Problem with searching public folders Exchange 2013/16

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Robert Forster

New Member
Outlook version
Outlook 2016 32 bit
Email Account
Exchange Server
Hello, I would like to see if anyone out there can help me please? I apologise if this has been asked before but I have searched for the answers.

We recently upgraded our mail server from Exchange 2007 to Exchange 2016. With Exchange 2013 in between.

I was under the impression that Public Folders where being phased out? They seemed to be promoting using SharePoint as an alternative. But it seems that Microsoft had an about turn which is good but makes me wonder if there will be room for development?

I know that there is an issue with searching Public Folders and that the work around is to make the PF a favourite and then cache the folder. This for me is not a good solution. I thought the whole point in using PF in the first place was to take the email from the local machine only to then have to cache the PF sort of defeats the object?

The main issue is that its just not feasible to make each individual sub-folder, a favourite. For instance, our Projects team use PF's a lot, they have about 95GB of data stored. The folders are stored by years.

2014

2015

2016

Within each year there could be well over 300 different projects, with each Project having 5 sub-folders. Such as

2016

PJ10001 -> Correspondence In

PJ10001 -> Correspondence out

PJ10001 -> Drawings etc.

We would have to make each folder a favourite and then cache each folder so we could then search the folder. To make matters worse it only caches the one folder and not the sub-folder.

There is 3rd party software available which we are testing such as Lookeen which is decent enough but has limitations.

I also noticed that there is a piece of software on here called SearchPublicFolders.exe which looks like it would have been ideal but keeps crashing on Windows 10 and Outlook 2016.

Why have Microsoft made this so difficult? Surely searching Public Folders shouldn't be such a faff? And then having to use 3rd party software to do something that should be standard?

Has anyone else come across this issue or are we alone in using Public Folders? I am curious to see how others have dealt with this?
 

Diane Poremsky

Senior Member
Outlook version
Outlook 2016 32 bit
Email Account
Office 365 Exchange
I was under the impression that Public Folders where being phased out? They seemed to be promoting using SharePoint as an alternative. But it seems that Microsoft had an about turn which is good but makes me wonder if there will be room for development?
They changed how PF are handled - they are now mailboxes, not a separate message store - and would like people to transition to Groups or Teams. I'm not expecting much new in PF for this reason.


I thought the whole point in using PF in the first place was to take the email from the local machine only to then have to cache the PF sort of defeats the object?
The point of PF is to have a folder that is accessible to everyone (with permission) to share access more conveniently than shared mailboxes.

I also noticed that there is a piece of software on here called SearchPublicFolders.exe which looks like it would have been ideal but keeps crashing on Windows 10 and Outlook 2016.
This is old and designed for older outlook and the old PF model.

Why have Microsoft made this so difficult? Surely searching Public Folders shouldn't be such a faff? And then having to use 3rd party software to do something that should be standard?
Part of the problem is that the search engine model wasn't designed to search the entire message store for shared mailboxes or public folders, so you are limited to 1 folder in the search. I'm not sure if its permissions or something else behind this limitation but they are working on improving search. How it will apply to PF remains to be seen. 3rd party utilities may remain the best option...
 
Outlook version
Outlook 2016 64 bit
Email Account
Exchange Server
We use Public Folders extensively and have recently moved to Exchange 2013. Creating Favorites is not practical for us either, as we currently have over 500 Public Folders. Previously we used ISYS Workgroup Web to search our Public Folders, but now that Microsoft has changed the way they handle Public Folders, ISYS (now Hyland) is trying to catch up and make something work for Public Folders. I have looked at Lookeen, but support and setup were lacking and I could not get it to work correctly. Is anyone else aware of any 3rd party utility that will index and allow search on all the Public Folders at one time?
 
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