"Export failed with error type FailedToSearchMailboxes" error when you try to export eDiscovery search results to a PST file in Exchange Online

Original KB number: 2957583


Microsoft 365 compliance is now called Microsoft Purview and the solutions within the compliance area have been rebranded. For more information about Microsoft Purview, see the blog announcement.


As an administrator who wants to export the results of an In-Place eDiscovery search to a PST file, you click Export to a PST file in the Exchange admin center in Exchange Online. However, you receive an error message that resembles the following:

Failed exporting item id: from source id:mailbox@contoso.com with error: [FailedToSearchMailboxes] Export failed with error type: 'FailedToSearchMailboxes'. Message: The results are sorted but inconsistent with reference item. MailboxGuid:...', ReferenceItem:'001B 2013-10-04 T 09:29:32 .0000000000001D40002A8AD', Offending Item:'001B 2013-10-16 T 16:01:44 .0000000000001D400029FF1'


Make a note of the dates in the error message. These are shown in bold text in the preceding example.


This issue may occur if one of the following conditions is true:

  • The search results contain corrupted messages that can't be exported to a PST file.
  • There are too many messages in the specified date range of the search for the PST exporter to process.


To resolve this issue, follow these steps:

  1. Check the mailbox that's specified in the error to see whether there are messages that fall within the date range that's listed in the error. If one or more messages fall within the date range of the search, back up the messages, delete them from the mailbox, and then perform the eDiscovery search again.

    Test to see whether the issue is resolved. If the issue persists, go to step 2.

  2. Separate the eDiscovery export into batches that are sorted by date. For example:

    StartDate '10/04/2013' -EndDate '10/17/2013'
    StartDate '02/16/2014' -EndDate '02/27/2014'

    Test to see whether the issue is resolved. If the issue persists, go to step 3.

  3. Perform the eDiscovery search without specifying start and end dates, and then export to a PST file.

More information

For more information, see Export eDiscovery search results to a PST file.

Still need help? Go to Microsoft Community.