When to Use Public Folders in Exchange 2010

I wish the answer were never, but life aint that easy

I was having a good discussion on Twitter earlier this week on the role of public folders in Exchange 2010 and ongoing. I came across a post from the Microsoft Exchange team that clears the muddy waters a bit.

When I visit a new client to talk Exchange 2010, or even Exchange 2007, the topic of public folders inevitably comes up. Here's my matrix:

If you use public folders now and absolutely need them, keep using them. Preferably on a dedicated PF server

If you don't use them now, then just forget they even exist.

If you use them now but aren't absolutely sure you need them, let's talk.

The third option always results in a good conversation and exchange of ideas. There are a lot of times SharePoint is a better option than public folders. Sharepoint sites can be mail enabled, have workflows and are easier to search. For document sharing and retention, it's just a better tool. However, people do weird things with PFs. I've seen full ERP setups routed through public folders using outlook rules running on a PC under a desk...

Here's how Microsoft looks at it (table taken from MS Exchange team blog)



Use PF's Currently?


New to PF's?


Document Sharing


SharePoint may be better option


SharePoint is better option


Calendar Sharing


No need to move


Use either*


Contact Sharing


No need to move


Use either*


Discussion Forums


No need to move


Use either*


Distribution Group Archive


No need to move


Use either*


Custom Applications


SharePoint may be better option


SharePoint may be better option**


Organizational Forms


No need to move


Use InfoPath


*  Depending on scope of scenario, use Exchange PF's or SharePoint

** Depending on the scope of the application use Exchange Web Services and/or SharePoint

They make some good points throughout the posting so if you're looking at what to do about public folders I recommed you read the whole thing. It's short and painless, I promise, and well worth the time.

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