Controlling Public Folder Visibility

Public Folders….a legacy method of providing users a way to collaborate. Long before the days of SharePoint and Microsoft Teams, Public Folders were used to share content such as calendars, contacts or emails. Microsoft have pushed for content in Public Folders to be moved to newer collaboration tools and even at one stage attempted to remove them from Exchange all together. However, many organisations still use Public Folders and for some, this is an important tool used throughout businesses in their processes and so will not be removed.

Permissions to Public Folders can be set to control who can access and edit Public Folders but have you ever wanted to simply remove visibility of Public Folders to some users so they are not used? Maybe you’re not sure if they are used any more and want to test what happens if Public Folders were removed (risky I know!)? Before this was not possible. If Public Folders were available within your Exchange organisation then users could see them (even if they could not access them).

Well now you can remove visibility of Public Folders! Microsoft have released some new parameters that help control who can see Public Folders. These parameters are:

  • PublicFolderClientAccess
  • PublicFolderShowClientControl

The PublicFolderClientAccess parameter is mailbox level and controls if a user can see Public Folders. An example command is – Set-CASMailbox “User1” -PublicFolderClientAccess $true

PublicFolderShowClientControl is an organisational parameter that allows for the control of who can see Public Folders. By default it is set to false and can be enabled by – Set-OrganizationConfig PublicFolderShowClientControl $true

So if you want to control who can see Public Folders, the recommendation is to enable Mailboxes to see Public Folders by running the command to set PublicFolderClientAccess and then set the Organisation option to enforce client control. Should you enable the organisation setting before configuring what users can see Public Folders, no one will be able to view them. This can be handy if you want to remove access to Public Folders without removing the content as a test, you know, just to see if anyone is actually using them.

Note, this is not a replacement for Public Folder permissions. It is purely to remove visibility of Public Folders.

Also note, this is only available in Exchange Online to begin with. Microsoft are looking to include this feature in on-premises Exchange in future CUs.

About the author