Microsoft announced a couple of improvements this month concerning public folder management using its Exchange messaging service.
One of the improvements gives IT pros greater control over who gets to see public folders. The other improvement facilitates migrations to the Exchange Online service, especially when organizations have lots of public folders to move.
Outlook for Windows Controls
First, IT pros can now control which Outlook client users in an organization will see public folders when using the Exchange Online service. The new control capability just works with Windows-based Outlook clients for now. However, Microsoft is working to add support for Outlook for Mac and Outlook on the Web clients, as well, according to an announcement.
While the new public folder access control is available now for organizations using Exchange Online, Microsoft also is considering adding it for organizations using Exchange Server.
The Outlook public folder access control is enabled by two parameters:
Important note: setting the organization parameter to true without setting user attributes to true first will make it so no users will see the public folder object in Outlook for Windows. In other words -- if you want to implement this, we suggest that you plan ahead and populate user attributes first (PublicFolderClientAccess on users that need access set to true) and then set the organization level parameter (PublicFolderShowClientControl set to true). That way, users who need to have access will not lose access unexpectedly.
These parameters were added to address the needs of very large organizations, as well as organizations that are undergoing a mergers and acquisitions, Microsoft indicated.
"This [control over public folder access in Outlook clients] will benefit very large organizations who might have issues with connection limits to public folders and will reduce the load to that infrastructure," the announcement explained. "This will also be helpful to organizations during mergers and acquisitions if moving to EXO [Exchange Online]."
Expanded Public Folder Migration Support
Next, Microsoft announced this month that it has removed some earlier limitations on the migration of public folders from Exchange Server environments to the Exchange Online service. It's now possible to move up to 250,000 public folders from Exchange Server implementations to the Exchange Online service, according to the announcement:
Any Exchange On-Premises customer running Exchange 2010/2013/2016/2019 with up to 250K public folders can now migrate them directly to Exchange Online.
The new 250,000 migration figure was bumped up from an earlier 100,000 public folders limitation that previously had been in effect for Exchange Server 2013 and Exchange Server 2016.
Microsoft's public folder migration document advises Exchange Server 2016 users to have "CU4 or later running" before making the move. Similarly, Exchange Server 2013 users need to have "CU15 or later installed."