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Restore a Soft-Deleted Mailbox

 

Topic Last Modified: 2012-11-29

Use the Shell to connect a soft-deleted mailbox to an Active Directory user account. A mailbox becomes soft-deleted in the source mailbox database when it’s moved to a different mailbox database. Exchange doesn't fully delete the mailbox from the source mailbox database when the move is complete. Instead, the mailbox in the source mailbox database is switched to a soft-deleted state. This lets you restore the source mailbox in case errors occur during the move that cause a failure or corruption of the mailbox on the destination database. If this happens, you can restore the source mailbox and try the move again.

A soft-deleted mailbox is retained in the source database until the deleted mailbox retention period expires or until the Remove-StoreMailbox cmdlet is used to purge the soft-deleted mailbox. Until a soft-deleted mailbox is permanently deleted from the Exchange mailbox database, you can use the Shell to restore the contents of the soft-deleted mailbox to an existing mailbox or an archive mailbox.

To learn more about soft-deleted mailboxes and perform other related management tasks, see the following topics:

  • Estimated time to complete: 2 minutes.
  • You need to be assigned permissions before you can perform this procedure or procedures. To see what permissions you need, see the "Recipient Provisioning Permissions" section in the Recipients Permissions topic.
  • The procedures in this topic can only be performed in the Shell. You can’t use the EAC to restore soft-deleted mailboxes.
  • Run the following command to verify that the soft-deleted mailbox that you want to connect a user account still exists in the mailbox database and is not a disabled mailbox.
    Get-MailboxDatabase | Get-MailboxStatistics | Where { $_.DisplayName -eq "<display name>" } | fl DisplayName,DisconnectReason,DisconnectDate
    
    The soft-deleted mailbox has to exist in the mailbox database and the value for the DisconnectReason property has to be SoftDeleted. If the mailbox has been purged from the database, the command won’t return any results.
    Alternatively, run the following command to display all soft-deleted mailboxes in your organization.
    Get-MailboxDatabase | Get-MailboxStatistics | Where { $_.DisconnectReason -eq "SoftDeleted" } | fl DisplayName,DisconnectReason,DisconnectDate
    
  • For information about keyboard shortcuts that may apply to the procedures in this topic, see Keyboard Shortcuts in the Exchange Admin Center.
  • Having problems? Ask for help in the Exchange forums. Visit the forums at: Exchange Server, Exchange Online, or Exchange Online Protection.

You can use the Shell to restore a soft-deleted mailbox to an existing mailbox by using the New-MailboxRestoreRequest cmdlet. When you restore a soft-deleted mailbox, its contents are copied to an existing mailbox, which is called the target mailbox. After a mailbox restore request is successfully completed, the request is retained for 30 days, by default, before it's removed. You can remove it sooner by using the Remove-MailboxRestoreRequest cmdlet.

After a soft-deleted mailbox is restored, the mailbox is retained in the mailbox database until it’s permanently deleted by an administrator or purged when the deleted mailbox retention period expires.

To create a mailbox restore request, you have to use the display name, mailbox GUID, or legacy distinguished name (DN) of the soft-deleted mailbox. Use the Get-MailboxStatistics cmdlet to display the values of the DisplayName, MailboxGuid, and LegacyDN properties for the soft-deleted mailbox that you want to restore. For example, run the following command to return this information for all disabled and soft-deleted mailboxes in your organization.

Get-MailboxDatabase | Get-MailboxStatistics | Where {$_.DisconnectReason -eq "SoftDeleted"} | fl DisplayName,MailboxGuid,LegacyDN,Database

This example restores a soft-deleted mailbox, which is identified by the display name in the SourceStoreMailbox parameter and is located on the MBXDB01 mailbox database, to the target mailbox named Debra Garcia. The AllowLegacyDNMismatch parameter is used so the source mailbox can be restored to a mailbox that doesn't have the same legacy DN value as the soft-deleted mailbox.

New-MailboxRestoreRequest -SourceStoreMailbox "Debra Garcia" -SourceDatabase MBXDB01 -TargetMailbox "Debra Garcia" -AllowLegacyDNMismatch

This example restores Pilar Pinilla’s soft-deleted archive mailbox, which is identified by the mailbox GUID, to her current archive mailbox. The AllowLegacyDNMismatch parameter isn’t necessary because a primary mailbox and its corresponding archive mailbox have the same legacy DN.

New-MailboxRestoreRequest -SourceStoreMailbox dc35895a-a628-4bba-9aa9-650f5cdb9ae7 -SourceDatabase MBXDB02 -TargetMailbox pilarp@contoso.com -TargetIsArchive

For detailed syntax and parameter information, see New-MailboxRestoreRequest.

To verify that you’ve successfully restored a soft-deleted mailbox to the target mailbox, run the Get-MailboxRestoreRequest cmdlet or the Get-MailboxRestoreRequestStatistics cmdlet to display information about the restore request. If the restore request was successfully created, the Status property will have a value of Queued, InProgress, or Completed. After the restore request is completed, the contents from the soft-deleted mailbox will appear in the target mailbox.

For more information, see:

 
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