Convert a User Mailbox to a Shared Mailbox

Convert a User Mailbox to a Shared Mailbox

Conversion of user mailboxes to shared mailboxes is common practice in many companies when employees leave.

Since the shared mailbox doesn’t require a license, it’s an easy and cheap way to “archive” the emails of former employees.

Quite often, companies perform additional steps as part of user decommissioning:

  • Convert the user mailbox to a shared mailbox
  • Hide the user from address lists
  • Set up forwarding of emails to the user’s manager (or replacement)
  • Configure manager (or replacement) access to the shared mailbox
  • Remove the Exchange Online license
  • Disable the AD account

All of these tasks typically involve multiple admin tools.

But let’s first look at the easiest way to do this!

Decommission a User With Mailbox Conversion, etc. – in 30 Seconds!

With Easy365Manager all of the above steps can be performed directly from AD Users & Computers in just 30 seconds.

Please watch us set a new world record performing a complete user decommissioning from a consolidated, intuitive graphical user interface: 

Easy365Manager is a plug-in to AD Users & Computers that provides two new tabs in user properties.

With these two new tabs, you can literally cut away minutes from every time you retire a user account, configure calendar permissions, configure Outlook automapping, and much much more.

You’ll find an overview of all the great Easy365Manager features here.

Easy365Manager is available as a fully-functional 30-day trial here.

The trial doesn’t make any changes to your infrastructure or schema and you can remove it anytime using the .msi installer.

Decommission a User With Mailbox Conversion – Using the Standard Tools

Without Easy365Manager, you’re stuck with a broad range of tools to complete the above tasks:

  • Exchange Online Admin Center (mailbox conversion, forwarding, delegation)
  • Microsoft 365 Admin Center (license removal)
  • Active Directory Users & Computers (account disabling)
  • Exchange on-premises (hide from address lists)
  • PowerShell (Azure AD Connect synchronization)

The complexity of this procedure (using the standard tools) can consume a lot of time from IT support.

Let’s have a look at the individual tasks.

Convert Mailbox in Exchange Admin Center

To convert a user mailbox to a shared mailbox, you need to navigate deep into the Exchange Online Admin Center: 

Mailbox conversion, Exchange Admin Center

Configure Mailbox Forwarding in Exchange Admin Center

You set up email forwarding to forward inbound emails to a manager or the replacement employee.

Like the mailbox conversion, this can be done via the Exchange Admin Center:

Configure Mailbox Delegation in Exchange Admin Center

To allow a manager or new employee to access the old mailbox, you need to delegate access.

Like the previous steps, this can be done via the Exchange Admin Center:

Configure Hide From Address Lists in Exchange On-Premises

On synchronized users, the Hide From Address Lists setting is authoritative in your on-premises Active Directory.

This is why (without Easy365Manager) you need to have an Exchange on-premises server to manage this.

Log in to your local Exchange on-premises server and go to properties of the user mailbox:

Configure hide from address lists using Exchange On-premises

Configure Office 365 Licenses in Microsoft 365 Admin Center

To reclaim the Exchange Online license, you need another tool again: The Microsoft 365 Admin Center (or the Azure Portal).

This involves yet another logon and yet another  drilling down to the object you need to configure:

Disable the AD User Account

Naturally, we want to disable the user’s account who left the company.

For this, you need to go to Active Directory Users & Computers and disable the account in the Account tab.

(this is now the fourth admin tool we have to visit):

Replicate On-Premises Changes to Azure AD

And finally, if you want to see the last two on-premises changes in Azure AD anytime soon, we need PowerShell.

Establish a remote connection with your Azure AD Connect Server and trigger a synchronization using the following commands:

PS C:\> Enter-PSSession DC-01
[DC-01]: PS C:\Users\Administrator.DC-01\Documents> Start-ADSyncSyncCycle -PolicyType Delta


[DC-01]: PS C:\Users\Administrator.DC-01\Documents> Exit-PSSession
PS C:\>

How to Cut Your Admin Time in Half

As clearly illustrated in the above section, Easy365Manager can save you (or your first-level support) loads of time!

With Easy365Manager

  • You manage AD and Office 365 in a single tool
  • Office 365 management is super intuitive (building on the highly popular AD Users & Computers graphical user interface)
  • You no longer need to worry about attribute authority (configure in AD or Office 365)
  • You can remove Exchange on-premises (eliminate risk and cost)

Download the 30-day trial now and see how easy hybrid Office 365 management can be.

Easy365Manager only extends the functionality of the AD Users & Computers tool.

For technical details, have a look at the Installation and Configuration Guide.