. If I did, I imagine that my inbox would be swamped with requests for help. I think that the results from the remote connectivity test showed you some problems that have to be fixed, not least with your certificates. Until you get a clean result from Autodiscover, you’re not going to be able to connect with Outlook.


  35. Steve Flater says:

    Does anyone know the specific method of verifying that Organizational Forms have been replicated properly from (between) E2007 to E2010?

  36. Shegit Brahm says:

    Dear Tony,

    thank your very much for posting your chapter of old-fashioned Public Folder here. I read it and got some nice understandings. Unfortunately right now I did not read your book.
    So my question is this:
    What is a modern way to organize companies business contacts, each personal contacts and contacts of all employees? The business ones have to be available & editable to every employee, the personal one only for each employee and the company-wide ones only to specific persons.

    Our equipment is like that:
    Exchange Server 2010 (without any SP)
    Outlook 2010
    SharePoint 2010 Server

    As you might imagine, I’m not the admin and not experienced in this matter, but our company is quite small and so I have to do some research. ATM we transform business contacts into a Public Folder because it works. But I also see some lacks of usability. Thank you very much for an answer, I got confused with my research.


    • Have you ever thought of adding the contacts that you want to be available to everyone as mail-enabled users in the GAL? That way they’ll be downloaded into the offline address book and available to everyone to see, complete with an email address, phone numbers, and other contact information. The only people who will be able to edit the information will be administrators. This would be a very cost-effective solution to the problem.


      • Shegit Brahm says:

        Thank you very much for your fast response. As far as I see there lots of fields for e-mail-enabled contacts. But not all that are required here. The other point is that everybody from inside our company should have access to edit them. The idea is to unburden people doing it now. In case we change our policies, I will propose this.
        I also tried a SharePoint-List to store this information. It works afaik very similiar like the public folders. Including the fact that I didn’t figure out how to enforce any synchronizing.


  37. Frederik says:

    Hi Tony,
    We still have lots of public folders in our organization and we want to control database size using age limits. The first question is:
    What´s the difference between using ‘Age limit for replica (days):’ in Limits tab, or ‘Local replica age limit (days):’ in Replication tab?
    And the last:
    And once we´ve established that number of days in the way it should be, can we prevent Contacts or Calendar public folders from being deleted?

    Thanks in advance,

    • Age Limit for replicas = Retention period for all replicas of a folder.

      Local replica age limit = Retention period for the replica on this server.

      The only people who can delete folders are those who have the necessary access. Why don’t you simply not allow delete access to anyone but admins?


  38. Eddie says:

    Hi Tony,

    just wondering if you know off any way around the limit in exchange 2010 to one Public Folder .edb
    A public folder database already exists on the server that you specified. Each server can contain a maximum of one public folder database
    i get that message when trying to add a new .edb
    it’s exchange 2010 standard

    • Exchange 2010 standard is limited to a maximum of five databases, one of which is the PF database. I don’t know a way around this.

      • Eddie says:

        there’s a rumour that in the latest SP that Microsoft have opened it up to allow multiple PF .edb’s but i can’t get concrete info on it.

        What i’m trying to do is have two distinct separate PF .edb’s as need to import a separate company in to an existing frame work.

  39. WOCOM says:

    Hi Tony,
    Great article! Can I ask your professional meaning for an issue pls.
    In our setup we have 2 Public folder instances. I setup one to be the default public folder instance for all mailbox databases. However all MAPI-clients connect to the the replication copy on the other server. Any idea?

    • Maybe the clients are in the same AD site as the Exchange server that contains the PF database that they’re connecting to? Can’t say what else it might be without looking at the environment – so if this persists, you should log a support call with Microsoft and have them sort things out.


  40. WOCOM says:

    Hi Tony,
    Can I ask your professional opinion please?
    We have 2 public folder databases. The first one should be the default and the other one is a replicated copy of the first one. I set up all mailbox databases to have the first one as their default public folder instance. However when I check the outlook connection status I see that all users are connected to the replication copy. Any idea please? Thank you very much!

  41. khodor says:

    Hi, Tony
    I have recently installed exchange 2010 and for some reason during the installation process, i didn’t check the”Outlook2003 users” after managing accounts many users told me that they can’t access mail server because they use Outlook2003.
    Can i fix this problem just if i make a PF database?
    Thanks in advance

    • I assume that you still have public folders on an Exchange 2003 or Exchange 2007 server somewhere in the organization? If so, it might be possible to create a PF database on your Exchange 2010 server and then create local replicas of the system folders that hold F/B and OAB data, which is what the Outlook 2003 clients need. However, I have never been through this situation and do not have the servers necessary to test the scenario. I therefore suggest that you log a call with Microsoft support as there might be a system registry or other configuration setting that says “No Outlook 2003 in organization” that I have overlooked.


  42. khodor says:

    thank you Toni i’ll test this and tell you about result.

  43. Cherif says:

    Hi Tony,

    Very useful document.
    I have an issue where we created created a new PF on another mailbox server and trying to replicate through EMC, but with no success.
    Replication is set to always run, and set to all folders and sub-folders.
    it has been 2 days now with no luck.

    Any ideas what could be missing?


  44. Albert says:

    Cherif, just a suggestion if you still have problems with this public folder replication. I had the same problem in a multisite replication deployment and finally found that it really was the GFI Antispam who was blocking all the replication, because replication goes through CAS in order to reach Mailbox servers.

    Hope this helps.

    • Cherif says:

      Hi Albert,
      Actually my issue was resolved, as I discovered that the migration from exchange 2003 to 2010 was not totally completed. An old object was the reason for this replication failure. Anyway, thank you for your reply and concern.

      Have a nice day

  45. Robert says:

    I know this is an old thread but here I go anyway.
    Exchange 2010 sp2 ru4
    2 – CAS servers
    2 – DB servers
    All Outlook 2010 clients
    Did not install Public Folder during the install. Created Public Folder later to test. Did not do anything with the PF’s so I am here a year later and I want to delete. So instead of deleting the PF database I just dismounted it. When tring to start Outlook the client would hang. In creating a new profile on a new computer it could not resolve name but if I mount the PF everything starts to work again.

    • Because you only have Outlook 2010 clients, you can be sure that they are not looking for PFs for OAB etc. So it’s probably just a situation that Exchange has told the clients that a PF database exists and as the only one is now unavailable, they have a problem. I can’t test this here to be sure, but if you have no public folders at all, then there shouldn’t be much harm in deleting the PF database using Remove-PublicFolderDatabase. This should adjust the Exchange configuration and clients will be happy. But test before deletion.


      • Robert says:

        I don’t know if it makes any differance that there is a load balancer but with the PF mounted it will respond to port 135, when it is dismounted it appears that it does not get the required info from port 135 and then shifts to OutlookAnywhere.

  46. No idea whatsoever. Have you logged a call with Microsoft support?

  47. Robert says:

    Nope, next step.

  48. amandadebler says:

    Hi Tony,

    Thanks for writing such an awesome book and for posting this “missing” chapter – it filled in a lot of blank spots in my head about public folders. However, one bit my colleagues and I are still missing is how to make changes to a public folder’s Description property. So far, none of us have been able to figure how to do this via the Exchange cmdlets. The interdepartmental billing process uses that information.

    Is there some trick in the Set-PublicFolder cmdlet not obvious from the parameter sets, is this something hidden in the Exchange API, or do the IT billing people have to figure out some other way to track which department owes us money for continuing to use those public folders?

  49. Andrew Mazurek says:


    Public folders in 2013 (dropped ???), as this was debated ?
    Also, how do we create shared “global” address books ? Shared email account to replicate to mobile phones with a separate profile ? This is a bit dangerous (shared password) … I am really trying to warm up to this product, maybe Michael was correct – I just don’t know how to “setup” Exchange correctly 🙂

  50. Ian says:

    hi, don’t ask but we have lost a server that was running a public folder database that was not being backed up. I have an OST that contains my public folder favorites and I need a tool that will export them to pst. Any ideas? Within the public folders are custom fields and forms and the tool I tried (PCVITA) exported the data but not fields and forms. Anyone know of a tool that will export my OST public folder favorites in its entirety?

  51. Meraj says:

    What a great article series on Public Folders!! Thanks for these wonderful articles. If there is no value in the LastUserAccessTime attribute of a Public Folder what does it means. We have 25,000 PF’s and only 5,000 are populated with value in LastUserAccessTime attribute of a Public Folder. Does it means that PF was never accessed? or something else??

    • The honest answer is I don’t really know. One way to test is to create a new PF and examine its attributes after it is accessed by a couple of different clients (Outlook, OWA) to observe what happens. It might be that Exchange was not good at updating this attribute in the past – public folders have been around for a very long time as you know. So maybe these are your oldest folders? Or is there anything else about those that are populated and those that are not that might give a clue to what’s happening?

  52. Pingback: History of Public Folders Exchange | The Network Aficionado

  53. whunter31 says:

    We are using Exchange 2010, and a Director opened a ticket to create a distribution list “datarequest” and to add xyz members to this list. The next ticket was to create a public folder called “datarequest” and add this folder as a recipient to the “datarequest” distro group. So far the issue is in the naming convention. The distro group creates an email addtess and the public folder also creates an email address, only you can’t have 2 of the same email addresses so the wizard auto changes the mail enabled public folder to “”, and same is true if you create the distro group/public folder in reverse order the distro group will add the 1. Is there a way to have the distro group and public folder with the same names? We are getting mail delivery issues with due to the different smtp addresses.

  54. Ruban says:

    Hi Tony,

    i have an Query.. PF1 Database mounted on mbx1 and PF2 database mounted on mbx2 default PF_Db is mbx2.. we have plan to migrate SAN..
    First i will Migrate PF1_Db to New SAN what is the command to update PF data from mbx2 Server ?? My PF Db is 700GB how much time will take ?

  55. Pingback: How To Add Public Folders To Favorites In Outlook 2010 | Information

  56. Kunal says:

    Greetings Tony and All –

    Is it possible to change/move public folder path to another path?

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