Decommissioning Outlook Public Folders

Background to public folders

We will be decommissioning public folders later this year.

A lot of work is taking place on this project to identify how people are using Outlook public folders, and what they are using them for, before we stop using public folders at LSE.

We will not be migrating Public Folders when we move email to Office 365, and that included rolling out Office 365 to students last year. We know there are better solutions out there now, and would like to offer those to staff and students instead of public folders, which no longer suit the majority of needs.

Public folders have been in use at the LSE since 1995, and usage has steadily risen since then to over 30,000 public folders. Unfortunately, very little housekeeping has taken place, so there are hundreds of thousands of old files and emails on public folders that haven’t been touched in years, but we don’t know what might be important in amongst those files.

In addition, current usage is much higher than had been predicted – around 10,000 public folders were created or modified last year, and those folders collectively hold just over half a million separate files. Clearly not something we can decommission without a lot of consultation and thought.

Decommissioning public folders

Now that SharePoint has launched, we have a deadline for public folders to be decommissioned: October 31st 2014

Most staff who were using public folders have now stopped using them and we have closed those department or group folders down – but there are still some left!

If you need advice on how to migrate your content or on what alternative solutions you should be using, do contact the project team at|, but you can also see a table of what content to migrate to which system below.

Migrating content to SharePoint

Please note that migrating content from public folders to SharePoint, indeed from public folders to any other system, is not straight forward. In most cases, it is not possible to drag and drop multiple items, and you will lose metadata (e.g. the date a document was created and any permissions on a document or folder).

We can help you as we have access to an extraction tool that will take the content out of public folders onto a shared drive where you can then drag and drop multiple items or entire folders into SharePoint (or other solutions, such as a shared folder on deptshared).

Please be prepared though to recreate all permissions on folders etc. As part of the SharePoint training, you are encouraged to plan your site and to think about the best way to structure it, so just dragging all your existing folders into SharePoint is not likely to be the best way to work.

However, if you do have the need for this, please contact|, but please be aware that there are limitations on the way public folder content is migrated that we may not be able to overcome. You are strongly advised to note down all your folder and document permissions before you migrate so that you can recreate them again if need be.

What content goes where?

 You can see a rough guide to content we know people are using on public folders, and what the best alternative is, below:

For collaborative working , e.g. shared documents, team documents



Shared mailbox in Exchange 2010, which is the system currently used for all staff email. When staff email is migrated to Office 365 at the end of 2014, we will be using Outlook Online 2013, and this will enable a lot of features in SharePoint (such as synchronised contacts and calendars with Outlook) not currently available. In the meantime, a shared mailbox in our existing email system is the best solution.

Calendars (not used for booking rooms)

As above, shared mailbox in Exchange 2010

Room booking calendars

Exchange 2010 resource calendars – this work is already underway, so you should already have been contacted by the project team, if you haven’t please contact us urgently at


You are strongly advised not to store years’ worth of emails unless there is a legal reason to do so. If you do need to store them in a way that is accessible to more than one person, you should request a shared mailbox in Exchange 2010. Contact the IT Service Desk| to make this request.

Long-term storage

If you have a requirement for long-term storage that is not currently met by any other system, you can request shared drive space, but please contact| to discuss your requirements.



Public folders are now inaccessible to undergraduate students since their email was moved to Office 365 last year.