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RPC Error -2147220992 with Start-ManagedFolderAssistant on Office 365 Mailboxes

I’ve got a few users who have recently filled up their mailboxes (I thought 50 GB was a huge amount of email, apparently not), and I urgently needed to free up some space.

I assigned the users an Exchange Online Archiving licence and set a sensible default retention policy, but then wanted to start the Managed Folder Assistant straight away, instead of waiting for it to run by itself at some stage over the next 24 hours.

Logging into Office 365 via PowerShell is the way to do it – log in and then run

Start-ManagedFolderAssistant -Identity "[email protected]"

I ran this in two separate customer tenancies this morning, and in both cases got an RPC error, along the lines of:

PS /Users/kai> Start-ManagedFolderAssistant -Identity "[email protected]"
 The call to Mailbox Assistants Service on server: 'whatever.prod.outlook.com' failed. Error from RPC is -2147220992.
 CategoryInfo          : InvalidOperation: (:) [Start-ManagedFolderAssistant], TaskException
 FullyQualifiedErrorId : [Server=SOMETHING,RequestId=cd265b1d-ef2a-cafe-babe-23147a5f1123,TimeStamp=18/07/2019 2:32:28 AM] [FailureCategory=Cmdlet-TaskException] DEADBEEF,Microsoft.Exchange.Management.SystemConfigurationTasks.StartElcAssistant
 PSComputerName        : outlook.office365.com 

Well, this didn’t look good.

As it turns out, thanks to a helpful blog post from Tim McMichael on TechNet, there’s an easy solution. Look up the GUID of the user’s primary mailbox and then use this as the identity for the Managed Folder Assistant.

get-mailboxLocation –user [email protected] | fl mailboxGuid,mailboxLocationType

If you have archiving enabled, then this returns two GUIDs, one for the Primary and one for the MainArchive mailboxes.

Grab the GUID for the Primary mailbox, and use it like so:

Start-ManagedFolderAssistant aace1f4e-feed-ace0-babe-466f1deed1d1

15 thoughts on “RPC Error -2147220992 with Start-ManagedFolderAssistant on Office 365 Mailboxes

  1. Using GUID will easly run the command but the issue does not resolve. The email movement will not start unless the user logs in to OWA once.

  2. Greetings from Brooklyn New York and thank you for posting TIMMCMIC’s solution. I was up at 6am trying to get this done and I could not make any progress. It worked, thanks so much!

  3. a few minutes after running the command, using the guid, i gave the standard command again. it initiated a new powershell session and run the original command without the error

  4. Saved me a lot of headache. Thank you. Please note that if a mailbox is too full, archiving may still not start. In that case, you must bring the size of the primary mailbox below 85% capacity, according to Microsoft, or below 95%, according to my actual experience. Then triggering Start-ManagedFolderAssistant actually gets it going.

    1. I’ve fortunately not had problems with the Managed Folder Assistant refusing to run when the mailbox was too full, however it often did take some time (an hour or more) to start archiving items, even after I ran the Start-ManagedFolderAssistant command.

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