Help us learn more about how you use public folders today!

Published May 09 2011 01:27 PM 5,625 Views

EDIT 5/24/2011. This survey is now closed. Thank you for incredible amount and quality of feedback you have given us!

We wanted to reach out to our customers (you!) to learn a bit more about your public folder topologies and usage scenarios.

In order to gather this feedback, we have created an anonymous survey that we are asking you to fill out if you have the time and want to share some information like usage scenarios, folder management habits or thought process around public folder data organization.

If you have about 15 minutes to share this information with us, we would certainly appreciate it! You can reach the survey here.

Thank you!

Nino Bilic

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I get the impression MS seems to think shared mailboxes and sharepoint fill the gap without considering the shortcommings of one and the cost and complexity of the other.

Free lightweight collaberation is not something people want to start paying for :)

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Shared Contacts....we then sync the shared contacts to users mailboxes using a third party tool.

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Big AMEN to the comment above! I hope MS listens to its customers and doesn’t do what they’ve wanted to do since 2007, which is not invest anymore into PF and get rid of it all together if they can. It’s not the right move, PFs bring value to exchange!

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So, is this survey a tell us what we can do to make removing support for public folders easier?

I think Microsoft may be able to push the shared mailbox line a little bit better if they fitted more seamlessly in to outlook.

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Agree with justin.g11.  SharePoint is too slow and complex (not to mention does not offer the ability to simply drag. drop, and have delivered to it emails from mailboxes or distribution groups.  Whilst the public folder library I inherited is a monster there are few things I can do to reduce its size.  Allowing the creation of multiple, smaller databases to create the whole hierarchy would be nice.  If I can persuade my masters to allow age limits then I will be happy.  At least then it will be controlled.

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If you decide to remove public folders entirely, a tool(script?) to convert our mail-enabled public folders to shared  mailboxes (including moving permissions over to the shared mailbox) would be highly neccessary.

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I don't use public folders for anything, except I am forced to due to a bug in Outlook that prevents resource booking when public folders are dismounted. :(

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The final survey question, "If you would like to share any other feedback related to public folders, please enter it here." has a max character limit but it is not clear  what the limit is. I attempted to provide detailed feedback but had to keep chopping sentences out until the form validation didn't gripe about it being too long.

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We receive confirmation emails from vendords outside of SAS regarding orders and other correspondence.  If there is a way for those emails to go directly into a folder in Sharepoint we could certainly stop using our public folders.

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I wanted to thank MANY of you that have already filled out the survey, please keep it coming! We are also looking at your comments here and - while we are not able to share many details right now, I did want to tell you that we indeed are listening and do understand that many of rely on public folders in your businesses.

Thank you again!

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Often when we discuss moving away from public folders, the focus is on how to migrate the content. One third party even has a tool to sync SharePoint and a public folder. OK, cool .. we get that. What is missing in the discussion is replicating the end user experience of a public folder. Consider something like a public folder web part for SharePoint that behaves much like PF navigation/functionality. There you'd have something!

Also, it would be great towards the end of getting rid of PFs to have native tools that help us determine usage .. e.g. a last access date (not modification date).

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I think PF's should be given more attention, support, and emphasis. If it were up to me I would develop them into something really special and call it PFP (Public Folder Plus)!!

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Any good reasons to kill the PFes? Expect that MS does not develop that area at all...

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Please kill public folders..   years ago..  but first come out with some good tools to migrate the data to other repositories whether it be Sharepoint or other shared mailboxes.

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Thank you for asking for Public folders.

Please bring back some features from exchange 2003 as

- more details in EMC as list - like Size, Itemcount, Creationdate

- Contextmenue, on the left side (the folder hirarchie)

- possibilty to copy clientrights to subfolders

Please also some new features:

- DAG Support

- Possibility to search subfolders wihtout cachmode


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I do alot of migrations from non-Microsoft messaging platforms over to Exchange 2010. Doing this, clients usually go for Outlook 2007 or Outlook 2010 since it is a new deployment for them anyways. These products as we know do not require public folders so usually the organization ends up not having any public folder databases! However, I get asked many times for a way to migrate their departmental calendars or a shared contact list. Usually calendars are moved into new shared mailboxes as they do not see the benefit of creating a whole database just for shared calendars. I think Microsoft should think of a way of creating a special type of mailbox that will contain only a calendar because in reality all resource mailboxes do not really need a mailbox. Also some companies think having a disabled account just to have a calendar is a bit overwhelming and some consider it a security risk so they have to go with public folders which they really do not want to do but have no choice.

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@Karsten: You can copy client permission to subfolders by right-clicking and selecting 'Manage Settings'.

@PaulVoller: You can deliver mail to sharepoint libraries from DL's, you should read the manual regarding mail enabled libraries its quite simple.

I would sum up the most common issue when moving away from PF's as 'user experience'.

Users, and many admins, refuse to accept change and dont want to navigate a sharepoint site because they have not taken the time to link outlook to their sharepoint data.

With the correct user training it is 100% feasible to get rid of PF's.

Spend the dev time/money porting exchange over to SQL instead of Jet and forget about PF's

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Have more than 200 mail enabled PF, use these as recipients of customers orders based on email address and transport rules. We have a large number of Active Directory mail enabled security and distribution groups that get copied from the PFolders. We also use PF to store messages and reports generated by our application software and copies of messages from our business teams, again using Transport rules and mail enabled PFs.  PF have the ability to store data and age/retain.  PF's are easily accessible from Outlook and OWA.  Since our company is manned by employees who are not computer literate and do not fare well with high tech/complicated Share Point and the high cost of SharePoint we cannot migrate.  We would like the ability to create more than one PF store per server, this would resolve space allocation and management and improve performance.

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we desperately need some decent tools to manage Public Folders. I challenge anyone who thinks Powershell, or indeed the 2007/2010 GUI's to come to our Investment bank and try administerting 200,000+ Public Folders many layers deep and shared between 35,000+ users. We are forced to keep 2003 serversin our org so that we can still use 2003 ESM and PFDevAdmin, surely its time MS realise PF's aren't going away and customers like/need them, so hopefully the 'reaching out' is going to be acknowledging this and doing something about writing usable tools and GUI.

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@Gary Hay

...right-clicking and selecting 'Manage Settings'

Thanks for your info - but that was true with Exchange 2003 but no longer with 2010 - The Exchange 2010 SP1 RU3 Wizzard allows to add users, or remove them (including Subfolders) but not to deploy the settings from the folder above.

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We are a local government and depend on Public Folders for several reasons.  We do not host our own website and do not allow users to VPN into the network.  The only contact with the corporate data is via OWA.  The public folders house essential information such as schedules, activities, court dates (for Police officers), and Emergency Operations information.  

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I have a Law Firm that uses public folders for the Lawyers court calendars and give access to all the employees to view and modify the calendar items.  I know the better way would be to have that information put on the individual personal calendars of the lawyers and then share them that way.  

My problem though is not necessarilly public folder issues, it's activesync issues.  If a lawyer has a phone with active sync, there is no way other than some third party tool to sync with public folders.  If the lawyer had their public calendar as a personal calendar but wanted a second personal calendar for private items, active sync can't sync both calendars only one.  

So my two cent is that you do a better job with activesync.

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Shared Calendars for PTO by Department and Team

Shared Contacts

Shared Mailboxes (Legacy)

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mail enabled folders:

publish official statements companywide

share documents with colleauges residing at Customer's site

official phonebook

lightweight grouware

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Please give me pfdavadmin for easy restore of deleted public Folders in Exchange 2010

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@Robert - for Exchange 2010, the tool is called ExFolders and can be found here:

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I'm a consultant and I see different orgs all the time and Public Folders are still being heavily used.  One customer has over 100Gb in PFs.  

I'd like to see better PF management, ESPECIALLY with permisisons and managing replicas.   Instead of mothballing PFs, let's make them better.

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Can we add option to import/export contacts in OWA?

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