PST Migrations for Exchange Online Services

As I start my next venture, there is a new challenge in town.  How to fully automate the migration of PSTs from Legacy Exchange into Exchange Online Services.  At first glance, this solution is pretty straightforward if you want the user to only perform this as a manual process to import their PSTs into the online world.  But, the out-of-the box "Migration Online Services Migration Tools" do not migrate the following:

  • Auto-archive settings
  • Conditional formatting
  • Content for shared folders, such as RSS feeds to which the user subscribes, and shared subfolders
  • Delegated access to user mailboxes and their associated Access Control Lists (ACLs)
  • Hidden messages
  • Profiles
  • PST files
  • Search folders and subfolders
  • Signatures
  • Sync Issues folders and subfolders
  • User-customized mailbox rules
  • Views

However,one of the key requirements for this project I am working on is to provide a seamless experience for the user so that they really don't have to do anything to make this happen.  In other words, once their Mailboxes are migrated to Exchange online, their saved PST files from years back will also be brought i to Exchange Online . There will of course be exceptions that may need to be considered.  For example, what if the user has more total space in PSTs than their Online MB size will allow.  Many think of the online MB storage as "bottomless", but it there are restrictions made, say for example 5GB, it doesn't take long for a power user, or a user who has saved everything for many years, to reach those limits.  All of the above concerns will be addressed throughout my current project and will be tracked through these postings as discovery leads to the solution design.

For a starter, I will give you what resources are out there to provide a baseline source of "everything you ever wanted to know about PSTs, but weren't afraid to ask".  Additionally, for this solution design as it proceeds, we will be leveraging a third party product from C2C called PST Manager. Finally, to fully automate the process, there may be some need for custom PowerShell scripts to help futther automate the PST migration process.  As details are progressively elaborated, they will be updated on this BLOG.

How to Manage PSTs in Outlook 2002, 2003 and 2007  This article will tell you HOW TO use PST files to backup your data 

Microsoft Office (End User Friendly) - Create a file to save your information Describes to Users When and Why to use PSTs and OSTs as well as HOW TO 

Reconnect your old Outlook Data File This is the follow up step for a user to bring their saved PST files back into their new version of Outlook

How to configure the SIZE limit for PST and OST files in Outlook 2003, 2007 and 2010  There are four registry settings that allow you to limit the size of PSTs and OSTs 

How to repair an OST or PST file in Outlook If these files become damaged, you may be able to use Outlook's Inbox Repair Tool to fix them

Exchange Online Help and How-to  I am providing this as a general resource for Exchange Online Help

How to Import PST files into MSOL?

Fully Deploy your Microsoft BPOS to maximize your user experience   This also has a great link to a MUST HAVE download "Microsoft Online Services Deployment Guide"    

NOTE:  search the "Microsoft Online Services Deployment Guide" for PST and you wil run into this import message...

A common practice to reduce the size of the mailbox is to move mail items out of the mailbox to an archive (for example, a .PST file) either manually or with auto archive functionality. This practice is discouraged for two reasons:

 When the user moves the mail items back to the new Exchange Online mailbox after migration, the Exchange Online mailbox will not allow the user to reply to the mail.

....This is something we will be investigating, testing, and seeking remediation for.