Trying to set up Office365 Exchange in-place archiving but running into issues with the in-place archiving never running? Read below on multiple things you can try to fix the issue with your Office365 Exchange In-Place Archiving not working.

Certain Office365 organizations have had a retention hold or legal hold placed on them. This usually occurs during migrations to prevent users from deleting or altering emails that may still be actively importing. If this feature is enabled, in-place archiving will not work for the affected users. You can disable this retention hold via PowerShell.

  1. First, connect to Exchange's online PowerShell (click to read instructions).
  2. Now that you're successfully connected, run the following command to see the current status of the RetentionHoldEnabled property for a specific user in Exchange: Get-Mailbox "FirstName LastName" | Select RetentionHoldEnabled
  3. If you're trying to check the whole organization and not just a specific user, you can do so by issuing the following command: Get-Mailbox -ResultSize unlimited | Where-Object {$_.RetentionHoldEnabled -eq $true} | Format-Table Name,RetentionPolicy,RetentionHoldEnabled -Auto
  4. In order to disable the retention hold, simply issue the following command: Set-Mailbox "FirstName LastName" -RetentionHoldEnabled $false

That's all there is to disabling the retention hold for specific users inside of the Office365 organization.

ElcProcessingDisabled Property

ElcProcessingDisabled is yet another mailbox property that could be causing issues with the Managed Folder Assistant not wanting to run and therefore stopping the in-place archiving of emails. The only caveat to this property is that it can be set on both the individual level as well as the organization level. You need to make sure this is set to $false on all the users within the Office365 organization as well as the organization itself. If enabled on the organization level, it will apply to all users within the organization regardless of their individual setting for this property. You can set this property to $false by issuing the following two commands:

Individual User Setting: Set-Mailbox "X" -ElcProcessingDisabled $false

Organization Level Setting: Set-OrganizationConfig -ElcProcessingDisabled $false

Once you've issued these two commands, you should also make sure that there is no retention policy with a Preservation Lock applied. You can read more about this at Microsoft. This is because the Managed Folder Assistant cannot be disabled for any mailboxes that have a locked retention policy assigned to them.

Retention Compliance Policies and Compliance Tags

Another cause of the In-Place Archiving not wanting to work is the currently configured compliance policies and tags within the affected organization. You'll want to ensure that no compliance policies and tags are causing the emails to remain in the Inbox and are thereby preventing the Managed Folder Assistant from being able to archive those items.

You'll want to make use of the completely separate Security & Compliance Center PowerShell in order to look at and remove any such policies. If you need instructions on connecting to this specific center via PowerShell, you can learn how to do so at Microsoft here.

The command to look at currently set up compliance tags is Get-ComplianceTag

The command to look at currently set up retention compliance policies is Get-RetentionCompliancePolicy

The command to remove a compliance tag is Remove-ComplianceTag

The command to remove a retention compliance policy is Remove-RetentionCompliancePolicy

All the commands above are clickable and will take you to the documentation over at Microsoft that explains the parameters and syntax of each command.

In my case, the organization I was working out of had existing retention compliance policies and tags that were interfering with the in-place archiving policy. After removing the troublesome compliance policies and tags and running the necessary managed folder assistant, the in-place archiving started working for all users.

Manually Starting Exchange Archive Process

Once you've gone through all of the above steps, you should issue the following command on the regular Exchange Online PowerShell to manually start the in-place archiving process.

Start-ManagedFolderAssistant  -Identity "Name"

This will immediately start the MRM processing of the mailboxes you specify. You can read more about this command over at Microsoft by clicking here.

I hope this blog post has helped you with fixing the issue with your Office365 organization's in-place archiving.