An Exchange Server database is divided into two storage compartments: Private Store (Priv.edb) and Public Store (Pub.edb). While the private database, i.e. the mailboxes is a clear part to administrators and end users, the public folder database is a confusing story at both the ends.
Understanding Exchange Server Public Folders
In simple words, a public folder can be defined as a “Shared Inbox”. This means, a platform is provided where multiple users to share sort of information with each other. Just like a mailbox, a public folder can contain emails, documents, discussions, email archives etc.
The basic reason for designing public folders is to provide shared access to data and information within a group of people or organization. It is more like an electronic bulletin where new and important information is updated. Users who read this bulletin can be a part of online discussion. For example: A work group in organization and share, access, and give feedback on a project they are working on. The good part is PFs are organized in deep hierarchy that makes it easy for the end users to browse it easily.
#1: Exchange 2010 public folders can be created using Exchange Management Console (EMC). However, for management of PFs, the “Public Folder Management Console” is provided that is available under Toolbox of EMC.
#2: Each Server can have only one Public Folder database per organization. However, there can be root folders for sharing information that can further have child folders. For example: If a child folder “New” has to be added to root folder “Share”, it can done wither using EMC or following PowerShell command can be run:
New-PublicFolder –Name ‘New’-Path “\share” –Server ‘win8.mailtest.com’
#3: As per requirement, a group of users can be added to public folder and a permission level can be granted to him which can be Owner, Editor, Contributor, Publisher etc. Depending upon the permission level, the basic rights will be assigned to the user (which can further be modified). The permissions are to control access to the data and information shared to the users.
#4: If a Public Folder is mail-enabled, it can then be used as a generic mail address. When a folder is mail enabled, an email address is generated to share send emails to that particular folder. For example: If a PF “Share” is mail-enabled on server “mailtest.com”, then an email address named firstname.lastname@example.org will be created using which emails can be shared through email.
Public folders are created by administrators or concerned departments who have permissions to do so. With appropriate permissions, the users get the permission to set up PF. Although it completely depends upon the owner as which right should be assigned to users, but it is mandatory that at least the right to read items is available to all members of the group. The public folders can be accessed by the end user through Outlook or Outlook Web Access.
Exporting Public Folder Database to Outlook PST
Emails, calendars, tasks and other items of the public folder can be exported to PST using MS Outlook. Through the Import-Export Wizard, it is possible to migrate data from public folders to PST file. However, if the public folder database has to be migrated to new database or Server and there is need to convert pub1 EDB to PST, then it is required that specialized tools are required for complete data migration in one go.