Use network upload to import your organization's PST files to Office 365

Note:  This article is for administrators. Are you trying to import PST files to your own mailbox? See Import email, contacts, and calendar from an Outlook .pst file

Here are the step-by-step instructions required to use network upload to bulk-import multiple PST files to Office 365 mailboxes.

Step 1: Copy the SAS URL and install Azure AzCopy

Step 2: Upload your PST files to Office 365

(Optional) Step 3: View a list of the PST files uploaded to Office 365

Step 4: Create the PST Import mapping file

Step 5: Create a PST Import job in Office 365

Step 6: Filter data and start the PST Import job

Note that you have to perform Step 1 only once to import PST files to Office 365 mailboxes. After you perform these steps, follow Step 2 through Step 6 each time you want to upload and import a batch of PST files.

Please see the Before you begin section to learn about the prerequisites required to import PST files using the network upload method.

Step 1: Copy the SAS URL and install Azure AzCopy

The first step is to download and install the Azure AzCopy tool, which is the tool that you'll run in Step 2 to upload PST files to Office 365. You'll also copy the SAS URL for your organization. This URL is a combination of the network URL for the Azure storage location in the Microsoft cloud for your organization and a Shared Access Signature (SAS) key. This key provides you with the necessary permissions to upload PST files to your Azure storage location. Be sure to take precautions to protect the SAS URL. It's unique to your organization and will be used in Step 2.

  1. Go to https://protection.office.com/ and sign in using the credentials for an administrator account in your Office 365 organization.

  2. In the left pane of the Security & Compliance Center, click Data governance > Import.

    Note: You have to be assigned the appropriate permissions to access the Import page in the Security & Compliance Center. See the Before you begin section for more information.

  3. On the Import page, click Add Icon New import job.

    The import job wizard is displayed.

  4. Type a name for the PST import job, and then click Next. Use lowercase letters, numbers, hyphens, and underscores. You can't use uppercase letters or include spaces in the name.

  5. On the Do you want to upload or ship data? page, click Upload your data and then click Next.

    Click Upload your data to create a network upload import job
  6. On the Import data page, do the following two things:

    Copy the SAS URL and download the Azure AzCopy tool on the Import data page
    1. In step 2, click Show network upload SAS URL. After the URL is displayed, copy it and save it to a file. Be sure to copy the entire URL.

    2. In step 3, click Download Azure AzCopy to download and install the Azure AzCopy tool.

      In the pop-up window, click Run to install AzCopy.

      Note: Be sure to install the AzCopy tool in the default location (%ProgramFiles(x86)%\Microsoft SDKs\Azure) on a computer running 64-bit Windows).

  7. You can leave the Import data page open (in case you need to copy the SAS URL again) or click Cancel to close it.

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Step 2: Upload your PST files to Office 365

Now you're ready to use the AzCopy.exe tool to upload PST files to Office 365. This tool uploads and stores them in an Azure storage location in the Microsoft cloud. As previously explained, the Azure storage location that you upload your PST files to resides in the same regional Microsoft datacenter where your Office 365 organization is located. To complete this step, the PST files have to be located in a file share or file server in your organization. This is known as the source directory in the following procedure. Each time you run the AzCopy tool, you can specify a different source directory.

Tip: You can use the new PST Collection tool to find PST files on your network, and then copy them to a file share or file server so that you can upload them to the Azure storage location. For more information, see Use the PST Collection Tool to find, copy, and delete PST files in your organization.

  1. Open a Command Prompt on your local computer.

  2. Go to the directory where you installed the AzCopy.exe tool in Step 1. If you installed the tool in the default location, go to %ProgramFiles(x86)%\Microsoft SDKs\Azure\AzCopy.

  3. Run the following command to upload the PST files to Office 365.

    AzCopy.exe /Source:<Location of PST files> /Dest:<SAS URL> /V:<Log file location>
    

    The following table describes the parameters and their required values. Note that the information you obtained in the previous step is used in the values for these parameters.

    Parameter

    Description

    Example

    /Source:

    Specifies the source directory in your organization that contains the PST files that will be uploaded to Office 365.

    Be sure to surround the value of this parameter with double-quotation marks (" ").

    /Source:"\\FILESERVER01\PSTs"

    /Dest:

    Specifies the SAS URL that you obtained in Step 1.

    Be sure to surround the value of this parameter with double-quotation marks (" ").

    Tip: (Optional) You can specify a subfolder in the Azure storage location to upload the PST files to. You do this by adding a subfolder location (after "ingestiondata") in the SAS URL. The first example doesn't specify a subfolder; that means the PSTs will be uploaded to the root (named ingestiondata) of the Azure storage location. The second example uploads the PST files to a subfolder (named PSTFiles) in the root of the Azure storage location.

    /Dest:"https://3c3e5952a2764023ad14984.blob.core.windows.net/ingestiondata?sv=2012-02-12&se=9999-12-31T23%3A59%3A59Z&sr=c&si=IngestionSasForAzCopy201601121920498117&sig=Vt5S4hVzlzMcBkuH8bH711atBffdrOS72TlV1mNdORg%3D"

    Or

    /Dest:"https://3c3e5952a2764023ad14984.blob.core.windows.net/ingestiondata/PSTFiles?sv=2012-02-12&se=9999-12-31T23%3A59%3A59Z&sr=c&si=IngestionSasForAzCopy201601121920498117&sig=Vt5S4hVzlzMcBkuH8bH711atBffdrOS72TlV1mNdORg%3D"

    /V:

    Outputs verbose status messages into a log file. By default, the verbose log file is named AzCopyVerbose.log in %LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Azure\AzCopy. If you specify an existing file location for this option, the verbose log will be appended to that file.

    Be sure to surround the value of this parameter with double-quotation marks (" ").

    /V:"c:\Users\Admin\Desktop\Uploadlog.log"

    /S

    This optional switch specifies the recursive mode so that the AzCopy tool will copy PSTs files that are located in subfolders in the source directory that is specified by the /Source: parameter.

    Note: If you include this switch, PST files in subfolders will have a different file pathname in the Azure storage location after they're uploaded. You'll have to specify the exact file pathname in the CSV file that you create in Step 4.

    /S

    Here's an example of the syntax for the AzCopy.exe tool using actual values for each parameter:

    AzCopy.exe /Source:"\\FILESERVER1\PSTs" /Dest:"https://3c3e5952a2764023ad14984.blob.core.windows.net/ingestiondata?sv=2012-02-12&se=9999-12-31T23%3A59%3A59Z&sr=c&si=IngestionSasForAzCopy201601121920498117&sig=Vt5S4hVzlzMcBkuH8bH711atBffdrOS72TlV1mNdORg%3D" /V:"c:\Users\Admin\Desktop\AzCopy1.log"
    

    After you run the command, status messages are displayed that show the progress of uploading the PST files. A final status message shows the total number of files that were successfully uploaded.

    Tip: After you successfully run the AzCopy.exe command and verify that all the parameters are correct, save a copy of the command line syntax to the same (secured) file where you copied the information you obtained in Step 1. Then you can copy and paste this command in a Command Prompt each time that you want to run the AzCopy.exe tool to upload PST files to Office 365. The only value you might have to change are the ones for the /Source: parameter. This depends on the source directory where the PST files are located.

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(Optional) Step 3: View a list of the PST files uploaded to Office 365

As an optional step, you can install and use the Microsoft Azure Storage Explorer (which is a free, open source tool) to view the list of the PST files that you've uploaded to the Azure blob. There are two good reasons to do this:

  • Verify that PST files from the shared folder or file server in your organization were successfully uploaded to the Azure blob.

  • Verify the filename (and the subfolder pathname if you included one) for each PST file uploaded to the Azure blob. This is really helpful when you're creating the PST mapping file in the next step because you have to specify both the folder pathname and filename for each PST file. Verifying these names can help reduce potential errors in your PST mapping file.

The Microsoft Azure Storage Explorer is in Preview.

Important: You can't use the Azure Storage Explorer to delete PST files that you've uploaded to the Azure blob. If you try to delete a PST file, you'll receive an error about not having the required permissions. Note that all PST files are automatically deleted from your Azure storage area. If there are no import jobs in progress, then all PST files in the ingestiondata container are deleted 30 days after the most recent import job was created.

To install the Azure Storage Explorer and connect to your Azure storage area:

  1. Download and install the Microsoft Azure Storage Explorer tool.

  2. Start the Microsoft Azure Storage Explorer, right-click Storage Accounts in the left pane, and then click Connect to Azure storage.

    Right-click Storage Accounts and then click Connect to Azure storage
  3. Click Use a shared access signature (SAS) URI or connection string and click Next.

  4. Click Use a SAS URI , paste the SAS URL that you obtained in Step 1 into the box under URI, and then click Next.

  5. On the Connection summary page, you can review the connection information, and then click Connect.

    The ingestiondata container is opened; it contains the PST files that you uploaded in Step 2. The ingestiondata container is located under Storage Accounts > (SAS-Attached Services) > Blob Containers.

    Azure Storage Explorer displays a list of the PST files that you uploaded
  6. When you're finished using the Microsoft Azure Storage Explorer, right-click ingestiondata, and then click Detach to disconnect from your Azure storage area. Otherwise, you'll receive an error the next time you try to attach.

    Right-click ingestion and click Detach to disconnect from your Azure storage area

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Step 4: Create the PST Import mapping file

After the PST files have been uploaded to the Azure storage location for your Office 365 organization, the next step is to create a comma separated value (CSV) file that specifies which user mailboxes the PST files will be imported to. You'll submit this CSV file in the next step when you create a PST Import job.

  1. Download a copy of the PST Import mapping file.

  2. Open or save the CSV file to your local computer. The following example shows a completed PST Import mapping file (opened in NotePad). It's much easier to use Microsoft Excel to edit the CSV file.

    Workload,FilePath,Name,Mailbox,IsArchive,TargetRootFolder,ContentCodePage,SPFileContainer,SPManifestContainer,SPSiteUrl
    Exchange,,annb.pst,annb@contoso.onmicrosoft.com,FALSE,/,,,,
    Exchange,,annb_archive.pst,annb@contoso.onmicrosoft.com,TRUE,,,,,
    Exchange,,donh.pst,donh@contoso.onmicrosoft.com,FALSE,/,,,,
    Exchange,,donh_archive.pst,donh@contoso.onmicrosoft.com,TRUE,,,,,
    Exchange,PSTFiles,pilarp.pst,pilarp@contoso.onmicrosoft.com,FALSE,/,,,,
    Exchange,PSTFiles,pilarp_archive.pst,pilarp@contoso.onmicrosoft.com,TRUE,/ImportedPst,,,,
    Exchange,PSTFiles,tonyk.pst,tonyk@contoso.onmicrosoft.com,FALSE,,,,,
    Exchange,PSTFiles,tonyk_archive.pst,tonyk@contoso.onmicrosoft.com,TRUE,/ImportedPst,,,,
    Exchange,PSTFiles,zrinkam.pst,zrinkam@contoso.onmicrosoft.com,FALSE,,,,,
    Exchange,PSTFiles,zrinkam_archive.pst,zrinkam@contoso.onmicrosoft.com,TRUE,/ImportedPst,,,,
    

    The first row, or header row, of the CSV file lists the parameters that will be used by the PST Import service to import the PST files to user mailboxes. Each parameter name is separated by a comma. Each row under the header row represents the parameter values for importing a PST file to a specific mailbox. You will need a row for each PST file that you want to import to a user mailbox. Be sure to replace the placeholder data in the mapping file with your actual data.

    Note: Don't change anything in the header row, including the SharePoint parameters; they will be ignored during the PST Import process.

  3. Use the information in the following table to populate the CSV file with the required information.

    Parameter

    Description

    Example

    Workload

    Specifies the Office 365 service that data will be imported to. To import PST files to user mailboxes, use Exchange.

    Exchange

    FilePath

    Specifies the folder location in the Azure storage location that you uploaded the PST files to in Step 2.

    If you didn't include an optional subfolder name in the SAS URL in the /Dest: parameter in Step 2, leave this parameter blank in the CSV file. If you included a subfolder name, specify it in this parameter (see the second example). The value for this parameter is case sensitive.

    Either way, don't include "ingestiondata" in the value for the FilePath parameter.

    Important: The case for the file path name must be the same as the case you used if you included an optional subfolder name in the SAS URL in the /Dest: parameter in Step 2. For example, if you used PSTFiles for the subfolder name in Step 2 and then use pstfiles in the FilePath parameter in CSV file, the import for the PST file will fail. Be sure to use the same case in both instances.

    (leave blank)

    Or

    PSTFiles

    Name

    Specifies the name of the PST file that will be imported to the user mailbox. The value for this parameter is case sensitive.

    Important: The case for the PST file name in the CSV file must be the same as the PST file that was uploaded to the Azure storage location in Step 2. For example, if you use annb.pst in the Name parameter in the CSV file, but the name of the actual PST file is AnnB.pst, the import for that PST file will fail. Be sure that the name of the PST in the CSV file uses the same case as the actual PST file.

    annb.pst

    Mailbox

    Specifies the email address of the mailbox that the PST file will be imported to.

    To import a PST file to an inactive mailbox, you have to specify the mailbox GUID for this parameter. To obtain this GUID, run the following PowerShell command in Exchange Online: Get-Mailbox -InactiveMailboxOnly <identity of inactive mailbox> | FL Guid

    Note: In some cases, you might have multiple mailboxes with the same email address, where one mailbox is an active mailbox and the other mailbox is in a soft-deleted (or inactive) state. In these situations, you have specify the mailbox GUID to uniquely identify the mailbox to import the PST file to. To obtain this GUID for active mailboxes, run the following PowerShell command: Get-Mailbox - <identity of active mailbox> | FL Guid. To obtain the GUID for soft-deleted (or inactive) mailboxes, run this command Get-Mailbox - <identity of soft-deleted or inactive mailbox> -SoftDeletedMailbox | FL Guid.

    annb@contoso.onmicrosoft.com

    Or

    2d7a87fe-d6a2-40cc-8aff-1ebea80d4ae7

    IsArchive

    Specifies whether or not to import the PST file to the user's archive mailbox. There are two options:

    • FALSE   Imports the PST file to the user's primary mailbox.

    • TRUE   Imports the PST file to the user's archive mailbox. This assumes that the user's archive mailbox is enabled. If you set this parameter to TRUE and the user's archive mailbox isn't enabled, the import for that user will fail. Note that if an import fails for one user (because their archive isn't enabled and this property is set to TRUE), the other users in the import job won't be affected.

    If you leave this parameter blank, the PST file is imported to the user's primary mailbox.

    Note: To import a PST file to a cloud-based archive mailbox for a user whose primary mailbox is on-premises, just specify TRUE for this parameter and specify the email address for the user's on-premises mailbox for the Mailbox parameter.

    FALSE

    Or

    TRUE

    TargetRootFolder

    Specifies the mailbox folder that the PST file is imported to.

    • If you leave this parameter blank, the PST will be imported to a new folder named Imported located at the root level of the mailbox (the same level as the Inbox folder and the other default mailbox folders).

    • If you specify /, items in the PST file will be imported directly in to the user's Inbox folder.

    • If you specify /<foldername>, items in the PST file will be imported to a folder named <foldername>. For example, if you use /ImportedPst, items would be imported to a folder named ImportedPst. This folder will be located in the user's mailbox at the same level as the Inbox folder.

    Tip: Consider running a few test batches to experiment with this parameter so you can determine the best folder location to import PSTs files to.

    (leave blank)

    Or

    /

    Or

    /ImportedPst

    ContentCodePage

    This optional parameter specifies a numeric value for the code page to use for importing PST files in the ANSI file format. This parameter is used for importing PST files from Chinese, Japanese, and Korean (CJK) organizations because these languages typically use a double byte character set (DBCS) for character encoding. If this parameter isn't used to import PST files for languages that use DBCS for mailbox folder names, the folder names are often garbled after they're imported.

    For a list of supported values to use for this parameter, see Code Page Identifiers.

    Note: As previously stated, this is an optional parameter and you don't have to include it in the CSV file. Or you can include it and leave the value blank for one or more rows.

    (leave blank)

    Or

    932 (which is the code page identifier for ANSI/OEM Japanese)

    SPFileContainer

    For PST Import, leave this parameter blank.

    Not applicable

    SPManifestContainer

    For PST Import, leave this parameter blank.

    Not applicable

    SPSiteUrl

    For PST Import, leave this parameter blank.

    Not applicable

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Step 5: Create a PST Import job in Office 365

The next step is to create the PST Import job in the Import service in Office 365. As previously explained, you will submit the PST Import mapping file that you created in Step 4. After you create the new job, Office 365 analyzes the data in the PST files and then gives you an opportunity to filter the data that actually gets imported to the mailboxes specified in the PST import mapping file (see Step 6).

  1. Go to https://protection.office.com and sign in using the credentials for an administrator account in your Office 365 organization.

  2. In the left pane of the Security & Compliance Center, click Data governance and then click Import.

  3. On the Import page, click Add Icon New import job.

    Note: You have to be assigned the appropriate permissions to access the Import page in the Security & Compliance Center to create a new import job. See the Before you begin section for more information.

  4. Type a name for the PST import job, and then click Next. Use lowercase letters, numbers, hyphens, and underscores. You can't use uppercase letters or include spaces in the name.

  5. On the Do you want to upload or ship data? page, click Upload your data and then click Next.

    Click Upload your data to create a network upload import job
  6. In step 4 on the Import data page, click the I'm done uploading my files and I have access to the mapping file check boxes, and then click Next.

    Click the two check boxes in step 4
  7. On the Select the mapping file page, click Select mapping file to submit the PST Import mapping file that you created in Step 4.

    Click Select mapping file to submit the CSV file you created for the import job
  8. After the name of the CSV file appears under Mapping file name, click Validate to check your CSV file for errors.

    Click Validate to check the CSV file for errors

    The CSV file has to be successfully validated to create a PST Import job. Note the file name is changed to green after it's successfully validated. If the validation fails, click the View log link. A validation error report is opened, with a error message for each row in the file that failed.

  9. After the PST mapping file is successfully validated, read the terms and conditions document, and then click the checkbox.

  10. Click Save to submit the job, and then click Close after the job is successfully created.

    A status flyout page is displayed, with a status of Analysis in progress and the new import job is displayed in the list on the Import page.

  11. Click Refresh Refresh icon to update the status information that's displayed in the Status column. When the analysis is complete and the data is ready to be imported, the status is changed to Analysis completed.

    You can click the import job to display the status flyout page, which contains more detailed information about the import job such as the status of each PST file listed in the mapping file.

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Step 6: Filter data and start the PST Import job

After you create the import job in Step 5, Office 365 analyzes the data in the PST files (in a safe and secure manner) by identifying the age of the items and the different message types included in the PST files. When the analysis is completed and the data is ready to import, you have the option to import all the data contained in the PST files or you can trim the data that's imported by setting filters that control what data gets imported.

  1. On the Import page in the Security & Compliance Center, click Ready to import to Office 365 for the import job that you created in Step 5.

    Click Ready to import to Office 365 next to the import job you created

    A fly out page is displayed with information about the PST files and other information about the import job.

  2. On the flyout page, click Import to Office 365.

    The Filter your data page is displayed. It contains the data insights resulting from the analysis performed on the PST files by Office 365, including information about the age of the data. At this point, you have the option to filter the data that will be imported or import all the data as is.

    You can trim the data in the PST files or import all of it
  3. Do one of the following:

    1. To trim the data that you import, click Yes, I want to filter it before importing.

      For detailed step-by-step instructions about filtering the data in the PST files and then starting the import job, see Filter data when importing PST files to Office 365.

      Or

    2. To import all data in the PST files, click No, I want to import everything, and click Next.

  4. If you chose to import all the data, click Import data to start the import job.

    The status of the import job is display on the Import page. Click Refresh icon Refresh to update the status information that's displayed in the Status column. Click the import job to display the status flyout page, which displays status information about each PST file being imported.

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  • You have to be assigned the Mailbox Import Export role in Exchange Online to import PST files to Office 365 mailboxes. By default, this role isn't assigned to any role group in Exchange Online. You can add the Mailbox Import Export role to the Organization Management role group. Or you can create a new role group, assign the Mailbox Import Export role, and then add yourself as a member. For more information, see the "Add a role to a role group" or the "Create a role group" sections in Manage role groups.

    Additionally, to create import jobs in the Office 365 Security & Compliance Center, one of the following must be true:

    • You have to be assigned the Mail Recipients role in Exchange Online. By default, this role is assigned to the Organization Management and Recipient Management roles groups.

      Or

    • You have to be a global administrator in your Office 365 organization.

    Tip: Consider creating a new role group in Exchange Online that's specifically intended for importing PST files to Office 365. For the minimum level of privileges required to import PST files, assign the Mailbox Import Export and Mail Recipients roles to the new role group, and then add members.

  • You need to store the PST files that you want to import to Office 365 on a file server or shared folder in your organization. In Step 2, you'll run the Azure AzCopy tool that will upload the PST files that are stored on this file server or shared folder to Office 365. To find PST files in your organization to that you can copy them to a file server or shared folder, you can use the new PST Collection tool. For more information, see Use the PST Collection Tool to find, copy, and delete PST files in your organization.

  • This procedure involves copying and saving a copy of a URL that contains an access key. This information will be used in Step 2 to upload your PST files, and in Step 3 if you want to view a list of the PST files uploaded to Office 365. Be sure to take precautions to protect this URL like you would protect passwords or other security-related information. For example you might save it to a password-protected Microsoft Word document or to an encrypted USB drive. See the More info tab in this topic for an example of this combined URL and key.

  • You can import PST files to an inactive mailbox in Office 365. You do this by specifying the GUID of the inactive mailbox in the Mailbox parameter in the PST Import mapping file. See Step 4 on the Instructions tab in this topic for information.

  • In an Exchange hybrid deployment, you can import PST files to a cloud-based archive mailbox for a user whose primary mailbox is on-premises. You do this by doing the following in the PST Import mapping file:

    • Specify the email address for the user's on-premises mailbox in the Mailbox parameter.

    • Specify the TRUE value in the IsArchive parameter.

    See Step 4 on the Instructions tab in this topic for more information.

  • After PST files are imported to an Office 365 mailbox, the retention hold setting for the mailbox is turned on for an indefinite duration. This means that the retention policy assigned to the mailbox won't be processed until you turn off the retention hold or set a date to turn off the hold. Why do we do this? If messages imported to a mailbox are old, they might be permanently deleted (purged) because their retention period has expired based on the retention settings configured for the mailbox. Placing the mailbox on retention hold will give the mailbox owner time to manage these newly-imported messages or give you time to change the retention settings for the mailbox. See the More info tab in this topic for suggestions about managing the retention hold.

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You can use the network upload option and the Office 365 Import service to bulk-import PST files to user mailboxes. Network upload means that you upload the PST files a temporary storage area in the Microsoft cloud. Then the Office 365 Import service copies the PST files from the storage area to the target user mailboxes.

Here's an illustration and description of the network upload process to import PST files to mailboxes in Office 365.

Workflow of the network upload process to import PST files to Office 365
  1. Download the PST import tool and key to private Azure storage location   The first step is to download the Azure AzCopy command-line tool and an access key used to upload the PST files to an Azure storage location in the Microsoft cloud . You obtain these from the Import page in the Office 365 Security & Compliance Center. The key (called a secure access signature (SAS) key, provides you with the necessary permissions to upload PST files to a private and secure Azure storage location. This access key is unique to your organization and helps prevent unauthorized access to your PST files after they're uploaded to the Microsoft cloud. Note that importing PST files to Office 365 doesn't require your organization to have a separate Azure subscription.

  2. Upload the PST files to the Azure storage location   The next step is to use the AzCopy.exe tool (downloaded in step 1) to upload and store your PST files in an Azure storage location that resides in the same regional Microsoft datacenter where your Office 365 organization is located. To upload them, the PST files that you want to import to Office 365 have to be located in a file share or file server in your organization.

    Note that there's an optional step that you can perform to view the list of PST files after they're uploaded to the Azure storage location.

  3. Create a PST import mapping file   

    After the PST files have been uploaded to the Azure storage location, the next step is to create a comma separated value (CSV) file that specifies which user mailboxes the PST files will be imported to, note that a PST file can be imported to a user's primary mailbox or their archive mailbox. The Office 365 Import service will use the information in the CSV file to import the PST files.

  4. Create a PST import job   The next step is to create a PST import job on the Import page in the Security & Compliance Center and submit the PST import mapping file created in the previous step. After you create the import job, Office 365 analyzes the data in the PST files and then gives you an opportunity to set filters that control what data actually gets imported to the mailboxes specified in the PST import mapping file.

  5. Filter the PST data that will be imported to mailboxes   After the import job is created and started, Office 365 analyzes the data in the PST files (safely and securely) by identifying the age of the items and the different message types included in the PST files. When the analysis is completed and the data is ready to import, you have the option to import all the data contained in the PST files or you can trim the data that's imported by setting filters that control what data gets imported.

  6. Start the PST import job   After the import job is started, Office 365 uses the information in the PST import mapping file to import the PSTs files from the he Azure storage location to user mailboxes. Status information about the import job (including information about each PST file being imported) is displayed on the Import page in the Security & Compliance Center. When the import job is finished, the status for the job is set to Complete.

Using the Import service in Office 365 is a powerful, effective way to bulk-import PST files to large numbers of user mailboxes. But we know that having to use a command-line tool and CSV file is complex and time-consuming. We're working on a more modern experience that makes this process easier. Until then, we hope the detailed instructions in this topic will help you successfully import your organization's PST files to Office 365. We'd love to hear your ideas on how we can make the PST import process more modern. The best way to do this is to leave feedback directly on the Import page in the Security & Compliance Center. Just look for the Feedback tool on the bottom right of the page.

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  • Here's an example of the Shared Access Signature (SAS) URL that's obtained in Step 1. This example also contains the syntax for the command that you run in the AzCopy.exe tool to upload PST files to Office 365. Be sure to take precautions to protect the SAS URL just like you would protect passwords or other security-related information.

    SAS URL: https://3c3e5952a2764023ad14984.blob.core.windows.net/ingestiondata?sv=2012-02-12&se=9999-12-31T23%3A59%3A59Z&sr=c&si=IngestionSasForAzCopy201601121920498117&sig=Vt5S4hVzlzMcBkuH8bH711atBffdrOS72TlV1mNdORg%3D
    
    AzCopy.exe /Source:<Location of PST files> /Dest:<SAS URL> /V:<Log file location>
    
    EXAMPLES
    
    This example uploads PST files to the root of the Azure storage location:
    
    AzCopy.exe /Source:"\\FILESERVER1\PSTs" /Dest:"https://3c3e5952a2764023ad14984.blob.core.windows.net/ingestiondata?sv=2012-02-12&se=9999-12-31T23%3A59%3A59Z&sr=c&si=IngestionSasForAzCopy201601121920498117&sig=Vt5S4hVzlzMcBkuH8bH711atBffdrOS72TlV1mNdORg%3D" /V:"c:\Users\Admin\Desktop\AzCopy1.log"
    
    This example uploads PST files to a subfolder named PSTFiles in the Azure storage location:
    
    AzCopy.exe /Source:"\\FILESERVER1\PSTs" /Dest:"https://3c3e5952a2764023ad14984.blob.core.windows.net/ingestiondata/PSTFiles?sv=2012-02-12&se=9999-12-31T23%3A59%3A59Z&sr=c&si=IngestionSasForAzCopy201601121920498117&sig=Vt5S4hVzlzMcBkuH8bH711atBffdrOS72TlV1mNdORg%3D" /V:"c:\Users\Admin\Desktop\AzCopy1.log" 
    
  • As previously explained, the Office 365 Import service turns on the retention hold setting (for an indefinite duration) after PST files are imported to a mailbox. This means the RetentionHoldEnabled property is set to True so that the retention policy assigned to the mailbox won't be processed. This gives the mailbox owner time to manage the newly-imported messages by preventing a deletion or archive policy from deleting or archiving older messages. Here are some steps you can take to manage this retention hold:

    • After a certain period of time, you can turn off the retention hold by running the Set-Mailbox -RetentionHoldEnabled $false command. For instructions, see Place a mailbox on retention hold.

    • You can configure the retention hold so that it's turned off on some date in the future. You do this by running the Set-Mailbox -EndDateForRetentionHold <date> command. For example, assuming that today's date is July 1, 2016 and you want the retention hold turned off in 30 days, you would run the following command: Set-Mailbox -EndDateForRetentionHold 8/1/2016. In this scenario, you would leave the RetentionHoldEnabled property set to True. For more information, see Set-Mailbox.

    • You can change the settings for the retention policy that's assigned to the mailbox so that older items that were imported won't be immediately deleted or moved to the user's archive mailbox. For example, you could lengthen the retention age for a deletion or archive policy that's assigned to the mailbox. In this scenario, you would turn off the retention hold on the mailbox after you changed the settings of the retention policy. For more information, see Set up an archive and deletion policy for mailboxes in your Office 365 organization.

  • Why import PST files to Office 365?

    • It's a good way to import your organization's archival messaging data to Office 365.

    • The data is available to the user from all devices because it's stored in the cloud.

    • It helps address compliance needs of your organization by letting you apply Office 365 compliance features to the data from the PST files that you imported. This includes:

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Here are some frequently asked questions about using network upload to bulk-import PST files to Office 365 mailboxes.

What permissions are required to create import jobs in the Office 365 Import Service?

You have to be assigned the Mailbox Import Export role in Exchange Online to import PST files to Office 365 mailboxes. By default, this role isn't assigned to any role group in Exchange Online. You can add the Mailbox Import Export role to the Organization Management role group. Or you can create a new role group, assign the Mailbox Import Export role, and then add yourself or other users as a member. For more information, see the "Add a role to a role group" or the "Create a role group" sections in Manage role groups in Exchange Online.

Additionally, to create import jobs in the Office 365 Security & Compliance Center, one of the following must be true:

  • You have to be assigned the Mail Recipients role in Exchange Online. By default, this role is assigned to the Organization Management and Recipient Management roles groups.

    Or

  • You have to be a global administrator in your Office 365 organization.

Tip: Consider creating a new role group in Exchange Online that's specifically intended for importing PST files to Office 365. For the minimum level of privileges required to import PST files, assign the Mailbox Import Export and Mail Recipients roles to the new role group, and then add members.

Where is network upload available?

Network upload is currently available in the United States, Canada, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Europe, India, East Asia, Southeast Asia, Japan, Republic of Korea, and Australia. Network upload will be available in more regions soon.

What is the pricing for importing PST files by using network upload?

Using network upload to import PST files is free.

This also means that after PST files are deleted from the Azure storage area, they're no longer displayed in the list of files for a completed import job in the Office 365 admin center. Although an import job might still be listed on the Import data to Office 365 page, the list of PST files might be empty when you view the details of older import jobs.

What version of the PST file format is supported for importing to Office 365?

There are two versions of the PST file format: ANSI and Unicode. We recommend importing files that use the Unicode PST file format. However, files that use the ANSI PST file format, such as those for languages that use a double-byte character set (DBCS), can also be imported to Office 365. For more information about importing ANSI PST files, see Step 4 in Use network upload to import PST files to Office 365 .

Additionally, PST files from Outlook 2007 and later versions can be imported to Office 365.

After I upload my PST files to the Azure storage area, how long are they kept in Azure before they're deleted?

When you use the network upload method to import PST files, you upload them to an Azure blob container named ingestiondata. If there are no import jobs in progress, then all PST files in the ingestiondata container are deleted 30 days after the most recent import job was created.

This also means that after PST files are deleted from the Azure storage area, they're no longer displayed in the list of files for a completed import job in the Office 365 admin center. Although an import job might still be listed on the Import data to Office 365 page, the list of PST files might be empty when you view the details of older import jobs.

How long does it take to import a PST file to a mailbox?

It depends on the capacity of your network, but it typically takes several hours for each terabyte (TB) of data to be uploaded to the Azure storage area for your organization. After the PST files are copied to the Azure storage area, a PST file is imported to an Office 365 mailbox at a rate of at least 1 GB per hour. If this rate doesn't meet your needs, you might consider other methods for migrating email data to Office 365. For more information, see Ways to migrate multiple email accounts to Office 365.

If different PST files are imported to different target mailboxes, the import process occurs in parallel; in other words, each PST/mailbox pair is imported simultaneously. However, if multiple PST files are imported to the same mailbox, each PST file is queued and imported to the mailbox one at a time. In a future update, multiple PST files will be simultaneously imported to the same mailbox.

Is there a message size limit when importing PST files?

Yes. A mailbox item that is larger than 35 MB will be skipped during the import process.

Are message properties, such as when the message was sent or received, the list of recipients and other properties, preserved when PST files are imported to an Office 365 mailbox?

Yes. The original message metadata isn't changed during the import process.

Is there a limit to the number of levels in a folder hierarchy for a PST file that I want to import to a mailbox?

Yes. You can't import a PST file that has 300 or more levels of nested folders.

Can I use network upload to import PST files to an inactive mailbox in Office 365?

Yes, this capability is now available.

Can I use network upload to import PST files to an online archive mailbox in an Exchange hybrid deployment?

Yes, this capability is now available.

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