Can you view your Exchange 2010 email archive via ActiveSync?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I received an interesting question today from a reader that I thought I'd share:
"Can you view your Exchange 2010 email archive via ActiveSync?"
The answer is usually no, not currently.  The reason is because  the Exchange 2010 archive is really a separate mailbox on the mailbox server, and ActiveSync usually cannot access more than one Exchange mailbox at a time.

There are a few phones (the Droid and jailbroken iPhones) that can access more than one Exchange mailbox at a time.  The new iPhone 4.0 OS that will be released later this year will be able to do this, too (can't wait!). 

The question that I can't answer is whether or not these particular phones can have more than one Exchange ActiveSync mailbox on the same server.  Exchange 2010 SP1 will allow you to put the archive on a different Exchange 2010 SP1 server (thereby making Exchange archiving actually useful).  Exchange ActiveSync creates a connection partnership between the user's AD account and the EAS device.  Each ActiveSync mailbox requires a unique ActiveSync partnership (detailed in my post, here), so unless the archive mailbox can host a different partnership and you can access it directly, it probably won't work.

I created an archive on Exchange 2010 SP1 beta and the archive does, indeed, show as a separate associated mailbox in MFCMapi.  However, I don't see any way to reference that mailbox directly using ActiveSync.  That seems to be the only barrier to accessing the archive using ActiveSync, assuming your version of EAS allows more than one EAS account.  Perhaps Microsoft will consider this before SP1 is released later this year.


  1. To my understanding the one user = one mailbox paradigm has primarily been a client issue. (I'm leaving shared mailboxes, multiple user accounts, etc out of the equation.)

    With Outlook 2010 it's no problem adding multiple Exchange mailboxes, although there's probably some restrictions. Well, ok, it would probably be more correct to say you can add multiple Exchnge accounts.

    Same with ActiveSync really - the device will only allow one Exchange mailbox/account, but multiple IMAP/POP accounts. Understandably enough it would be complicated handling multiple calendars and contact lists between the different accounts. Mail would be more easy since you expect that to be "sandboxed" sort of, but you usually don't want to check multiple calendars to see if you are available for an appointment. (There has been a market for shared calendars, contact lists, etc, and that's why there are third-party software solutions handling this.)

    With Windows Phone 7 you can add multiple Exchange accounts on the device. Granted I've only tested with the CTP emulator, but I can add two different Exchange accounts. If one of them has security policies these will be applied. This is still limited to only one mailbox pr user account as far as I can tell. I have yet to find a parameter in the Exchange ActiveSync protocol that will let me specify the actual mailbox to use, so I guess archives are still tricky in that sense.

    Haven't looked into if this could be solved by Exchange Web Services. That would require an extra client/app though, and possibly not be integrated in the shell the same way as the "proper" account.

  2. In further discussions with Ivor, the reader who asked the question, we discussed whether adding the archive mailbox to EAS would really be a good idea. We decided that it probably wouldn't, since ActiveSync only lets you view emails X days old.

    What would be more useful, and I have to test this, is if you can perform a server-side search using EAS to locate and view an archived message.

  3. Can anybody tell me, what items you can archive in Exchange 2010 Archiving capabilities. Like along with e-mails, can we archive voice mails, tasks, calendar entries notes etc.

  4. any updates on this one? have you tested it? I dont have a device to test it on. I am more interested in search of archives on iOS

  5. I just tested it on my iPhone and it will not search the archive mailbox.


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