Deleting a Mailbox


Topic Last Modified: 2005-04-25

There are two ways to make an Exchange mailbox unusable:

  • Use Exchange System Manager to delete the mailbox.

  • Delete a mailbox-enabled user from Active Directory. This makes the mailbox unowned. The mailbox still exists, but no user can access it.

Use the Exchange Task Wizard to delete mailboxes. This wizard is available in both Exchange System Manager (right-click the mailbox to access the wizard) and Active Directory Users and Computers (right-click the user to access the wizard).

The mailbox is not removed from the store immediately. The next time the mailbox management process runs, it marks the mailbox as deleted. The mailbox remains in the store, viewable using Exchange System Manager, for the length of time that is specified by the mailbox store settings Keep deleted mailboxes for (days) and Do not permanently delete mailboxes and items until the store has been backed up. After this time has passed (or after the store has been backed up), the mailbox will be purged automatically.

After a mailbox has been marked as deleted, you can also purge it manually. In the mailbox listing, right-click the mailbox, and then click Purge. For more information, see the Exchange Server 2003 Help.

After a mailbox has been purged, you cannot recover it, except from a backup of the mailbox store.

If you use Active Directory Users and Computers to delete a user, the mailbox information in the mailbox store is not deleted. The next time the mailbox management process runs, it marks the mailbox as unowned. Unowned mailboxes are purged automatically according to the store's Keep deleted mailboxes and items for setting. The default value is 30 days. You can also purge the mailbox from the store manually. For more information about purging mailboxes, see the Exchange Server 2003 Help.


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