How to Migrate Public Folders to Office 365 Shared Mailbox?

Updated On - December 18, 2023 by Henry Bray | Reading Time: 6 minutes

Summary: In this blog, we explain how to migrate Public folders to Office 365 shared mailboxes and also know, what is the need to move mailboxes to Office 365 shared mailbox.

Public folders in Microsoft Exchange are used to share information with others within your organization. But shared mailbox is more convenient as compared to a public folder of an Office 365 account. Therefore, if you are looking for a dominant solution that can help you migrate your Microsoft Office 365 public folder to a shared mailbox, they know the need for their action.

Public folders and Shared mailboxes in Office 365: Nutshell

Public folders

A public folder is a feature in Microsoft Exchange Server that allows users to share common files, documents, calendars, contacts, and other data. Public folders can be accessed by anyone who has permission to them and can be useful for teams that need to share information across the organization. However, public folders have some limitations, such as the lack of mobile support, limited collaboration features, and difficulties with external sharing.

Shared mailboxes

A shared mailbox is a type of mailbox in Office 365 that allows multiple users to send and receive email messages from a single email address. Shared mailboxes are often used for team collaboration or departmental email accounts. It can also be used for shared calendars and contacts, and they provide more collaboration features than public folders. Shared mailboxes can be accessed from any device and are easier to manage and secure than public folders.

Why migrate public folders to shared mailboxes?

Public folders are an older technology that lacks some of the features and flexibility of shared mailboxes. For example, public folders are not accessible from mobile devices and do not have the same collaboration features as shared mailboxes.
Microsoft has stated that they will not be investing in new features for public folders in the future, so organizations that continue to use public folders may miss out on new functionality and updates.
Migrating public folders to shared mailboxes can provide a more modern and efficient way for teams to collaborate and share information within Office 365. Apart from this, there are some benefits that the users get while using a shared mailbox as compared to Microsoft Office 365 public folder:

  1. There is no need to allot a license for shared mailboxes like other users’ mailboxes and public folders. This saves the cost of users.
  2. Users can access a shared mailbox from a mobile phone which makes it impossible to access public folders.

After reading these two benefits, you might already know why most users want to move their public folder to Microsoft Office 365 shared mailbox. However, if there are many users and each user has a different reason for migration. Let us discuss how to migrate public folders to Office 365 shared mailbox manually without wasting lots of time.

Steps to Migrate Public Folders to Office 365 Shared Mailboxes

Using Microsoft Office 365 Admin Center

If any users need to migrate their public folder data to Office 365 shared mailboxes, they must have a shared mailbox. If shared mailboxes are not available in your Microsoft Office 365, then here is a procedure by which users can easily create a shared mailbox on their Microsoft Office 365 account.

Related Post: How to Upload PST to Office 365

Just follow the steps given below:

  1. Open your Microsoft Office 365 account with authorized credentials.
  2. Then click ‘Admin’ on the welcome page administrator. Go to the admin center.
  3. From the top right panel, in the Groups category, choose the Share Mailbox option. How to Migrate Public Folders to Office 365 Shared Mailbox
  4. Then press the button on the ‘add a mailbox’ option to add a new shared mailbox.
  5. Enter the mailbox name, then enter your email ID and click Add. Steps to Migrate Exchange Public Folders to Office 365 Shared Mailbox
  6. Now that a shared mailbox has been created, you can view it in its Shared Mailbox category.
  7. Select the mailbox and then click Edit against Members Option. Steps to Export Exchange Public Folders to Office 365 Shared Mailbox
  8. Select it, click the Edit icon, and then click Add Members to select the users you want to add as shared members. Move Exchange Public Folders to Office 365 Shared Mailbox
  9. Members will get added to Shared Mailbox, click ‘Close’.
  10. A shared mailbox is now being created. You can find it in the Shared Mailbox category, in the ‘Recipients section, in ‘Exchange Administrator Center’. Migrate Public Folders to Office 365 Shared Mailbox
  11. There is another technique also by using which users can easily create a shared mailbox in their Microsoft Office 365 account. There are situations in which PowerShell should be use. For example, the reason why you want to use a cmdlet is that this is the only method if you want to allow Send on Behalf.

New-Mailbox -Shared -Name “< mailbox name>” -DisplayName “< mailbox display name>” -Alias tom | Add-MailboxPermission -User < mailbox address> -AccessRights FullAccess –InheritanceType All | Set-Mailbox -GrantSendOnBehalfTo < mailbox address>

In general, this method is not recommended because it involves running complex cmdlets, and there is a  risk of manual errors.

Drawbacks of the manual method

Migrating public folders to shared mailboxes in Office 365 using the manual method can be time-consuming and complex, especially for large organizations with a lot of data. Here are some of the limitations and challenges of the manual method:

  • Complexity: The manual method involves exporting the data from public folders to a local file, such as a PST file, and then importing that data into the shared mailbox using Outlook or OWA. This process can be complex and time-consuming, especially for organizations with large public folder structures or a lot of data.
  • Potential for data loss: The manual method requires users to manually select and export the data they want to migrate. This can lead to data loss if users forget to export important data or select the wrong data to export.
  • Limited automation: The manual method requires users to perform migration tasks manually, which can be time-consuming and error-prone. There is limited automation available for the manual method. Hence users may have to repeat tasks or troubleshoot issues manually.
  • Lack of reporting: The manual method does not provide detailed reporting or logging of the migration process, which can make it difficult to troubleshoot issues or track progress.
  • Dependency on end-users: The manual method requires end-users to perform some of the migration tasks. This can lead to delays or errors if users are not familiar with the process or forget to perform the required tasks.

Overall, the manual method can work for small organizations with simple public folder structures and limited data. However, it is not recommended for larger organizations or more complex migrations. In those cases, it may be better to use a third-party migration tool to automate the process and reduce the risk of data loss or errors.

Tips for optimizing the migration process and avoiding common pitfalls

  • Plan the migration carefully and consider all the factors involved, such as the size and complexity of your public folder structure, the number of users involved, and the migration method you will use.
  • Test the migration thoroughly in a non-production environment before performing it in a live environment.
  • Communicate the migration plan and any changes to users and stakeholders to minimize disruption and ensure a smooth transition.
  • Monitor the migration closely and have a backup plan in case of any issues or unexpected challenges.
  • Consider using third-party tools to simplify and automate the migration process and avoid potential errors or data loss.

Export Office 365/Exchange Public folders to Office 365 Shared Mailboxes

Now, to move Microsoft Office 365 public folders to Microsoft Office 365 shared mailboxes, users should not rely on clearly used manual techniques, as such a direct solution is not available for it. Thus, we suggest you use a specially designed tool to migrate public folders to Office 365 shared mailboxes.

The software is designed with an advanced algorithm that allows the direct migration of public folders to shared mailboxes. Users should not worry about any version of Exchange or Microsoft 365 version as it supports all of them. We also provide a free version of the tool to evaluate the tool before purchasing.

Now users can use a dominant solution such as EDB to PST Converter tool that easily moves their public folders to Microsoft Office 365 shared mailbox. And this complete shared mailbox can be easily accessed via Outlook Web Access in Microsoft 365. Users just need to right-click on the username and select ‘Add shared folder’, and after that, you can see the data in it when selecting the mailbox.

Free Download100% Secure Buy NowPrice: $99


Due to differences in functions and objects between the Microsoft Office 365 public folder and the shared mailbox. They may look identical with different names, but when we meet more in Office 365, the differences begin. There are no problems because users can easily create a shared mailbox using Microsoft 365 Admin Center or Windows PowerShell.

But if users want to migrate public folders to Office 365 shared mailbox effortlessly, we recommend using the Regain Office 365 to PST Converter tool. The software supports migration with satisfactory performance and security.

Author: Henry Bray

Henry Bray is a young technologist and content a Content Writer at Regain Software, loves to write about MS Outlook, MS Exchange Server, Office 365, Mozilla Thunderbird and many more email applications.

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