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Migrate Public Folders to Office 365 – Differentiation and Solutions Given

Lindsey Smith ~ Modified: 30-Dec-2021 ~ 6 Minutes Reading

Today, we will be discussing the methods to migrate public folders to Office 365. As it is known that MS Exchange Server offers public folder which is a reliable feature.


This feature is used for communication, sharing data, etc. and for an organization’s team, it also works as a central data repository.

A huge number of users and companies have used public folders for a long time because of the advancement it offers. But it has always been difficult managing the large amount of data.

This causes the users to search for how to batch migrate public folders to Office 365. Just like MS Exchange Server has Public Folders, Office 365 has Groups. Microsoft 365 Groups allows you select a set of users who can collaborate and share via common resources.

In this blog, you will given the methods to perform the migration process but before that, we will understand the difference between the Public Folders and Office 365 Groups.

Let’s find out the differences in the following section.

Public Folders Vs. Office 365 Groups – How to Migrate Public Folders to Office 365

1. Collaboration for Emails

Office 365 Groups – Users can collaborate with other users in the Group with the help of Dedicated conversation space. This maintains a dedicated space and users can also broadcast information in the Group.

Public Folders – All the project-related information communication stores in the Mail-enable Public Folders are viewed by the team.

2. Collaboration for Documents

Office 365 Groups – All the files and attachments associated with mails are from the SharePoint team of the Group are displayed in Dedicated Files tab in Outlook.

Another reason why users want to batch migrate public folders to Office 365.

Public Folders – Users are forced to look for a particular file in the folder as the files are not available in one view.

3. Shared Calendar

Office 365 Groups – When you create a group, each user is given a shared calendar by default. You can update this calendar when required.

Public Folders – Public Folders can also be used to share the schedules and time-tables.

4. Permissions

Office 365 Groups – The users that are assigned in the group can derive permissions they require immediately.

Public Folders – All the users are given manual assignment of all the licenses.

5. Mobile and Web Access

Office 365 Groups – Access the Groups via the mobile app for Outlook and enjoy the rich set of features offered on the Web interface.

Public Folders – You cannot access Public Folders via mobile app and there is not much functionality on the Web interface.

Now that you know the difference, find out how to migrate the Public Folders.

Methods to Batch Migrate Public Folders to Office 365

These methods that we have here are work well but sometimes, users get stuck while migrating because of the large size of the public folder.

You will be given 2 methods to do so from which 1 is the manual solution and the other one is the alternative to cancel out all the limitations of manual migration.

Sometimes, when you move the public folders to Microsoft 365, it takes a lot of time and leads to longer downtime than expected.

This is why, it is recommended that you use the alternate solution for best results and a quick migration.

We will be explaining the manual methods as well in case you want to try these. Let’s jump right into it.

How to Migrate Public Folders to Office 365 Manually

This method involves the export of public folders to PST with the help of Outlook Import Export Wizard.

Warning: Do not use this method to migrate Public Folders with size more than 30 GB.

Follow the steps as given below:

1. Launch Outlook and go to the File option. Click on Open and Export option.

2. Choose the Import/Export option and hit Export a File. Click Next.

3. Now, click on the Outlook Data File (.pst) option and hit Next.

4. Then, mark the Include Subfolders checkbox to migrate Public Folders to Office 365.

5. After that, hit the Browse button to choose a destination location for the exported file.

6. At last, choose Finish to complete the migration process.

After saving the public folder to PST, import this file to Office 365 using the manual technique:

1. First of all, you have to download the Public Folders Migration Scripts.


2. Now, run the .\Export-PublicFolderStatistics.ps1 MyServerName.csv script to generate CSV.

3. Then, you will need to map source the Public folders to Office 365.

4. Here you need to create a Public Folder on Office 365.

5. Use the new Public Folder cmdlet, and in each public folder mailbox, start creating topmost public folder.

6. Here, you have to import the Outlook supported file (.pst) in Office 365 via Outlook Import Export Wizard.

7. Final step is to assign permission using the Exchange Admin Center.

This process is a bit complicated which is why it is not much recommended.
Use the next solution for the best experience.

Alternate Solution to Batch Migrate Public Folders to Office 365

This alternate method is going to make the migration process easier and quick. It is an expert-recommended wizard which is a reliable solution for those who have no technical expertise.

Download Now Purchase Now

Important Note: In case you want to migrate on-premise Exchange Mailboxes to Office 365, it is recommended you use this solution to perform the migration process.

Public folders can easily be transferred if the live MS Exchange Server and migration machine are present.

This tool saves a lot of time as it exports multiple mailboxes in one shot. It is important that the Active Directory and Exchange Server are active for migration.

It has no file size limitation and has been tried and tested with over 1500 mailboxes migration.

Here We End It

The Public Folders is indeed an amazing feature offered by Microsoft but makes it difficult for the users to manage the data.

This is why users prefer to batch migrate Public Folders to Office 365. But the manual method to do so is lengthy, time-consuming, and complicated.

It is not a wise decision to work with the manual solution. Use the alternate software as mentioned in this blog. It will help migrate quickly, in bulk, and maintain the folder hierarchy.