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O365 Archive folders - Serious issues with searching

I have a number of users with large on-premise Exchange mailboxes (largest is 100+GB).  We are migrating these users to O365, using SkyKick (highly recommended btw).  We are using O365 in-place archive folders to put older stuff there and to keep the main mailbox comfortably below 50 GB.

SkyKick has a feature that permits email items with dates greater than a designated date to be automatically put in the in-place archive.  We found that keeping only the last year of email in the main mailbox keeps it nicely below 50 GB.  The SkyKick feature put everything else in the archive.  Awesome.

Until I tried searching for something in the archive, whereupon I found that it will only return 250 items.  You get a message that says: “Online results are limited to 250 items.  If you didn’t find what you were looking for, try again using more specific search terms.” This happens whether you are using Outlook (2016 in this case) or OWA.  I opened a case with O365 tech support.  They ultimately reported back that because the in-place archive is not cached (by design), the 250 item limit is “by design” and invited me to submit a product enhancement request.

Some of my users will have 80,000-100,000 items in the archive going back 8-10 years (lawyers, go figure).  With a 250 item limit, I don’t see a really good way to search for stuff in a comprehensive manner if you do not know a lot of exact details, which is the typical case.  I do find that I can use advanced search to reach successively farther back in time, 250 results at a time.  But…ugh.

Some people claim the “fix” to be https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/2185146 (specifically the reg key SearchResultsCap.  This had no impact on searching the in-place archive.  But it did have an impact on searching the regular mailbox.  My results were: (1) when not present (same as having “Improve search speed by limiting the number of results shown” checked, got 250 results, (2) when present and set to 0, got 1000 results, and (3) when set to any other value other than 0, got 250 results.  

I found https://office365.uservoice.com/forums/273494-outlook-and-calendar/suggestions/10760961-remove-new-search-results-limit-in-outlook-2016.  This had no impact on searching the in-place archive.  But it did have an impact on searching the regular mailbox.  When regkey DisableServerAssistedSearch is set to 1 and regular mailbox cache set to cache all items, then a search on the regular mailbox returned all matching items.

Neither of these settings had any impact on searching with OWA and O365 tech support provided this, https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/2835179, which seems to confirm the 250 result to be normal behavior.

I have already sputtered and pissed and moaned about how stupid this is.  And I can see that I am not alone.  But am now on to seeing how good this can be made to work.

So… has anyone had any different approach to searching the archive that would be reasonably easy to explain to the average user?  Any other thoughts/comments?
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8/22/2022 - Mon