Enable Unlimited Archiving in Office 365
By Rob Vogl
As many Office 365 administrators are aware, archiving is an available option that can be enabled on Office 365 mailboxes. The size of the archive is completely based on the Office 365 license you assign. This article will walk you through what is required if you would like to enable an unlimited archive for an Office 365 mailbox.
The first step is to procure an Office 365 license that includes Exchange Online (Plan 2). This can be purchased as is, or it comes inside a few different subscriptions; such as Office 365 Enterprise E3. If you are using an Exchange Online (Plan 1) license, you must either upgrade them to Exchange Online (Plan 2) or you can assign them an additional Exchange Online Archiving license as well.
Once the appropriate license has been added, your organization’s Global Administrator must enable archiving on the account. To simplest way to perform this is the following:
- Login to https://portal.office365.com
- Click Admin Centers on the left-hand pane
- Select Exchange on the drop-down options
- On the Exchange Admin Center screen, click Recipients
- Then click Mailboxes on the top tab
- Use the search option to find the appropriate user
- Once found, click once on their name
- On the right-hand pane you will see user information
- Under In-Place Archive click Enable
After enablement you will see that the user has access to a 100 GB archive. For most individuals this would be more than enough storage for email. But for some, additional storage is required. Luckily the Exchange Online (Plan 2) license provides an unlimited archive. The trick is knowing how to enable that function as it is disabled by default.
The auto-expand feature for Office 365 archives works when an archive has almost reached its threshold. This sends a command for storage to be automatically provisioned so the user never hits the storage threshold and is unable to archive additional data. This is done with the user never knowing this is occurring in the background.
Enabling the auto-expand feature is done through PowerShell. It is either ran on the individual user themselves or can also be ran at the tenant level. If you enable auto-expanding for your organization, it will enable this for all existing archived users and for any new users you enable archiving for in the future.
The PowerShell command to run this at the organizational level is the following:
The PowerShell command to run this on an individual user is the following:
Enable-Mailbox <user mailbox> -AutoExpandingArchive
A couple things to note about the auto-expand feature is it adds 10 GB of additional storage at a time. So, for example, if a user hits the storage threshold of 100 GB, it will auto-expand to 110 GB. Once 110 GB is hit, it will move up to 120 GB, and so on. Also, the Recoverable Items folder within the user’s mailbox is also increased by 10 GB, but this is only applicable if the mailbox is on hold or assigned to an Office 365 retention policy.
Finally, if you want to verify that the auto-expanding archive is enabled you can do so also through PowerShell. Please use the following commands:
Get-OrganizationConfig | FL AutoExpandingArchiveEnabled
Get-Mailbox <user mailbox> | FL AutoExpandingArchiveEnabled
If the value returned is “True” then it means auto-archive is enabled. If the value returned is “False” then it means auto-archive is disabled for the user or tenant.
Please note that if you’d like to enable the auto-archive feature for a Shared Mailbox, you will need to assign an Exchange Online (Plan 2) or an Exchange Online Archiving license just like a user mailbox.