Migrate shared mailboxes to Exchange Online

Regularly I get the question from customers how to move shared mailboxes to Exchange Online and which considerations they should make before doing so. For this reason, I decided to write a little bit about this subject.

What is a shared mailbox?

A shared mailbox is used to send and receive email from a common account. A shared mailbox is available for multiple users. When someone replies an email that was sent to a shared mailbox the reply address is not the users own email address, but the email address of the shared mailbox, for example, info@companydomain.com. The difference between a regular user mailbox and a shared mailbox is that a regular user mailbox has its own username and password, while this is not the case with a shared mailbox. Therefore, it is not possible to manually sign in to a shared mailbox.

Migrating a shared mailbox to Exchange Online

Administrators generally create a normal user mailbox and subsequently share this mailbox with different users. Doing so the mailbox will have the type “regular”. This means that the mailbox is just a normal user mailbox. Thus, after migrating this mailbox to Exchange Online, a license is required to obtain access to the mailbox. However, this is not necessary, keeping in mind that using shared mailboxes is free of charge in Exchange Online. Nevertheless, if no license is assigned, and the mailbox has the type “regular” the mailbox will be deleted after 30 days by default. To prevent that shared mailboxes will be deleted in Exchange Online without adding a license, the procedure described below can be followed.

Before start migrating, convert the mailbox type in the Exchange on premise environment so it will get the type “shared”.

Convert a user mailbox to a shared mailbox

In order to convert a user mailbox to a shared mailbox, start by checking in the on-premise Exchange environment which mailboxes do have the type “shared”. To do so follow the next steps:

First, open the Exchange Management Console -> Recipient Configuration -> Mailbox. In the column Recipient Type Details, check if the mailbox has either the type user mailbox, discovery mailbox, equipment mailbox, room mailbox or shared mailbox. Alternatively, it is possible to use PowerShell using the following command: Get-Mailbox -RecipientTypeDetails SharedMailbox

Second, convert the mailbox to the type “shared”: Set-Mailbox -Identity “email address or alias” -type shared, please see Figure 1.

Figure 1. Convert the mailbox type using PowerShell.

Now that the mailbox is converted to “Shared” it is ready for migrating to Exchange Online. After the migration check if the shared mailbox is indeed listed under shared in the Exchange admin center as presented in Figure 2.

Figure 2. Exchange admin center.

Keep in mind that the user that needs to access the shared mailbox has an Exchange Online license assigned to his or her account.


Installation of Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 CU11 – Part 1

On December 15th 2015 Microsoft released the Cumulative Update 11 (CU11) for Exchange Server 2013. In the upcoming blog post series I will describe the steps for a Greenfield installation of Exchange 2013 CU11 on Microsoft Windows Server 2012R2. In total this blog post series will consist of four parts.

Regarding to this subject several download links can be find below:

Download Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 CU11:


Issues that the cumulative update fixes:


Exchange 2013 system requirements:


Note: As this update is Cumulative it is not required to install the previous CU’s.

In the current blog post, Part 1 of the blog post series, I will describe a Greenfield scenario. Therefore I will start with a clean Windows Server 2012R2. First I will describe the installation of the required pre-requisites followed by the Exchange 2013CU11 installation.

Different pre-requisites are defined for Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 CU11, which include the following:

  • Extract Exchange2013_CU11
  • Install .Net Framework 3.5
  • Unified Communications Managed API 4.0
  • Install the Active Directory Management Tools
  • Check if the account is a member of the proper Active Directory groups
  • Prepare AD schema
  • Prepare Domain
  • Installation of Windows Features

Also make sure that the server is member of the domain and it has a static IP address.

Step 1: Extract Exchange2013_CU11

First download Exchange 2013CU11 here. If the download goes well you will see the following file, Exchange2013-x64-cu11.exe. Extract this file in a directory on your hard drive. In my case “C:\Install\Exchange2013_CU11” (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Extracted files Exchange 2013CU11

Figure 1. Extracted files Exchange 2013CU11.

Step 2: Install .Net Framework 3.5 and 4.5

After the extracting of Exchange 2013CU11, it is time to install .Net Framework 3.5. Make sure the WinSxS folder is accessible since the correct source files are required for the installation.

Next, start an elevated command prompt and run the following command (Figure 2):

dism /online /enable-feature /featurename:NetFX3 /all /Source:C:\Windows\WinSxS

Figure 2. Installing .Net Framework 3.5 in an elevated command prompt

Figure 2. Installing .Net Framework 3.5 in an elevated command prompt.

Step 3: Unified Communications Managed API 4.0

Download the Unified Communications Managed API 4.0 Runtime from the Microsoft Download Center: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=34992

After downloading, launch the install and follow the instructions on the screens.

Step 4: Install the Active Directory Management Tools

Now it is time to install the Active Directory Management Tools. This can also be done within the Server Manager. For convenience, I choose to install this with PowerShell. Open PowerShell as an administrator and run the following command: Install-WindowsFeature RSAT-ADDS

Figure 3. Installing Remote Server Administration Tools with PowerShell

Figure 3. Installing Remote Server Administration Tools with PowerShell.

Step 5: Check if the account is a member of the proper Active Directory groups

Make sure that the account that is used is a member of the following AD groups:

  • Schema Admins
  • Enterprise Admins
  • Domain Admins

Step 6: Prepare Schema

The Prepare Schema command below connects to the Schema Master and extends the Schema with Microsoft Exchange 2013 specific attributes. For more information see: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb125224(v=exchg.150).aspx Make sure to run this command from the directory were the installation files of Exchange2013-x64-cu11 are located as shown in Figure 5. Start the command prompt with elevated rights and run the following command: Setup /PrepareSchema /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms

Figure 4. Output from the prepare schema command

Figure 4. Output from the prepare schema command.

Step 7: Prepare Active Directory

The command displayed in figure 5, prepares the Active Directory (Forest). For more information see http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb125224(v=exchg.150).aspx Run the this command from an elevated command prompt: Setup /PrepareAD /OrganizationName:S……e /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms

Note: In this scenario I install a new Exchange 2013 environment. Therefore it is required to list an organization name. If one is preparing Active Directory in an existing organization this step can be skipped, because the organization name is already known.

Figure 5. Output from the prepare AD command

Figure 5. Output from the prepare AD command.

Step 8: Installation of Windows Features

The command displayed in figure 6 will install all the necessary Windows features required for Exchange such as HTTP-Activation, Desktop Experience, .Net Framework 4.5. Etc. It is recommended to execute the command in this stage because the server needs a reboot after installing the Windows features to successfully finish the installation process.

Run the following command as an administrator in PowerShell:

Install-WindowsFeature AS-HTTP-Activation, Desktop-Experience, NET-Framework-45-Features, RPC-over-HTTP-proxy, RSAT-Clustering, RSAT-Clustering-CmdInterface, RSAT-Clustering-Mgmt, RSAT-Clustering-PowerShell, Web-Mgmt-Console, WAS-Process-Model, Web-Asp-Net45, Web-Basic-Auth, Web-Client-Auth, Web-Digest-Auth, Web-Dir-Browsing, Web-Dyn-Compression, Web-Http-Errors, Web-Http-Logging, Web-Http-Redirect, Web-Http-Tracing, Web-ISAPI-Ext, Web-ISAPI-Filter, Web-Lgcy-Mgmt-Console, Web-Metabase, Web-Mgmt-Console, Web-Mgmt-Service, Web-Net-Ext45, Web-Request-Monitor, Web-Server, Web-Stat-Compression, Web-Static-Content, Web-Windows-Auth, Web-WMI, Windows-Identity-Foundation

Figure 6. Output from the install Windows features command in PowerShell

Figure 6. Output from the install Windows features command in PowerShell.

Exchange 2013 CU11 installation

Now that we prepared Active Directory and installed all the other required components it’s time to launch the Exchange 2013CU11 installation itself. To start the setup, go to the directory were the extracted files from step 1 are located. In my case “C:\Install\Exchange2013_CU11” run the “Setup.exe” as an Administrator.

Just to be sure you run the most recent version, you can select the option to connect to the internet and check for updates. Hit Next. See figure 7.

Figure 7. Check for updates prior to the setup

Figure 7. Check for updates prior to the setup.

In my case no updates were found so hit next.

Figure 8. Check for updates prior to the setup

Figure 8. Check for updates prior to the setup.

Wait for the initializing setup to complete.

Figure 9. Initializing setup

Figure 9. Initializing setup.

Select next on the introduction page.

Figure 10. Introduction screen of the Microsoft Exchange Server 2013

Figure 10. Introduction screen of the Microsoft Exchange Server 2013.

Read carefully the license agreement, or not. Anyway select “I accept the terms in the license agreement” and click next.

Figure 11. License Agreement terms

Figure 11. License Agreement terms.

In this scenario I used the recommended settings, select this one and hit next.

Figure 12. Recommended settings screen

Figure 12. Recommended settings screen.

On this screen the setup want to know which Exchange roles have to be installed on the server. In my case I select both the Mailbox and Client Access role to be installed. If you want it is possible to separate these roles on different servers.

Last but not least check also the “Automatically install Windows Server Roles and features that are required to install Exchange Server”. Hit next.

Figure 13. Server Role Selection screen

Figure 13. Server Role Selection screen.

Select the installation folder for Exchange 2013CU11.

Figure 14. Installation location screen

Figure 14. Installation location screen.

In this step in the wizard you must specify the name for the Exchange organization. It is required to provide a name as it is a new installation. If you want to use apply Active Directory split permissions make sure you select the checkbox.

Figure 15. Exchange Organization name screen













Figure 15. Exchange Organization name screen.

Default Malware Protection is on. If you don’t want to use this check Disable malware scanning Yes. In my case I do want to use malware scanning. Hit next.

Figure 16. Select the use of malware scanning

Figure 16. Select the use of malware scanning.

The setup will execute some final checks and if you see no warnings appear hit install to start the installation.

Figure 17. Readiness Checks

Figure 17. Readiness Checks.

When the Setup has finished, reboot the server to complete the installation of Exchange 2013CU11. Hit finish to close the wizard.

Figure 18. Installation location screen

Figure 18. Installation location screen.

After the reboot you can connect to the Exchange Admin Center with the following URL:


To connect to the Outlook Web App use this URL:


Now you can configure the Exchange server to your own needs. In part 2 I will describe how to install and configure Exchange certificates.

Good luck!