Question: Can I access Exchange Server 2010 Public Folders using an IMAP email client?

In Exchange Server 2003 it is possible to connect to public folders using an IMAP4 connection. However in Exchange Server 2010 this feature is no longer available.

Microsoft’s advice on the Discontinued Features list for Exchange 2010 is:

If you need this functionality, retain an Exchange 2003 server in your Exchange 2010 organization.

Keep in mind that Exchange organization that is migrating to Exchange 2010 can stay in a co-existence state with Exchange 2003 indefinitely, so this is not an impractical solution. However you do need to be aware of the end of life date for Exchange Server 2003 and plan to move away from it at some point.

About the Author

Paul Cunningham

Paul is a former Microsoft MVP for Office Apps and Services. He works as a consultant, writer, and trainer specializing in Office 365 and Exchange Server. Paul no longer writes for


  1. Yatin

    I am using outlook 2010
    for that we are using
    ExchangeService service = new ExchangeService(ExchangeVersion.Exchange2010_SP2);

  2. Yatin

    Can I access Public folder using exchange web service (EWS) api for java?
    I have example code but from there it generating an exception as There are no public folder servers available.

    1. Avatar photo
      Paul Cunningham

      I really have no idea, I’m not a developer. There’s a TechNet forum for Exchange development discussions, you might have more luck asking there.

  3. Nimmi Nambiar

    Can I Access Public Folders Using IMAP in Outlook 2013.

  4. PabloV99

    Hi Paul, I am migrating from an Exchange 2000 organization to a new Exchange 2007 organization on a new forest (windows server 2003). To test the migration process, I replicated my current domain infrastructure in a lab, created the new domain, did all trust relationships, DNS configs, PC clients w/OL, etc. I used ADMT and move-mailbox without problems to move users and mailboxes between the forests, InterOrg Replication Tool to pass all Public Folders data and PFDAVAdmin to pass all Permissions to PFs. The Idea is to do a totally transparent change from the users (client) side, to permit us make the clients update later and in stages. The users use Outlook 2000 and 2003 clients, but THE PROBLEM is that all use IMAP to connect!! We have no problem with the mailbox because, as the IMAP/SMTP server names are configures as FQDN names in the clients, so we just associate the name with the new server IP address and all works Ok. But the problem obviously appeared when they want to access to the PFs. (from OWA and MAPI all Works OK).
    Then… I found your note saying “If you need this functionality, retain an Exchange 2003 server…” so, a little hope come to me now, and I ask you: If I add a New Exchange 2003 server on the New forest co-existing w/E2007… can I make a replica from the PFs and that users access using IMAP to mailboxes on E2007 and PFs on E2003? Or I need to move the mailboxes to the new E2003 also?

    Thanks in advance, and if something is not clear, please tell me.

    Buenos Aires, Argentina.

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