Archiving an Exchange mailbox for a user who has left

I need to archive a mailbox for a fairly higher up administrative employee who has left our organization.  We will delete the mailbox and no longer want to receive any mail for the account, that part is no problem.

The concern is how do we retain access to the old emails without keeping the mailbox alive on the Exchange server?
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Simply go to the user's Outlook and do an Archive by setting the date to a future date so it will Archive all emails then transfer the PST file for safekeeping to a file server or external hard drives or media.

Outlook 2010:

Outlook 2013:

Once you have Archived the email you can disable the user's account or delete the email account.  I would disable it for a period prior to deleting it just in case if you need to get back into it.

You can access the archived emails by simply attaching the archived email (PST file) in Outlook.  Like here:

How to Add a PST to Outlook 2010:

Similar procedure with Outlook 2013

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Tim EdwardsIT Team Lead - Unified Communications & CollaborationCommented:
For security reasons you cannot give yourself access to the users mailbox and utilize outlook to archive you can always do it by the EMS,
"for security reasons you cannot give yourself access to the users mailbox "

Even if you're the administrator?  What's stopping you to archive via EMS then attach the PST to any Outlook and access the user's emails?

Archiving from EMS is easy and you can do everything from the server.  However, doing so you may miss a few things.  What if the user also have email archive stored locally on his/her PC?  This is why I like to check the user's computer and archive from their account when I can.
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Tim EdwardsIT Team Lead - Unified Communications & CollaborationCommented:
This is just how my organization works, impersonating a user at any point even if they have have left organization is not acceptable. I have the tools in place that I do not need to do this.

When someone leaves the organization I follow our internal script/process, that captures the users profile from pc\laptop\virtual desktop moves everything into archive folder, which includes the users archived email from the exchange, users ad attibutes groups and other information I require is written to a text file if they ever return to the role.

As stated this is how my organization handles things and was just providing additional options.
I understand and it's a good practice.  However from an administrator point-of-view if I want to get into an account there is always a way.

I was just speaking from the easiest method point of view for BCSSupport.

BCSSupportAuthor Commented:
I have full access to the users old PC including the ability to reset the user account password, login as the user, open their Outook etc.  I should have stated more clearly, I was already thinking of the optioned mentioned in the first comment.  I think I'm looking for an easier way for the end user or a non technical person to open and view the archive, say I hand it to someone who is not an Outlook user or a computer tech, is there a way they can view emails and attachments without loading a PST into Outlook on a client, say I give them a PST but they don't have MS Office for example.

Also, I have no idea how to make an archive via EMS, any pointers?
You have two options:

1.  Attach the mail store to the user's email client.  You only have to do this once then the user's won't have to reattach the mail store again.  I don't know what email client you're referring to but a quick Google search will mostly turn up a result for a PST converter (e.g PST to Mac email client, etc.)

2.  If you want to make it really easy then simply change the password to the email account and enable OWA on Exchange if not already enabled (Outlook Web Access) then the user can view the email from any web browser without needing MS Office.

3.  Attach the email store to Outlook on a temp account or the users account in Terminal Server then have the user logon to TS whenever they need access to the email.

Those are the methods I've used and the last two is preferred because I can control it (if the user only need access temporarily).
BCSSupportAuthor Commented:
I think I'll go back to the first comment and do that as it is basically what I was thinking of anyway.  I was asking to see if there were any better options for creating the archive or making the archive more user friendly.

I don't want to do something that requires me to be their tech to explain how to convert a PST, attach it to Outlook or whatever email client they want and I darn sure do not want to host their mailbox.  I'm trying to get rid of the mailbox forever.  I want to hand them a CD and never think about it again, ever.  Thanks for all the responses!
I would have done the same in your case.  Thanks for the points.  Cheers!
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