How to Recover Deleted Mailboxes in Exchange 2010

One of the most relieving things to know is when you delete a mailbox from Exchange it is not completely deleted immediately. Exchange disconnects the mailbox and it is held onto for a given amount of time. By default, the deleted mailbox retention is configured to 30 days. You will first want to verify this is indeed the case for your system.

Verifying deleted mailbox retention policy

  • Open the Exchange Management Console (EMC)
  • In the navigation pane, expand Microsoft Exchange On-Premises (server name)
  • Expand Organization Configuration
  • Select Mailbox
  • In the Mailbox pane, select the Database Management tab
  • Right click on respective Mailbox Database which you are verifying
  • Select properties and click on the Limits Tab
  • Verify the deletion settings and adjust as desired

Once you have verified your deleted mailbox retention policy, you will know if the mailbox you deleted should still available. Since Exchange holds on to these deleted mailboxes and temporary disconnects them, you will want to check the disconnected mailboxes list.

Accessing disconnected mailboxes

  • Within the EMC, expand Microsoft Exchange On-Premises (server name)
  • Expand Recipient Configuration
  • Select Disconnected Mailboxes

Under disconnected mailboxes you may or not see the mailbox you are wishing to recover. Do not panic if the recently deleted a mailbox is not listed here. Deleted mailboxes will not appear in the disconnected mailboxes until Exchange cleans its database. This process involves Exchange going through active directory and updating the Exchange store for any mailboxes which are disconnected. You can easily force this process to occur.

Force Exchange to clean databases

  • Click Start and type Exchange Management Shell
  • Right click on Exchange Management Shell and Run as Administrator
  • When it prompts type the following command: Get-Mailboxdatabase | Clean-MailboxDatabase
  • If it returns to next command line, it should have successfully completed the cleaning

Now you should be able to open the Exchange Management Console and see the deleted Mailbox listed under Disconnected Mailboxes. You can attempt to reconnect the mailbox by right clicking on it and click Connect and following the wizard. In some cases this may not work. You will have to use the Exchange Power Shell to reconnect it and then verify account settings.

Manually Reconnecting a Mailbox and Verifying

  • Open Exchange Power Shell as Administrator
  • Run the following command, Connect-Mailbox -Identity “username” -Database “Mailbox Database” -User “username
  • Return to Exchange Management Console
  • Expand Recipient Configuration
  • Refresh Disconnected Mailboxes, the one you reconnected should no longer be listed
  • Select Mailbox under Recipient Configuration
  • Double click the mailbox you restored
  • Under the General tab, review the Alias
  • Under the E-Mail addresses tab, review STMP address
  • If all looks correct, have the user login to their Outlook or OWA and verify and test sending / receiving
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