Disable or delete a mailbox in Exchange 2016

 

Applies to: Exchange Server 2016

Topic Last Modified: 2017-06-30

Summary: Learn how to disable or delete a mailbox in Exchange 2016.

In Exchange 2016, you can use the Exchange admin center (EAC) or the Exchange Management Shell to disable or delete mailboxes. Disabled or deleted mailboxes are also known as disconnected mailboxes. For more information about disconnected mailboxes, see Disconnected mailboxes.

Note: If you need to delete a mailbox in Office 365, see Delete or Restore User Mailboxes in Exchange Online.

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When you disable a mailbox, all Exchange attributes are removed from the associated user account in Active Directory. The disconnected mailbox is hidden and marked for removal. The disconnected mailbox is permanently deleted (purged) based on the MailboxRetention property value for the mailbox database (the default value is 30 days). Before the mailbox is purged, you can reconnect it to a new or existing user account that doesn't already have an associated mailbox. For more information, see Connect a disabled mailbox.

Note: Disabling a mailbox that has an associated archive marks both the primary and archive mailboxes for removal. To only mark the archive mailbox for removal without affecting the primary mailbox, see Disable an archive mailbox.

  1. In the EAC, go to Recipients, and click the tab for the type of mailbox that you want to disable:

    • Mailboxes for user mailboxes and linked mailboxes.

    • Shared for shared mailboxes.

  2. Find and select the mailbox that you want to disable. For example:

    • Scroll through the list. You can also click the column headers to sort the mailboxes.

    • Click Search and enter the text to filter the list of mailboxes.

    • Select multiple mailboxes by selecting a mailbox, holding the Shift key, and selecting a mailbox farther down in the list, or by holding down the CTRL key as you select each mailbox.

  3. After you've selected the mailbox or mailboxes that you want to disable, click More More Options icon, select Disable, and then click Yes in the warning message that appears.

To disable a mailbox, use this syntax:

Disable-Mailbox <MailboxIdentity> [-Arbitration] [-Archive] [-PublicFolder] [-RemoteArchive]

This example disables the user mailbox that has the alias value danj.

Disable-Mailbox danj

This example disables the room mailbox named Conf Room 31/1234 (12).

Disable-Mailbox "Conf Room 31/1234 (12)"

This example disables the shared mailbox that has the email address sharedmbx@contoso.com.

Disable-Mailbox sharedmbx@contoso.com

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

To verify that you've successfully disabled a mailbox, do any of these steps:

  • In the EAC, click Recipients, go to the appropriate tab for the type of mailbox that you disabled, and verify that the mailbox is no longer listed. Note that you might need to click Refresh Refresh icon.

  • In Active Directory Users and Computers, right-click the user account whose mailbox you disabled, and then click Properties. On the General tab, verify that the E-mail field is blank.

  • In the Exchange Management Shell replace <DisplayName> with the user's display name, and run this command to verify the DisconnectReason property value is Disabled (which indicates the mailbox has been marked for removal):

    Get-MailboxDatabase | Get-MailboxStatistics | Where {$_.DisplayName -eq "<DisplayName>"} | Format-List DisconnectReason,DisconnectDate
    

    Notes:

    • The DisconnectReason property doesn't distinguish between disabled and deleted mailboxes (the value for both is Disabled). The presence of the associated user account indicates whether the mailbox was disabled.

      When you delete a mailbox, the value of the DisconnectReason property is also Disabled, but the corresponding Active Directory user account is also deleted.

    • If the command returns no results, replace <DatabaseName> with the name of the mailbox database where the disconnected mailbox resides, and run this command to synchronize the mailbox state for all disconnected mailboxes on the database:

      Get-MailboxStatistics -Database "<DatabaseName>" | foreach {Update-StoreMailboxState -Database $_.Database -Identity $_.MailboxGuid -Confirm:$false}
      

      Then, run the previous command, which should now return results.

  • In the Exchange Management Shell, replace <UserIdentity> with the name or user principal name of the user (for example, user@contoso.com), and run this command to verify that the RecipientType property value is User,not UserMailbox.

    Get-User <UserIdentity>
    

When you delete a mailbox, the mailbox is disconnected from the associated user account, and the account is removed from Active Directory. The disconnected mailbox is hidden and marked for removal. The disconnected mailbox is permanently deleted (purged) based on the MailboxRetention property value for the mailbox database (the default value is 30 days). Before the mailbox is purged, you can reconnect it to a new or existing user account that doesn't already have an associated mailbox. For more information, see Connect or restore a deleted mailbox.

Note: Deleting a mailbox that has an associated archive marks both the primary and archive mailboxes for removal. To only mark the archive mailbox for removal without affecting the primary mailbox, see Disable an archive mailbox.

  1. In the EAC, go to the location for the type of mailbox that you want to delete:

    • Recipients > Mailboxes for user mailboxes and linked mailboxes.

    • Recipients > Resources for room and equipment mailboxes.

    • Recipients > Shared for shared mailboxes.

    • Public folders > Public folder mailboxes for public folder mailboxes.

  2. Find and select the mailbox that you want to disable. For example:

    • Scroll through the list. You can also click the column headers to sort the mailboxes.

    • Click Search and enter the text to filter the list of mailboxes.

    • Select multiple mailboxes by selecting a mailbox, holding the Shift key, and selecting a mailbox farther down in the list, or by holding down the CTRL key as you select each mailbox.

  3. After you've selected the mailbox or mailboxes that you want to delete, click Delete Delete icon, and then click Yes in the warning message that appears.

To delete a mailbox, use this syntax:

Remove-Mailbox <MailboxIdentity> [-Arbitration] [-PublicFolder]

This example deletes the mailbox that has the email address pilarp@contoso.com.

Remove-Mailbox pilarp@contoso.com

This example deletes the equipment mailbox named Fleet Van (16).

Remove-Mailbox "Fleet Van (16)"

This example deletes the mailbox that has the alias value corpprint.

Remove-Mailbox corpprint

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

Note: If you use the Remove-Mailbox cmdlet with the Purge switch, the mailbox is immediately purged and isn't recoverable. For more information, see Permanently delete a mailbox.

To verify that you've successfully deleted a mailbox, do any of these steps:

  • In the EAC, click Recipients, go to the appropriate tab for the type of mailbox that you deleted, and verify that the mailbox is no longer listed. Note that you might need to click Refresh Refresh icon.

  • In Active Directory Users and Computers, verify that the associated account is no longer listed. Note that mailbox types other than user and linked mailboxes also have associated user accounts that are disabled (for example, room, equipment, arbitration, shared, and public folder mailboxes).

  • In the Exchange Management Shell replace <DisplayName> with the user's display name, and run this command to verify the DisconnectReason property value is Disabled (which indicates the mailbox has been marked for removal):

    Get-MailboxDatabase | Get-MailboxStatistics | Where {$_.DisplayName -eq "<DisplayName>"} | Format-List DisconnectReason,DisconnectDate
    

    Notes:

    • The DisconnectReason property doesn't distinguish between disabled and deleted mailboxes (the value for both is Disabled). The absence of the associated user account indicates whether the mailbox was deleted.

    • If the command returns no results, replace <DatabaseName> with the name of the mailbox database where the disconnected mailbox resides, and run this command to synchronize the mailbox state for all disconnected mailboxes on the database:

      Get-MailboxStatistics -Database "<DatabaseName>" | foreach {Update-StoreMailboxState -Database $_.Database -Identity $_.MailboxGuid -Confirm:$false}
      

      Then, run the previous command, which should now return results.

  • In the Exchange Management Shell, replace <UserIdentity> with the name or user principal name of the user (for example, user@contoso.com), and run this command to verify that the user can't be found.

    Get-User <UserIdentity>
    

When you delete the Active Directory user account that's associated with a mailbox, Exchange will detect that the mailbox is no longer connected to a user account, and will mark the mailbox for removal, even if the mailbox has been placed on Litigation Hold or In-Place Hold. To retain the mailbox, do these steps:

  • Instead of deleting the user account, disable the user account.

  • Change the properties of the mailbox to restrict its use and who has access to the mailbox. For example, set send and receive quotas equal to 1, block who can send messages to the mailbox, and restrict who has access the mailbox.

  • Retain the mailbox until all data has been expunged, or until preserving the data is no longer required.

For more information, see In-Place Hold and Litigation Hold in Exchange 2016.

 
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