How to use the archiving mailbox?

One of the features of Exchange Online within Office 365 I like a lot is the use of the archiving mailbox. I see still people using pst’s for archiving. Well in this post I’m going to show how interesting the archiving mailbox actually is.

When we have a “ordinary” mailbox this will look like this in Outlook.


The first thing we need to do is active our archive mailbox. Out of the box your archive mailbox is not activated. We’ll do that in our Exchange Admin …


When we open Outlook again (you might want to wait a few minutes) you’ll see that a new mailbox has been attached to your outlook profile. You’ll have the same experience in Outlook Web App


We’ll see that we don’t have a button to assign retention policies yet. The reason for that behavior is that a specific Exchange Job ManagedFolderAssistant hasn’t run yet. And it is configured to process all mailboxes in a work cycle (7 days). If we want to accelerate this process we need to use PowerShell. I need to run Start-ManagedFolderAssistant –Identity<mailbox>

After running this cmdlet we’ll see this button:


Depending on what you select. A Mailbox, a folder or a mail you’ll get different options. You can use the Assign Policy button to set different policies.

You’ll have to differentiate between Retention Tags & Archiving Tags. The first keeps the mails for X amount of time and will delete (with the option to recovery) afterwards. The last will move the mail to the online archive.

A few advantages of the online archive:

  1. It will available in every Outlook Profile where that mailbox is attached in
  2. It will be available in Outlook Web Access
  3. It will take the folder structure of the Active Mailbox and reproduce it in the Archive Mailbox so you’ll have the same folder structure.

What with our pst’s?

You can import them into your archive.


One additional tip: if you want the archiving/retention policy to deal with your “old” mails and you don’t want to wait for 7 days, you might want to run this cmdlet again: Start-ManagedFolderAssistant –Identity<mailbox>

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