Using powershell to add users to an Exchange Online in-place hold

Originally blogged @ Lucian.Blog. Follow Lucian on Twitter @LucianFrango.

A month ago I wrote a quick post (available here) on removing users from large in-place hold polices in Exchange Online. At the time I wasn’t that familiar with the process and documentation online was limited. After sharing is caring that process I had a deeper look into the in-place hold policies for a client I’m consultant at. There was some cleanup that was required and this post explains that process as well as a streamlined way via powershell to add users to an in-place hold policy.

The problem

Over the course of any large-scale migration to Exchange Online, managed services and project resource teams coordinate to successfully migrate users and apply policies and post migration tasks. In-place hold policies and governance around storing email data for compliance and legal purposes is key for certain organisations. The larger the organisation though, the more tricky the task. The GUI or web console just isn’t enough to cater for thousands of users. Insert powershell!- it is your friend.

The solution

Overall the process to add users to an in-place hold isn’t that much different from the process of removing users from a policy. Like the previous post (available here), I’ll keep the process short and sweet to outline the steps required:

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Using PowerShell to remove users from an Exchange Online in-place hold policy

Originally blogged @ Lucian.Blog. Follow Lucian on Twitter @lucianfrango.

In-place hold, legal hold, compliance hold, journaling and/or select “D”: all of the above, when it’s simplified down to its simplest form is storing emails for X amount of time in case there’s a problem and these need to be reviewed. What’s great about Office 365 Exchange Online is that there is the ability to store those emails in the cloud for 2,555 days (or roughly speaking 7 years).

Let’s fast forward to having in-place hold enabled for an Exchange Online tenant. In my reference case I have roughly 10,500 users in the tenant and numerous in-place hold policies, with the largest containing 7,500 or so users. I’ve run into a small problem with this Hybrid based environment whereby I need to move a mailbox that is covered by an in-place hold policy (let’s call it “Lucians Mailbox Search Policy”) back to on-premises for a couple of reasons.

The following blog post outlines how to remove users from an in-place hold via PowerShell as the Office 365 / Exchange Online Control Panel may not let you do that when you have thousands of users in a single hold policy.
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