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Deprecation of Site Mailboxes

In March 2017, we took the first step towards deprecating site mailboxes by announcing that we will stop the creation of new ones. Today you can no longer create site mailboxes and over time we will stop support for the product completely.

 

Site mailboxes offered a great way to augment the collaboration options available on a SharePoint site. Despite people turning to site mailboxes to satisfy their email based collaboration needs, we have not seen the level of adoption that we would have liked. We have in fact, seen a declining trend over the years despite our best efforts to promote site mailboxes. To the customers who did use site mailboxes regularly, we appreciate your commitment towards our product and value your partnership. We understand that this decision will be disappointing for a few of you. But after a lot of internal deliberation, we have decided to deprecate site mailboxes and invest in Office 365 groups.

 

Office 365 groups go beyond just providing a shared inbox space by having a shared documents library, a shared calendar, a shared notebook and a lot more. See Learn about Office 365 Groups to know more. Groups are self-served and give more power to end users to actively collaborate among themselves. Whether you want to set up a small project team or a large helpdesk, Office 365 groups work great in all scenarios. In its short duration of existence, groups have already seen a much larger adoption than site mailboxes. This, coupled with the ability to associate a group with a SharePoint team site make Office 365 groups the ideal replacement for site mailboxes.

 

We understand that we have a lot of customers still actively using site mailboxes and that this deprecation will affect their day to day operations. We assure such customers that we are working on providing a solution for the transition process. By the end of 2017 we will have a process in place which will let you connect your classic experience SharePoint team site to an Office 365 group. As a start, you can check out Use Office 365 Groups instead of Site Mailboxes to know how to move to groups.

 

We are grateful for the continued patronage our customers have shown us and we hope to extend this into the future as well. Do reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns.

 

21 Comments
Valued Contributor
Hi Mohammad, You mention '...over time we will stop support for the product completely.' This is somewhat vague in nature. Can Microsoft be more precise? You state you are working on a transition process but give no timelines for publishing this. However small the customer contigent often a long lead time is needed. Currently, there has been a trend for Microsoft to apologise for not giving enough notice when posting on the Message Center. Can this be avoided here? Is good to see announcements here on the blog of course but changes like this require a lot of promotion. I hope we see this widely. Thanks
Microsoft

Hi John

 

The reason we haven't given a timeline for when we will completely stop support for the product is because we are still working on it. We understand that we haven't given our customers enough lead time in the past, but we will definitely take that into account with our future announcements. I've also updated the blog to include the timeline for the transition process. We will be sending out a Message Center post to improve the visibility of this announcement. Thanks for your feedback.

Valued Contributor
Hi Mohammad, Thank you for your reply and the timeline clarification. It's appreciated.

Good move. They just weren't that useful.

Senior Member

As the admin, how can I permanently remove Site Mailboxes from users outlook? 

Microsoft

Hi Sherry

 

As an admin you can remove the underlying mailbox using the PowerShell command Remove-Mailbox. Once you do this the mailbox will be removed and emails sent to it will NDR. The users will still see the site mailbox option on their respective clients but trying to fetch its contents will result in errors. The SharePoint site owner will have to manually uninstall the site mailbox app from the SharePoint site.

Regular Visitor

When will there be a migration tool for the site Mailboxes?  Is there a command that I can run to see which site Mailboxes have content and which mail boxes do not have content so I can start removing the ones with no Content...  Our users used this feature pretty often. 

 

Microsoft

Hi James

 

You will soon be able to "groupify" the site so that the SharePoint site will be attached with an Office 365 group. Watch this video from the recent Ignite session regarding this. We are working on providing a way to migrate content from the site mailbox to the group. 

 

You can use the Get-SiteMailbox PowerShell command to get a list of all the site mailboxes in your tenant. You can pipe the output of this command to Get-MailboxStatistics to get the mailbox stats. The "TotalItemSize" and "LastLogonTime" properties will be of interest to you. Once you've identified the site mailboxes you want to delete, use the Remove-Mailbox command.

Regular Visitor

We have 3000 site collections will the command be able to go through all the sites?

 

We don't want to move towards groups at this time but we need to clean up our GAL any thoughts on cleanup of the GAL?

Microsoft

Hi James

 

The commands I have given will help you identify which are the site mailboxes that are inactive. Running it over 3000 site mailboxes might take a while but it shouldn't be an issue. Once you've identified the inactive site mailboxes you can either choose to delete the mailboxes themselves or remove them from the GAL. To remove from GAL you can use the Set-Mailbox -Identity $DisplayName -HiddenFromAddressListsEnabled $true command.

Senior Member

Mohammad: 

Is there anyway to hid a SMO mailbox since it's not listed in the admin center enchange mailboxes?

Regular Visitor

Would it be better to remove the mailbox or would it be better to hide the mailbox from the GAL?  

 

Reason I am asking is I thought if you used this command you can hide from the GAL correct?

 

Set-Mailbox -Identity SMO-MAILBOX NAME HERE -HiddenFromAddressListsEnabled $true

 

How long does it take to refresh the GAL?  I tried to download a new copy however some test mailboxes are still there

 

Regular Visitor

What property would give me the count of each Site Mailbox?  

I tried the following without success  |SelectItemcount| ForEach {$totalItems+=$_.ItemCount}

 

Here is my current script that works however, I am not getting the count of each mailbox which is the last thing I need to get for scripting... 

 

below works great:

get-SiteMailbox -BypassOwnerCheck | get-mailboxstatistics | select DisplayName,ItemCount,TotalItemSize,lastlogontime | export-csv "c:\temp\MailboxSizes.csv"

 

Microsoft

Hi Sherry

Yes, the site mailboxes don't show up in the Exchange Admin Center but they can be dealt with through PowerShell pretty much the same way as other mailboxes. The cmdlets to hide/delete them are the same as for any other mailbox and I've mentioned them in some of the comments earlier in this thread.

 

Hi James

When you remove the mailbox you essentially delete the mailbox with all its content. Hiding from GAL just makes the mailbox non discoverable. So take the step that you think is suitable for you. I don't think I can give a definitive answer on how long the command will take to reflect since that could be a function of a number of things. But if hiding from GAL doesn't work as expected then feel free to raise a ticket. Also do let me know if were able to get your script to work. If you weren't, I could point you to someone who could help you out with it.

Occasional Visitor

Is there an update on the plans on what to do with site mailboxes in SharePoint?   Admin message center advised tools where coming end of 2017.

Our clients would like to migrate their SMBs out.  We have plans on what we can do but with no real tool, why we this disabled?

Microsoft

Hi Juan

We hit some issues and we are in the process of rolling out the Groupifying of a SharePoint site. Once this is GA, you will be able to attach an Office 365 group to an existing SharePoint site that has the site mailbox. Note that we are not planning to build any special tools for migrating data from the site mailbox to the group.

Contributor

Hi @Mohammad Sarosh 

As there is "no way" to migrate content, does that means that we can keep using the site mailboxes that are in use?

Is there a date annouced for end of support?

Microsoft

Hi Bernd

We are currently not investing in building a tool to migrate content from site mailboxes. We also don't have a date on when we will end support. We ensure that we will provide enough lead time before we stop support for all site mailboxes though.

Occasional Visitor

We have potential legal obligation to retain our emails and we were using site mailboxes.  Is there a way to migrate the email to a group box that retains the date stamping?

Occasional Visitor

We just exported over 200 SMB for our client and did 2 things for them 1. Provided them a PST for old matters 2. Converted the PST to MSGs.

 

We then uploaded them back up to their proper sites for the client to have access to

 

Did a few exports to validate the data plus my team also did a manual check - Some SMB would not open anymore - some just had welcome emails

 

Exports

 

Exchange export

Site Mailbox with connected URLs as by name it will be hard to map - for our client they name their site with almost the same name

 

It was not too bad - It was worth the Azure server we built for this migration as the export and import in Office 365 (SharePoint / Exchange) was super fast and pretty cheap.

 

 

 

@Juan Ballar I'd be interested in the details behind your methodology. Care to share?