Restore a deleted mailbox via Exchange System Manager

Learn to configure the Exchange System Manager in Exchange 2000 to undelete mailboxes.

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Exchange 2000 introduced mailbox deletion retention. If you configure deletion retention on an Exchange server, Exchange doesn't immediately remove a mailbox from the information store, and you can therefore "undelete" it using Exchange System Manager.

This is a great feature for sticky situations such as when an overly zealous administrator deletes a mailbox from the server, only to have a user request its contents a few days later.

To configure your server for mailbox deletion retention, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Exchange System Manager, and navigate to the server you want to configure.
  2. Right-click Mailbox Store, and select Properties.
  3. On the Limits tab, the Keep Deleted Mailboxes For (Days) box specifies the number of days that deleted mailboxes remain on the server. If desired, change the number of days, and click OK to apply the change.

Keep in mind that the longer the retention period, the longer it is before the used space is free, so you want to keep it within reason. Most administrators find that 30 days of retention works well for their organization's needs.

To restore a mailbox that someone has deleted within the retention period, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Exchange System Manager, and navigate to the server that stores the mailbox.
  2. Expand Mailbox Store, right-click Mailboxes, and select Run Cleanup Agent.
  3. Right-click the mailbox you wish to recover, and select Reconnect.
  4. Select the user account you want to associate with the mailbox, and click OK.

While this method of restoring mailboxes isn't likely to keep you from ever needing to restore a database to recover a mailbox, it definitely helps.

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