How to Export Exchange 2013/2016 public folder to PST

Public Folders in Exchange are a great way to share information between a team of users making it easier for users to share data. One can mail-enable a Public Folder and assign an email address to so that it can form part of a distribution group. Public Folders can feature thing like Calendar, journal, emails, notes and templates. These folders can be easily be viewed and modified through Outlook or Web access. Public Folders have been with Exchange Server for a long time and now these are being faced out in Office 365 by use of Office 365 Group and Microsoft Teams. If you are looking to move to Office 365 you should strongly look into Office 365 Groups with Microsoft Teams, Planner, shared calendar, emails and notes. Microsoft are really pushing into Teams for collaborate and it being a hub for users to work together.

For Exchange Admins comes the nightmare when companies need to migrate to Office 365 and no one blames them as exporting and migrating Public Folders is not easy, especially if they have to migrated all the data to Microsoft Teams and Office 365 Groups. Exchange Server Public Folders are being backed up on a daily basis to tape, drives or cloud, and to restore them it’s quite easy as you need to restore the EDB file but to export from an EDB with native tools is not possible due to the fact that an EDB can only be opened with an Exchange Server. Using the PowerShell cmdlet New-MailboxExportRequest we can export any mailbox to PST but unfortunately in Exchange 2013 and 2016 there is still no export command for Public Folders. To export a Public Folder there are two ways and below we will be exploring both.

Using Outlook

First of all you would need to setup a computer with Outlook 2013 or 2016 apart with some good specs and ample free space. After the pre-requisites have been installed and both the computer and Microsoft Office have been fully updated, we need to setup Outlook with a user who has full permissions on the Public folders to export.

The public folders can be seen when opening Outlook. Make sure you have access to them.

Click on File and Open & Export

File and Open & Export

Click on Import/Export

Click on the Export to file and click on the Next button

 Export to file

Click on Outlook Data File (.pst) and click Next

Outlook Data File (.pst)

In this screen you need to select the public folder you need to export. One thing is to note that you cannot select a number of folders. You can only export one folder or all folders.

Public folder

If you want to export all public folders, click on the Public Folders root. A bit of warning on exporting all the mailboxes at once. Depending on the size of your Public Folders I would re-consider exporting them one by one so that you don’t end up restarting the process of the export from scratch if Outlook would crash and since there is no progress information you would end up not knowing what was exported or not. Another thing on exporting them all at once, you might end up with a gigantic PST file which would be prone to corruption and issues. In Outlook 2013, 2016 and even on the new Office 2019 the size limit of a PST is 50GB.

So here the dilemma is that if you have for example a Public Folder which is over 50GB you would need a way to split this and it will be hassle if you have a Public Folder of 100GB or more as you cannot know how much each folder will be as in the database the folder could be 10GB but when you export to PST it will be more. So if you are exporting a Public Folder over the limit, you will have a huge problem in your hands which would cause some serious headaches and you would end up exporting for example by year using the filter options to limit the size of the PST file. Then you would import them year by year in your new Exchange Server or Office 365. To open the filter options, click on the Filter button.

Export outlook data file

In this case this will export any modified items on and after the first January of 2019. Once ready make sure that the Include subfolders is ticked and click Next.

Export outlook data file

Select the destination of the PST file and click on Finish.In the last prompt you will be asked to add an optional password. To leave it without a password just click on OK.

Create outlook data file

This will start the export process. Mind you some issues that one may encounter is the performance on the Exchange Server since it will heavily export to that machine and the machine itself. Outlook tends to either hang or crash during big exports or imports, so you might end up restarting your export and if the problem persists you might tune more your date range to decrease the size or export struggle on your local Outlook installation.

Using Stellar Converter for EDB

Stellar Converter for EDB is a specialised application that can easily and efficiently export any kind of data from an EDB file including Public Folders without the use of Outlook or complexities while handling any size of PST and Public Folders.

This EDB to PST Converter application installs in a few minutes and after attaching the EDB file or connect directly to a live Exchange server you are ready to go.

stellar Converter for EDB

After you attach the database and a quick scan, you can browse the mailboxes and the public folders and you can export at your leisure with multiple filters to PST and other format. You can also export directly to a live Exchange Server or Office 365 tenant with a touch of a button, hassle free and with ease.