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Office 365 - Changing old mailboxes to shared to free up licenses?

Posted on 2014-09-08
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Last Modified: 2014-11-12
What is the best way to free up Office 365 licenses when a user leaves and we still need access to the mailbox? Just convert it to a shared mailbox? Do I need to unassign the Office 365 license?
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Question by:mvalpreda
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LVL 14

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by:comfortjeanius
comfortjeanius earned 250 total points
ID: 40310821
Shared mailboxes does not require a license, so you would want to back up the mailbox that you want to remove the license from.  Whomever wants access to the mailbox must have a license. Plus they cannot be used for archiving emails, except for the email messages that are sent/receive from the shared mailbox.  Shared mailboxes has a limit of 5GB
 
You will have to place the shared mailbox on litigation hold, and assign it an Exchange Online Plan 2 user subscription license.

You can convert the mailbox to a shared mailbox from the Azure powershell:
$LiveCred = Get-Credential

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The above command enter your Office365 credentials
$Session = New-PSSession -ConfigurationName Microsoft.Exchange-ConnectionUri https://ps.outlook.com/powershell/ -Credential $LiveCred -Authentication Basic -AllowRedirection

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Import-PSSession $Session

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Note:If you get any above error messages then you will need to configure RemoteSign and retry.
Set-ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned

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Connect-MsolService

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The above command enter your Office365 credentials.

Placing the mailbox on litigation hold
Set-Mailbox <identity> -LitigationHoldDuration <duration, in days>

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example link Litigation Hold
Convert the mailbox and set size quota

Get-Mailbox -identity user@domainname.com | set-mailbox -type “Shared”

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Set the quota
Set-Mailbox user@domainname.com -ProhibitSendReceiveQuota 5GB -ProhibitSendQuota 4.75GB -IssueWarningQuota 4.5GB

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According to this link Convert User Mailbox to Shared
Shared mailboxes sizes increased from 5GB to 10GGB in QA 2013 so you can perform this action
Set-Mailbox user@domainname.com -ProhibitSendReceiveQuota 10GB -ProhibitSendQuota 9.75GB -IssueWarningQuota 9.5GB

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You will need to create a security group for the user(s) that will need access to the shared mailbox look at this link Set Up a Shared Mailbox

Assign permissions to specific group to access the shared mailbox
Add-MailboxPermission user@domainname.com -User "Group Name" -AccessRights FullAccess

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Remove the license from the user account.

Plus you can use this a reference point Removing User Licenses without removing mailbox
I hope this helps
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LVL 42

Accepted Solution

by:
Vasil Michev (MVP) earned 250 total points
ID: 40311483
Litigation hold for a shared mailbox requires a license. You can either convert them to shared, without putting them on hold, or better yet, take advantage of the Inactive mailboxes functionality:

http://blogs.technet.com/b/exchange/archive/2013/03/21/preserve-mailbox-data-for-ediscovery-using-inactive-mailboxes-in-exchange-online.aspx
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