Enable Archive Mailboxes


Implementing Microsoft Exchange Online Archiving Policies
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In this course, we'll be taking a look at how to start managing your archiving policies within your Microsoft Exchange mailboxes. 

Learning Objectives

  • The basics of retention policies, retention tags, and Messaging Records Management
  • How to activate and enable archive mailboxes in Exchange
  • How to create new retention policies and retention tags
  • How to assign retention policies to a user’s mailbox

Intended Audience

  • Users looking to learn about archiving in exchange online


  • A basic familiarity with Microsoft Exchange

Before we begin, it's important to know that in order to enable or disable archive mailboxes, a user must be assigned the mail recipient's role. This role is automatically assigned to the recipient management and organization management role groups. In order to do this, we need to navigate to the Exchange Admin Center. So, we can go to or navigate there through our Microsoft 365 Admin portal and then click on 'Roles' and 'Admin Roles'. Here, we find our recipient and organization management role groups. Once we find the group we want, we simply click on it, opening up a menu on the right-hand side of our screen. We click on the 'Assign' tab on top of that menu and then add a new user to the group. For now, I'll just add myself in here, so I'll type Lee, it will auto-populate. And then click on that again to assign myself to this role group.

Once done, you can see the user has now been added and you are ready to enable archive mailboxes. Within the Exchange admin, navigate to the recipients menu and then click on 'Mailboxes'. This shows you a list of mailboxes within your tenant. However, since this is a demo tenant, I currently only have one mailbox as you can see. All you need to do in order to enable the archive mailbox for a user is simply click on the user which will open up the menu on the right hand side of the screen and click on 'Others'. This brings us to the other options, which includes mailbox archive. So, we click on 'Manage Mailbox Archive' and toggle it on. It may take a little bit of time to create it, but once it's created you can click 'Save' and you're good to go. If you wanted to disable the archive mailbox, you would effectively follow the exact same steps and process, only rather than toggle it on, you would simply toggle it off. But you may have noticed that this is only enabling the archive mailbox for a single user.

What if we had a large amount of users we wanted to enable archive mailboxes for? Well, for this we can head on over to Exchange Online PowerShell. In order to enable archive mailboxes for all users, we first need to connect to Exchange Online PowerShell through an account that has proper permissions and then run the following commands. This will enable archive mailboxes for any user that doesn't already have it enabled. Similarly, if you wanted to disable archive mailboxes for all users who currently have it enabled, you would instead run this command. But now that we know how to enable and disable archive mailboxes, let's talk about how to create a retention policy.


About the Author
Learning Paths

Lee has spent most of his professional career learning as much as he could about PC hardware and software while working as a PC technician with Microsoft. Once covid hit, he moved into a customer training role with the goal to get as many people prepared for remote work as possible using Microsoft 365. Being both Microsoft 365 certified and a self-proclaimed Microsoft Teams expert, Lee continues to expand his knowledge by working through the wide range of Microsoft certifications.