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Posted on: August 25, 2016

in Blog

How to Use the eDiscovery PST Export Tool in Office 365

A few conditions must be met before in-place eDiscovery searches and holds can take place in Office 365. First, the client must maintain an Office 365 Enterprise E3 (or higher) subscription. The user account performing the collection must have an active mailbox associated with it, and it must be added to the “Discovery Management” role group. Finally, the “Mailbox Import Export” role must be added to the Discovery Management role group. When these conditions have been met, searches and exports can be performed.

Office 365 eDiscovery: Email Search and In-place Holds

Log into Office 365 from a web browser (use Internet Explorer for best results) and navigate to the “Compliance Management” section of the Exchange Admin Center. Create a new in-place hold with a recognizable name and description. From this point, all mailboxes on the domain can be searched, or specific accounts can be targeted. 

Properly leveraging Office 365 Advanced eDiscovery with the right expertise will reduce overall discovery and data management costs. Learn more about how D4 can help you.

Once the scope of the search is determined, filtering criteria may be selected. Office 365 allows for filtering based on keywords, dates, and the From/To/ CC/BCC fields. If the results of the search are required to be placed on hold, they may be placed on hold indefinitely or for a number of days relative to the received date on a given item. 

Note that a hold is “inplace,” meaning the items placed on hold will remain in their original location in a mailbox and cannot be deleted. The search will save, and then statistics about a given search can be previewed before export.

Collecting Emails with the eDiscovery PST Export Tool 

Results of Office 365 searches can be exported using the “eDiscovery PST Export Tool”. A destination for the exported data must be chosen, and the option to export unsearchable items will be presented. According to Microsoft, “unsearchable items are mailbox items that can’t be indexed by Exchange Search or that have been only partially indexed.” An unsearchable item is typically a file, which can’t be indexed, attached to an email message. 

The need to export unsearchable items depends on how a search was run. If a search includes all content from a given mailbox (instead of choosing to filter by keywords, date, or senders/recipients), unsearchable items will be included by default. The same is true if filtering is applied only by date and/or senders/ recipients (meaning that no keyword filtering was applied). It is only necessary to include unsearchable items if keyword searching was employed when creating a search.

Avoid Deduplication During PST Export

The eDiscovery PST Export Tool will also present the option to “Enable Deduplication.” Selecting this option has been known to trigger a bug in the export process wherein all messages are exported to the root of the PST instead of creating the proper folder structure. It is advised that this option not be selected. If desired, it is possible to initiate multiple instances of the eDiscovery PST Export Tool.

Office 365 Analytics with Acquisition of Equivio

It is also important to note that Microsoft released new eDiscovery solutions within the Microsoft Unified Compliance Center. These solutions included the integration of the Equivio platform which enabled discovery features and advanced analytics in Microsoft Office 365. As cloud-based systems become more complex and offer more features, understanding how to use them effectively and efficiently will become even more vital.


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