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Exchange 2013: Converting user .pst (archives) to In-Place Archives?

Posted on 2016-07-14
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Last Modified: 2016-07-21
Since the dawn of time, my company has used .pst files to archive emails to keep mailboxes from becoming full. We're currently running Exchange 2013 Std on a Server 2012 R2. We have Exchange Std. CALs and client PCs have Office Std. 2013. I would like to consider converting from .pst files to using the Exchange archive mailboxes. But I'm running into some confusion and misinformation.

I have, so far...
- Created an archive database on the server
- Enabled in-place archive on a test user (me)
- Can view the Online Archive in my Outlook 2013
- Drag-and-drop email into the Online Archive in Outlook 2013

If I understand correctly...
- I need to add an Exchange Enterprise CAL for any users who will use this feature

I am unsure about...
- I've been told I need Office Pro to be able to use Online Archives, which is weird since it seems to work in my Outlook Std.
- How to set up "automatic archiving" to the online archive instead of a .pst file.
  - I think I need to set up retention policies and retention tags, but I've gotten lost on learning how to do this.
  - I've added the "Assign Policy" icon to my ribbon in Outlook, but it is grayed out.
- How to import .pst files into the in-place archive mailboxes

I think I have the gist of what needs to be done, but there's the licensing/Outlook confusion. And I'm getting a bit lost on the final steps with finding a good how-to set up the policies and importing .pst files.
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Question by:Eric Jack
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Expert Comment

by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
ID: 41711860
Even if you get the gist of what needs to be done, the best thing to do is to just follow the documentation:
https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd979800(v=exchg.150).aspx

As for Outlook Standard working... if it wasn't part of an Office Suite, then it will be fine.
Full list is here: https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Outlook-license-requirements-for-Exchange-features-46b6b7c5-c3ca-43e5-8424-1e2807917c99
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Author Comment

by:Eric Jack
ID: 41713535
Jeffrey,

Your first link is one of the sites I used to get as far as I have so far. Was hoping for some additional clarification regarding my topics above.

Your second link... seems to reinforce that I'm not supposed to use In-Place Archives or Retention Policies with our Outlook 2013 (part of Office 2013 Standard.) What's confusing me is that it works. I can see my test in-place archive and the retention policies started working today after I shutdown/logged in again. So are we talking a technical limitation (doesn't seem so) or a Software Police limitation?
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Expert Comment

by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
ID: 41713827
Regarding the first part.  The article I linked has this on the very first page:

4
That gives you a number of good methods to get messages into the archive -- including importing user's .pst files -- and speaks of the PST Capture Tool which will find .pst files on your network and then help you import them into Exchange.

Regarding the 2nd part:
As you'll note from the title, "Outlook license requirements for Exchange features"  it is a licensing issue.  There may also be technical limitations in some version -- but you would be out of compliance if you were not using the appropriate license.  

This is essentially the same as having the ability to enable an in-place archive on an Exchange Server even if you don't have an Enterprise CAL -  you can do it, but you would be out of compliance if you didn't own the CAL.
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Author Comment

by:Eric Jack
ID: 41719367
Well, it looks like technically, this is a very do-able project. However, Microsoft's licensing scheme is basically hamstringing me. Buying an Exchange Enterprise CAL for users who would need the archive mailbox isn't an issue. But the fact that for some bizarre reason, Microsoft has decided that you must also have Office Pro Plus to be "licensed" to use that feature, has killed any possibility of me doing this. There's no way I can afford the $10-20K to buy all new Office Pro Plus licenses.

Hey Microsoft:
1. I thought Office Standard was considered a business application.
2. Not everyone needs Microsoft Access.
3. Even smaller businesses and people who don't want/need MS Access get lots of emails.
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Accepted Solution

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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy earned 500 total points
ID: 41721969
It's not about whether Access is included --- that's just something that is.  It's whether or not you have an Enterprise license or not.  Archiving is considered to be an Enterprise level feature.  

Most smaller businesses are using Office 365 these days, and to get Archiving you need to have an E3 license which includes the one for Outlook as well.

Your alternative is to have users only access their archives via Outlook Web App.

Or.. use a 3rd-party app to archive (such as Barracuda or GFI)
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Author Closing Comment

by:Eric Jack
ID: 41723117
Whether I like the way MS has done their licensing, it's the way it is and Jeffrey has done a good job making me understand this.
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