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Tuesday, 31 December 2013

How to recover accidentally deleted mailboxes in Exchange Server 2010 if backup is not available?

Deleted mailboxes doesn’t always mean lost. Mailbox deletion can be accidental or forced but whatever be the cause, there are good chances to retrieve it in time. Backups are the most preferred choice in this case. Exchange backups can be created using NT Backup, Symantec, VERITAS, HP Backup (both incremental and differential backup) and CA ARCserve backup solutions. But what if you don’t have a recent backup which should contain the deleted mailbox?

Well there are still good chances as Exchange holds on to the deleted mailbox for quite some time; depending upon the retention policy. The default retention policy is 30 days and till then Exchange simply disconnects the mailbox and flags it for deletion. Exchange Management Console (EMC) can be used to check for the particular disconnected mailbox and reconnect to recover it. To check for disconnected mailboxes:
  1. In EMC, expand Microsoft Exchange On-Premises (server name)
  2. Now expand Recipient Configuration and choose Disconnected Mailboxes

If the mailbox is not displayed, don’t panic. Until Exchange cleanup has ran, deleted mailboxes will not appear in the disconnected mailboxes list. However cleanup process can be easily forced. Type one of the following commands from Exchange Management PowerShell:

Clean-MailboxDatabase \servername\SGName\Store: This cleans an individual database Get-Mailboxdatabase | Clean-MailboxDatabase: This cleans all the databases in the Organization

Now, you should see the deleted mailbox in the disconnected mailbox view and you can connect it to the same AD user or another user object. However, if you delete a mailbox in Exchange 2010 the user account is also deleted. You may attempt to recover the Active Directory Account user object using Ldp.exe but that is quite a lengthy process. A better and lot simpler solution is to create a new user object and reconnect (recover) the deleted mailbox through it. In Active Directory Users and Computers, create a new user object. While creating the new user object, click to clear the Create an Exchange Mailbox check box.
 This user account can now be used to reconnect to an already existing mailbox.

  1. In EMC, locate the mailbox store that contains the disconnected mailbox.
  2. Under mailbox store, click on the Mailboxes object.
  3. Right-click on the disconnected mailbox and click Reconnect.
  4. Select the appropriate user from the displayed dialog box (choose the new user object now).
  5. Click OK.

This way you can get back deleted mailboxes but the only condition being that the deletion occurred within the retention period. If this is not the case, then the deleted mailbox is almost lost except for a good third–party recovery solution which can serve purpose. Try Lepide Exchange Recovery Solution to recover deleted, corrupted and damaged Exchange mailboxes. It is a one-stop Exchange recovery and backup restore solution for administrators. Know all about it here:

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