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Connect or Restore a Deleted Mailbox

 

Topic Last Modified: 2013-02-12

You can use the EAC or the Shell to connect a deleted mailbox to an Active Directory user account. When you delete a mailbox, Exchange retains the mailbox in the mailbox database and switches the mailbox to a disabled state. The associated Active Directory user account is also deleted. The mailbox is retained until the deleted mailbox retention period expires, which is 30 days by default, and then it’s permanently deleted (or purged) from the mailbox database.

Until a deleted mailbox is permanently deleted from the Exchange mailbox database, you can use the EAC or the Shell to connect it to an Active Directory user account. You can also use the Shell to restore the contents of the deleted mailbox to an existing mailbox.

To learn more about disconnected 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.
  • Create a new user account in Active Directory to connect the deleted mailbox to. Or use the Get-User cmdlet in the Shell to verify that the Active Directory user account that you want to connect the deleted mailbox to exists and that it isn’t already associated with another mailbox. To connect a deleted mailbox to a user account, the account must exist and the value for the RecipientType property has to be User, which indicates that the account isn’t already mailbox-enabled.
    For on-premises Exchange organizations, you can also verify this information in Active Directory Users and Computers.
    importantImportant:
    When you connect deleted linked mailboxes, resource mailboxes, or shared mailboxes, the Active Directory user account that you’re connecting the mailbox to must be disabled.
  • To verify that the deleted mailbox that you want to connect a user account to exists in the mailbox database and isn’t a soft-deleted mailbox, run the following command.
    Get-MailboxDatabase | Get-MailboxStatistics | Where { $_.DisplayName -eq "<display name>" } | fl DisplayName,Database,DisconnectReason
    
    The deleted mailbox has to exist in the mailbox database and the value for the DisconnectReason property has to be Disabled. If the mailbox has been purged from the database, the command won’t return any results.
  • 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.

When you connect a deleted mailbox, you associate the mailbox with a user account that isn’t mail-enabled, which means that it doesn’t have an existing mailbox. To connect a deleted mailbox to a user account that has a mailbox, you have to restore the deleted mailbox. For more information, see Restore a deleted mailbox later in this topic.

The following procedure shows how to connect a deleted user mailbox to a user account. You can also use this procedure to connect linked mailboxes, resource mailboxes, and shared mailboxes that have been deleted to a user account.

  1. In the EAC, navigate to Recipients > Mailboxes.
  2. Click More More Options Icon, and then click Connect a mailbox.
    A list of mailboxes that are disconnected on the selected Exchange server in your Exchange organization will be displayed.
    noteNote:
    This list of disconnected mailboxes includes disabled mailboxes, deleted mailboxes, and soft-deleted mailboxes.
  3. Click the deleted mailbox that you want to connect a user to, and then click Connect.
  4. In the window that asks if you’re sure that you want to connect the mailbox, click Yes.
    A list of user accounts that aren’t mail-enabled is displayed.
  5. Click the user that you want to connect the deleted mailbox to, and then click OK.
    Exchange will connect the deleted mailbox to the user account that you selected.

Use the Connect-Mailbox cmdlet in the Shell to connect a deleted mailbox to a user account that isn’t mail enabled. You have to specify the type of mailbox that you’re connecting. The following examples show the syntax for reconnecting user, linked, room, equipment, and shared mailboxes. In all examples, the optional Alias parameter is used to specify the email alias, which is the portion of the email address on the left side of the at (@) symbol. If you don’t include the Alias parameter, the value specified in the User or LinkedMasterAccount parameter is used to create the alias for the email address for the reconnected mailbox.

noteNote:
As previously stated, when you connect linked, resource, or shared mailboxes, the Active Directory user account that you’re linking the mailbox to must be disabled.

This example connects a user mailbox. The Identity parameter specifies the display name of the deleted mailbox retained in the mailbox database named MBXDB01. The User parameter specifies the Active Directory user account to connect the mailbox to.

Connect-Mailbox -Identity "Paul Cannon" -Database MBXDB01 -User "Robin Wood" -Alias robinw
noteNote:
You can also use the values for the LegacyDN or MailboxGuid properties to identify the deleted mailbox.

This example connects a linked mailbox. The Identity parameter specifies the deleted mailbox on the mailbox database named MBXDB02. The LinkedMasterAccount parameter specifies the Active Directory user account in the account forest that you want to connect the mailbox to. The LinkedDomainController parameter specifies a domain controller in the account forest.

Connect-Mailbox -Identity "Temp User" -Database MBXDB02 -LinkedDomainController FabrikamDC01 -LinkedMasterAccount danpark@fabrikam.com -Alias dpark

This example connects a room mailbox.

Connect-Mailbox -Identity "rm2121" -Database "MBXResourceDB" -User "Conference Room 2121" -Alias ConfRm2121 -Room

This example connects an equipment mailbox.

Connect-Mailbox -Identity "MotorPool01" -Database "MBXResourceDB" -User "Van01 (12 passengers)" -Alias van01 -Equipment

This example connects a shared mailbox.

Connect-Mailbox -Identity "Printer Support" -Database MBXDB01 -User "Corp Printer Support" -Alias corpprint -Shared
noteNote:
You can also use the LegacyDN or MailboxGuid values to identify the deleted mailbox.

For detailed syntax and parameter information, see Connect-Mailbox.

To verify that you’ve successfully connected a deleted mailbox to a user account, do one of the following:

  • In the EAC, click Recipients, navigate to the appropriate page for the mailbox type that you connected, click Refresh Refresh Icon, and verify that the mailbox is listed.
  • In Active Directory Users and Computers, right-click the user account that you connected to the mailbox, and then click Properties. On the General tab, notice that the E-mail box is populated with the email address for the connected mailbox.
  • In the Shell, run the following command.
    Get-User <identity>
    
    The UserMailbox value for the RecipientType property indicates that the user account and the mailbox are connected. You can also run the Get-Mailbox <identity> command to verify that the mailbox was connected.

You can use the Shell to restore a deleted mailbox to an existing mailbox using the New-MailboxRestoreRequest cmdlet. When you restore a deleted mailbox, its contents are copied to an existing mailbox, which is referred to as the target mailbox. After a deleted mailbox is restored, it’s still retained in the mailbox database until it’s permanently deleted by an administrator or purged after the deleted mailbox retention period expires.

After a mailbox restore request is successfully completed, it's retained for 30 days, by default, before it's removed. You can remove it sooner by using the Remove-StoreMailbox cmdlet.

noteNote:
You can't use the EAC to restore a deleted mailbox.

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

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

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

New-MailboxRestoreRequest -SourceStoreMailbox e4890ee7-79a2-4f94-9569-91e61eac372b -SourceDatabase MBXDB01 -TargetMailbox "Debra Garcia" -AllowLegacyDNMismatch

This example restores Pilar Pinilla’s deleted archive mailbox 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 "Personal Archive - Pilar Pinilla" -SourceDatabase "MDB01" -TargetMailbox pilarp@contoso.com -TargetIsArchive

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

To verify that you’ve successfully restored a deleted mailbox to the target mailbox, run the Get-MailboxRestoreRequest 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 deleted mailbox will appear in the target mailbox.

For more information, see:

 
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