Exchange Server 2007 : Design and Deploy Disaster Recovery Settings - Recover Deleted Items and Mailboxes

1/16/2011 3:16:10 PM
Problem : Users typically delete items permanently and need to have them restored. In addition, sometimes you delete a mailbox, assuming a user is not returning, and when they do you have to restore that mailbox. What is an easy solution for handling these matters?

Solution :
Although not true disasters, these are items that usually come under the disaster recovery discussion because there is a point of no return where an item or a mailbox has to be restored from a backup. A backup/restore is definitely within the category of recovery.

To mitigate the amount of frustration that an administrator deals with over deleted items and deleted mailboxes, we have to configure Deleted Item Retention and Deleted Mailbox Retention. The default on items is 14 days, and on mailboxes, it is 30 days.

In the event that you do need to restore a deleted message or mailbox, how would you go about doing it?

Deleted Item Recovery

To recover a deleted item or assist a user in recovering his own deleted items, perform the following:

Open Outlook 2007.

Select the Deleted Items folder.

Select Tools, and then click Recover Deleted Items.

Locate the message you want to restore. Select the message and click Recover Selected Items.

When you restore the item, you will not see it back in your Inbox. It will restore back to your Deleted Items folder. If it is important, you might want to move it to another folder.


If the message that needs to be restored has been permanently deleted beyond the 14-day mark, you have to first make a decision. Is the individual requesting the restoration worth the time and effort it might take to locate and restore the message? If she is, you might ask her directly, “Is the message you are looking for something that is irreplaceable and absolutely necessary to have restored?” If the answer is yes to both questions, consider some of the other backup restoration solutions.

Deleted Mailbox Recovery

When you delete a mailbox, you essentially disconnect it from the user’s AD user account. If you delete the AD account, the mailbox is disconnected automatically from the deleted account. That disconnected mailbox is placed in the Disconnected Mailbox section under the Recipient Configuration work center. You can reconnect that mailbox (as long as you do so prior to the 30-day deleted mailbox retention time expiring).

To connect a mailbox with a new account or with an existing AD user account, perform the following:

Open the Exchange Management Console (EMC).

From the Navigation Tree, expand the Recipient Configuration work center and click Disconnected Mailbox.

Locate and select the mailbox you wish to connect.

From the Actions pane, select Connect to open the wizard.

Initially, you are taken to the Introduction screen, where you are asked to choose the mailbox type: User, Room, Equipment, or Linked. Make your choice and select Next.

Next, you are presented with the Mailbox Settings screen, shown in Figure 1. Here you can choose the following:

  • Matching User— Select the Browse button to locate a user object in AD that should match the mailbox.

  • Existing User— If you select this option, you can click Browse to locate a list of users that do not currently have connected mailboxes associated with them.

  • Alias— Supply an alias name.

  • Managed Folder Mailbox Policy— Select Browse to select a policy.

  • Exchange ActiveSync Mailbox Policy— Select Browse to select a policy.

Figure 1. The Connect Mailbox Wizard’s Mailbox Settings screen.

After your options have been selected, click Next.

After the wizard completes, select Finish.
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