Microsoft Exchange 2003 – Public Folders

Introduction to Public Folder Migration

When you administer Exchange, Public folders always seem to have their own personality separate from the mailboxes.  It is the same for migration, Public Folders need their own plan to replicate and move data from Exchange 5.5.

Topics for Public Folder Migration


Planning Public Folder Servers

The key question is will you have a dedicated public folder server, or whether to run the mail and public folder on the same Exchange 2003 machine?  The answer depends on the size of your organization.  For large companies separating public folder traffic from mailbox traffic is essential, while on small organization co-existence would be more cost effective.

Another consideration is how many public folders servers do you need?  One for each of the main sites would be a good starting point.  Clients at small sites could access public folders on the larger sites provided the network was fast enough.

Public Folder Migration Tool (pfMigrate)

Exchange 2003 has a new tool called pfMigrate that helps you to migrate both system folders and public folders from Exchange 5.5.  The key concept is Replica.  You can use pfMigrate to create replica folders on the new server.  Unlike Exchange 5.5, you do not need to set a home server for a public folder in Exchange Server 2003.  This is because Active Directory uses the multiple master model whereby any server has a read write copy of the public folder information.

With pfMigrate you can carry out a trial run and produce a report; if you like what you see then you can run the tool again and actually migrate the public folders.

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Installing pfMigrate

pfMigrate.wsf is actually a command-line script rather than an executable.  You will find the script on the ExchangeCD\Support\ExDeploy folder.  Alternatively, you can run the script through the Exchange Deployment Tools which you find on the first screen of the setup menu.


After you run pfMigrate, only the hierarchy of the system folders and public folders is migrated immediately. Be patient and wait for replication for the actual contents of the folders to be migrated.

ADC Agreements

You can use the Active Directory Connector to create agreements to synchronize and migrate public folders from Exchange 5.5 to Exchange 2003.  These are the same principles that you used to make ADC agreements for mailboxes.

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