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[SOLVED] Emails Not Moving To Archive In Microsoft 365

Are your crucial emails playing a game of hide-and-seek, stubbornly refusing to make their way into the archive within Microsoft 365? If the frustration of a cluttered inbox and uncooperative emails sounds all too familiar, you’re not alone. Today, we’re on a mission to crack the code and solve the puzzle of why “emails not moving to archive” is a persistent challenge.

In the intricate web of Microsoft 365, where every email should seamlessly find its designated place in the archive, some messages have a mind of their own. Picture this: an inbox that not only houses your emails but also orchestrates a symphony of order by elegantly guiding messages into the archive at precisely the right moment. Your journey to an impeccably organized email sanctuary begins now.

Join us as we unravel the intricacies of why emails may resist the siren call to the archive and explore the solutions that will restore tranquility to your Microsoft 365 realm. By the end of this expedition, armed with newfound knowledge, you’ll bid farewell to inbox chaos and welcome a clutter-free oasis of emails. Let’s embark on this adventure together and reclaim control of your inbox.

Archive Status

In a hybrid setup, take a peek at the archive mailbox status when the user account is synchronized from on-premises, and the archive mailbox is located in Microsoft 365. Make sure to use the ArchiveGUID to double-check the archive status in both on-premises and the cloud.

Execute the provided cmdlet in Exchange Management Shell:

Get-RemoteMailbox “Display Name” | FL ArchiveGuid

Execute the provided cmdlet in Exchange Online:

Get-Mailbox “Display Name” | FL ArchiveGuid

Verify that the output of both commands aligns. If there’s any discrepancy, take the necessary steps to ensure they match. In my situation, both outputs are identical.

Retention Policy

A 2-year retention policy has been set for the mailbox, designed to shift emails older than 2 years from the user’s mailbox to the cloud archive. To confirm the application of the retention policy, use the following cmdlet in Microsoft 365 to fetch the retention policy assigned to the mailbox.

Get-Mailbox “Display Name” | FL RetentionPolicy

To add a retention policy to a specific mailbox through the portal:

  • Navigate to the Exchange admin center
  • Head over to Recipients, and then select Mailboxes from the list view.
  • Once you’ve pinpointed the desired mailbox, click on Mailbox.
emails not moving to archive
  • Simply pick the retention policy you wish to assign to the mailbox from the Retention policy list, and after making your selection, click Save. Your chosen policy is now successfully applied to the selected mailbox.
online archive not moving emails

To assign a retention policy to an individual mailbox via PowerShell:

Set-Mailbox “Display Name” -RetentionPolicy “PolicyName”

Emails not moving to archive mailbox

Once you’ve crafted the retention policy, keep in mind that it won’t kick into action automatically. However, you can manually trigger the process by running the provided cmdlet whenever you want to shift messages to the archive.

Start-ManagedFolderAssistant –Identity “Display Name

  • The Managed Folder Assistant takes cues from users’ mailbox retention policy settings to handle item retention automatically. Should you want to jumpstart the processing for a particular mailbox right away, you can use the Start-ManagedFolderAssistant cmdlet.
  • Keep in mind that you’ll need the necessary permissions before executing this cmdlet. Although all parameters are outlined here, your access might be limited to specific parameters based on your assigned permissions. To check the required permissions for running any cmdlet or parameter in your organization, refer to the guidelines on finding the permissions needed for Exchange cmdlets.


  • In case you encounter a hiccup with the Managed Folder Assistant, and it throws a generic RPC error like “The call to Mailbox Assistance Service on server: ‘NAME’ failed. Error from RPC is –2147220989”, worry not.
  • Sometimes, the error pops up during mailbox initialization within the service, especially if there’s ongoing provisioning, like setting up a secondary archive from a primary one.
  • For a possible workaround, consider specifying the primary mailbox GUID in the start-ManagedFolderAssistant command. This tweak might just do the trick and help you sail through the process smoothly.

Get-Mailbox “Display Name” | FL ExchangeGUID

With this mailbox GUID, you can easily call on the managed folder assistance.

Start-ManagedFolderAssistant aace1f4e-5181-4855-a0c7-466f1fe2f1d1

By using the GUID, you’re ensuring a smoother initialization process, reducing the chances of any hiccups in the command. Once you’ve run the Managed Folder Assistant, your emails will smoothly transition from the primary mailbox to the cloud archive mailbox. Just keep in mind that it might take at least a day to process, and in certain cases, it could take a bit longer than 24 hours for all your emails to make the move.


Messaging Records Management (MRM) can be a bit sluggish as it takes its sweet time to process mailboxes. But don’t worry, you have the power to speed things up with a nifty command. Feel free to tweak the seconds to your liking—I personally go with 30 minutes in my case. It’s a game-changer!

write-host “waiting”; start-sleep -seconds 1800;

How do I check the email movement status?

  • This cmdlet is like a mailbox health check, making sure everything’s shipshape. The cool part? It spills the beans on MFA, neatly bundled with an Elc* (email lifecycle) prefix. To snag a diagnostic log for a specific user, follow these steps:

Export-MailboxDiagnosticLogs –Identity “Display Name” -ExtendedProperties

  • The output unfolds like a treasure map, revealing these sought-after fields:
ElcLastRunTotalProcessingTimeThe total time (in milliseconds) that the Managed Folder Assistant dedicated to processing the mailbox in its latest run.
ElcLastRunSubAssistantProcessingTimeThe total time (in milliseconds) spent by the ELCTagSubAssistant (the MFA segment handling item tagging and expiration). Specifically, it tallies time spent on items in the IPM folder tree, ignoring those in the Recoverable Items folder structure.
ElcLastRunUpdatedFolderCountThe count of folders that MFA updated during its last run.
ElcLastRunTaggedFolderCountThe tally of folders that got the MFA tag (or untag) treatment in its latest operation.
ElcLastRunUpdatedItemCountThe number of individual items that received the MFA tag (or untag) in its recent run.
ElcLastRunTaggedWithArchiveItemCountThe quantity of items that MFA adorned with an archive tag during its last operation.
ElcLastRunTaggedWithExpiryItemCountThe number of items that MFA marked with an expiry (delete) tag in its most recent run.
ElcLastRunDeletedFromRootItemCountThe count of items MFA bid farewell to in the IPM folder tree during its last run.
ElcLastRynDeletedFromDumpsterItemCountThe number of items MFA bid adieu to in the Recoverable Items folder structure in its last operation.
ElcLastRunArchivedFromDumpsterItemCountItems that MFA relocated from the Recoverable Items folder structure to the archive mailbox during its last run.
ElcLastRunArchivedFromRootItemCountItems that found a new home in the archive mailbox after MFA shuffled them from the IPM folder tree in its most recent run.
ElcLastRunSuccessTimeStampThe timestamp of the last successful completion of MFA’s mailbox processing.
  • Absolutely, you’re on the right track! When you dig into the properties, keep an eye out for the gem known as “ElcLastSuccessTimeStamp.” This timestamp is like a seal of approval, indicating that the Managed Folder Assistant has successfully completed its most recent run.
  • And here’s a handy tidbit for Exchange Online users: The Managed Folder Assistant exclusively tackles mailboxes with a size exceeding 10 MB. It’s like a size threshold for MFA to kick into action.

Auto-Expanding Archive

  • Unleash the power of unlimited storage with Exchange Online’s auto-expanding archiving feature! By flipping the switch on auto-expanding archiving, you ensure that when a user’s archive mailbox nears its storage limit, extra space is seamlessly added.
  • The magic lies in the automatic expansion, granting your archive mailbox limitless storage capacity. Feel free to customize this feature for your organization—whether it’s for everyone or just specific users. It’s like giving your mailbox the ability to grow boundlessly.

Before the magic of auto-expanding archiving:

in-place archive not moving emails

After the magic of auto-expanding archiving:

office 365 archive not working
  • To ensure that the magic of auto-expanding archiving is working its charm for your entire organization, simply fire up Exchange Online PowerShell and run this command:

Get-OrganizationConfig | FL AutoExpandingArchiveEnabled

  • If you see “True,” it means that the organization has the cool feature of auto-expanding archiving turned on. To double-check if a particular user has this feature enabled, just pop this command into your Exchange Online PowerShell.

Get-Mailbox “Display Name” | FL AutoExpandingArchiveEnabled

  • If you’re in the mood to give a specific mailbox this nifty ability, fire up this command:

Enable-Mailbox “Display Name” -AutoExpandingArchive

Also read: How to fix Office 365 Online Archive Pending status in a hybrid environment?

Nice job on resolving the emails not moving to archive hiccup!

As for today’s report, I’m curious to know which discovery caught your attention the most. Anything intriguing or maybe a question popped up while you were going through it? Your thoughts matter, so feel free to drop a comment below and share.

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  1. Tyler

    Thank you for this post! I was wondering if you had any insight into this error:
    Start-ManagedFolderAssistant -Identity username
    WARNING: The User ‘username’ Archive mailbox is offline.
    I did notice the guids were different on this account, but I fixed it on AD to match. I ran a sync, but still getting the error.

    • techieberry

      Hi, I assume it’s hybrid environment. Can you compare the archive and mailbox guid settings between on-premises and cloud, just to make sure they are same?. If they are correct, execute the same command but try with Exchange GUID and not username and see how it goes.

  2. SOSiDB

    Thank you!! Just ran into the issue when I tried to use Start-ManagedFolderAssistant for recently created archives. Normally, I would run it using the mailbox alias, but for newly created mailbox archives, I now have to use the ExchangeGuid for those with Start-ManagedFolderAssistant. Old ones still work with the alias, but not the newer archives.

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