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Get Rid of Office 365 eDiscovery Search Limitations Quickly

Published By Siddharth Sharma
Anuraag Singh
Approved By Anuraag Singh
Published On November 7th, 2023

Trying to export the mailbox from O365 to PST format using Office 365 eDiscovery search? However, due to its limitations, the migration process fails. Don’t worry, free to try another solution,e; Office 365 Export Tool to complete the task.

Office 365 is a cloud-based application, which allows the user to access MS Office suite programs along with productivity services on the internet. O365 users can access their emails or applications from anywhere at any instant in time. Apart from this, What are the Office 365 e-mail search limitations from a discovery perspective? Why do users need to be aware of conducting litigation, internal investigations, and regulatory compliance? Therefore, in the upcoming section, we will discuss Office 365 eDiscovery search limitations in a detailed manner.

Overview of Office 365 eDiscovery Search

The eDiscovery search in Office 365 Compliance Center where cases can be accessed and managed. Now, the user can identify proper email and place a litigation hold on sources like SharePoint and MS Exchange. Holds can be placed depending on the dates, keyword queries, senders, authors, and email domains. When users start searching for keywords, standard Boolean (AND, NOT, OR ) and proximity operators (n) can be used, as well as wildcards expand keywords to contain terms that involve a keyword or terms that have different spellings.

Challenges Faced While Conducting eDiscovery

eDiscovery within Microsoft Purview compliance has many inbuilt restrictions that limit user functionality in the context of export procedure. This consists of searches run at the Content Seek web page and searches that can be related to an eDiscovery case at the eDiscovery web page.

There are simple email search limitations in MS Office 365 to be aware of when conducting eDiscovery. Go through the following points mentioned below:

  • Optical Character Recognition (OCR): It cannot be performed by Office 365, and image-based files cannot be searched (eventually if OCR is added, which is unlikely to be checked with Microsoft Support on the OCR engine. Some OCR engines do not support recognition of Japanese, Chinese, and any other foreign languages).
  • Password Protected Attachments: Unable to search password-protected email attachments.
  • Special Character Indexing: Some special characters like “, / – ‘ _ &” found in patent cases are not indexed and can get a result in a higher number of documents in the attorney review stage of the eDiscovery process.
  • There is a 2 TB limit for the maximum amount of transferable data from a single search and, in a single day.
  • The eDiscovery Export tool allows organizations to download 100,000 mailboxes for search results. 
  • If you need to move your Outlook local files, the electronic discovery allows you a file size limit of 10 GB.
  • The main challenge which are faced by the user is that with eDiscovery users can only search 50 keyword lists in a single search. Moreover, this will be a time-consuming procedure.
  • When a user is doing batch processing searches in electronic discovery, it can be slow because users may only preview the first 1000 hit results. 
  • Within your organization, if you have more than 10,000 mailboxes. So in this scenario, you can’t use the option of Search Mailboxes option on the Mailboxes page in EAC. 
  • In SharePoint and OneDrive for Business, the maximum number of sites can be previewed for search results. In addition, you can preview only the top 200 sites with the maximum search results.
  • When previewing content search results there is a limit of 100 items per public folder mailbox for preview.
  • There is a limit of 10,000,000 bytes of an item that can be viewed on the preview page.
  • Within your mailboxes in a search, you can delete items by doing a “search and purge” action and this procedure has a limit of 50,000.  
  • Rate at which seek outcomes from mailboxes and websites are uploaded to a Microsoft-provided Azure Storage location, the maximum of 2 GB per hour.
  • The following table lists common seek instances for series searches primarily based totally on the range of mailboxes covered inside the seek:

Number of mailboxes       Average search time

  1. 100                                         30 seconds
  2. 1,000                                         45 seconds
  3. 10,000                                         4 minutes
  4. 25,000                                         10 minutes
  5. 50,000                                         20 minutes
  6. 100,000                                 25 minutes

Note: If your search results in larger than 2 TB, in this case, experts recommend using date ranges, or other types of filters. Moreover, this task is necessary since you need to decrease the total size of the search results and this limit is reset daily at noon UTC. 

When looking at SharePoint and OneDrive for Business locations, the characters inside the URLs of the websites being searched are counted towards this restriction. This restriction takes impact after the question is elevated and consists of characters from the keyword question, any search permissions filters carried out to the user, and the URLs of all web website online locations.


After considering its limitations, should MS Office 365 be used for the eDiscovery search? If so, then to what extent? Being a testifying eDiscovery expert, in any case, some companies have performed electronic discovery using basic features offered by MS Office 365. When the evidence is missed, the consequences will be severe. Please have a look:

  • Requirement of the case
  • Determine the amount of controversy
  • Various Parties of resources
  • Importance of an issue at stake in action
  • Importance of discovery in resolving issues

What’s Next?

While performing the Office 365 eDiscovery search process, you must have a higher technical knowledge. Therefore, there is one automated way namely SysTools’s Most Secure Office 365 Export Tool by which users can migrate Legal hold archive mailboxes or In-place Archive emails. It has the potential to extract Office 365 items including emails, calendars, tasks, and contacts, soon. It enables the user to extract only specific data instead of extracting the complete Office 365 mailboxes. Also, it offers date filtration to export O365 data within a certain date range. With this utility, users can extract data from Office 365 accounts in different file formats without any risk or data loss. Moreover, it has a user-friendly interface that even a novice user can use without taking external help.

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A Step-by-step Procedure to Perform Data Migration

Step 1. First of all, Download and Launch the above-mentioned tool.

Download and Launch the software.

Step 2.  On the next screen, Select “Office 365” as a source platform and “Outlook” as the destination platform.

Select “Office 365” as a source platform and “Outlook”

Step 3.  After that, select the categories that you want to export from Office 365 under the Workload selection.

Select the categories that you want to export.

Step 4.  Using the Date-Range Filter option you can perform the date-based selective export of the mailbox data. Click on Next.

Select the Date-Range Filter option.

Step 5.  Now in the Source Office 365 window, enter Admin Email ID for the validation of the source platform.

Enter Admin Email ID.

Step 6.  Click on the “Validate” button to ensure that correct permissions are given to the account.

Click on the "Validate" button.

Step 7.  Click on the Browse button to select the desired location for the software and click the Start. button.

Browse button to select the desired location.

Step 8.  So, there are the following ways in which you can add users from the source account that need to be processed:
(a) Fetch Users
(b) Import Users
(c) Download Template

For mapping select fetch users.

Step 9.  Click on Validate to authorize the selected user source account.

Click on Validate.

Step 11.  Lastly, Click on the Start Export button to start the export process.

Click on the Start Export button.

Time to Conclude

Office 365 provides a large amount of utility concerning litigation holds and preservation. However, the email search capabilities have multiple limitations. Thus, in this blog, we have discussed a reliable and instant solution named Office 365 Export that will help to extract data from Office 365 Mailbox or Archive Mailbox to different file formats. Also, we have explained the complete working steps of the tool clearly.