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Recovering an Exchange mailbox that is deleted accidentally can be one of the most frustrating things for a user as with the deletion of the user mailbox, its associated user account also gets deleted. But, the relieving part is that a mailbox is never removed permanently from Exchange 2010. When you accidentally delete a mailbox in Exchange 2010, it gets disconnected from your account and held in the directory for 30 days which is the default mailbox retention period. You can reconnect any deleted mailbox during this period.

However, when the retention period ends, the mailbox will be deleted permanently. So, if you want to reconnect a mailbox, then you should verify the deleted mailbox retention policy. Follow the below steps to verify the retention policy:

  • Go to Exchange 2010 Management Console and expand Microsoft Exchange On-premises in the navigation pane.
  • Expand Organization Configuration and select the mailbox for which you want to verify the retention policy.
  • Select the Database Management tab in the Mailbox pane.
  • Click on the respective Mailbox Database that you want to verify.
  • Choose properties and click the Limits Tab.
  • Verify the detention policy or settings and adjust the days according to your requirements.

After verifying the retention policy, you’ll get to know whether the deleted mailbox you want to connect to is still available or not.

Checking disconnected mailboxes

Also, you’ll have to check the Disconnected Mailbox list, as Exchange 2010 disconnects deleted emails.

Note: After the deletion of any Exchange mailbox, it would take about 15 minutes to 1 hour to get it listed in the disconnected mailbox list from the time of deletion.

Here’s how you can access disconnected mailboxes.

  • Go to Exchange Management Console and expand Microsoft Exchange On-premises
  • Now, expand Recipient Configuration and Select Disconnected Mailboxes.
  • Here you can find the deleted mailbox

However, if you don’t find a recently deleted mailbox in disconnected mailboxes, then don’t panic. Deleted mailboxes don’t appear in the folder until Exchange 2010 cleans its database.

Force cleaning Exchange mailbox database

The process of cleaning the database takes some time, but you can also force Exchange 2010 to clean databases. Follow the below steps to force Exchange 2010 to clean the database.

  • Go to Start and type Exchange Management Shell
  • Now, right-click Exchange Management Shell and click Run as administrator
  • A prompt will appear on the screen, enter the following command to it:
    Get-Mailboxdatabase |Clean-MailboxDatabase
  • If the next command line returns, the cleaning database has been completed successfully.

After cleaning the Exchange 2010 mailbox database, you can recover the deleted mailboxes. Here how:

Recovering deleted mailboxes in Exchange 2010 (Within Retention period)
  1. Go to Exchange System Manager and locate the mailbox store that contains disconnected mailboxes
  2. Under the mailbox store, select the Mailboxes object
  3. Now, right-click on the disconnected mailbox, and then select Reconnect
  4. Select the mailbox type and click Next.
  5. Select the appropriate user using the Browse option under the Existing user section from the opened wizard and click Next.
  6. Note: Disconnected mailboxes already associated with another mailbox cannot be reconnected to a user account.

Using this technique, only one user can connect to a mailbox because to be unique across an entire forest, all globally unique identifiers are required.

Reconnecting deleted mailboxes to a new user object

You can also reconnect a deleted mailbox to a new user object using Active Directory.

  1. Go to Active Directory Users and create a new user object.
  2. While creating a new user object, click to clear the Create an Exchange Mailbox checkbox.
  3. The user account will be connected to an already existing mailbox.
  4. Now, follow the same steps of Recovering Deleted Mailboxes in Exchange 2010 as mentioned in the previous section.

Using this manual technique, you can quickly recover deleted mailboxes that are available in disconnected mailboxes. However, this technique doesn’t work if the mailbox is permanently deleted from the Exchange 2010. So, how will you recover permanently deleted mailboxes from Exchange 2010?

Use a professional software to recover deleted mailboxes

It is an advanced tool that allows users to recover every item of Exchange Server 2010 file. Also, it is capable of recovering corrupt/damaged Exchange 2010 databases. An EDB file of Exchange Server is created on your computer automatically with the whole data of Exchange Server. Using Kernel for Exchange Server, you can recover even permanently deleted mailboxes of Exchange 2010.

After recovering the deleted mailbox, you can convert EDB to PST file format or even migrate to Live Exchange. Let’s have a look at the working process of this software to understand it better.

Adding EDB File as a Source

  1. Download and install the Kernel tool on your system.
    Download Kernel Exchange Server Recovery
  2. After launching the tool, select Offline EDB File as the source and click Next.
    Select Source Type
  3. Select the EDB file from the system by clicking the Browse button and click Next to proceed ahead.
    Select EDB file
    Note: You can also search for a specific Edb file with the search feature.
  4. Select any method for scanning the Exchange 2010 EDB file and click Next.
    Select scanning mode
  5. The EDB file will be added, and the deleted mailboxes will be visible in the red color.
    Source list
    Now, from here you can save these mailboxes in PST, MSG, and EML formats if you want to migrate Exchange 2010 data to Office 365 mailboxes. Here, we will export the mailboxes to Live exchange so that you can access the permanently deleted mailboxes of Exchange 2010 within Exchange Server.

Adding Live Exchange as Destination

  1. Select Add Destination to add Live Exchange for EDB migration and click Next.
    Add Destination
  2. Enter the credentials and related information for Live Exchange Server.
    Enter the credentials
  3. Now, select the mailbox to which you want to migrate the data and click Next. The Live Exchange mailboxes will be added to the tool.
    Select Users
  4. The Live Exchange mailboxes will be visible on the down left-hand side.
    Destination list

Migrating EDB to Live Exchange

  1. To restore the Deleted mailbox from EDB to Live Exchange. Right-click on the Deleted Mailbox folder and select copy mailbox.
  2. Go to the destination folder and click Paste Mailboxes.
  3. If there are multiple mailboxes, then the software will ask you to select specific mailboxes if any, else click Next.
    Select Mailboxes Want To Migrate,
  4. Apply the filters on the deleted mailbox, such as item type, date range, skip folders, etc. and click Next.
    Apply the filters
  5. Map the mailboxes when the Mapping Wizard appears on the screen and click Next after the mapping is done.
    Map the mailboxes
  6. The restoring process will take some time based on the size of deleted mailboxes. A notification will appear on the screen after completion as shown below. Click OK first, and then click Finish to end the process.
    Migration Completed

This way you can easily recover deleted mailboxes from Exchange 2010 and restore them to Live Exchange. It is one of the simplest tools to recover deleted mailbox from Exchange 2010 and restore to multiple destination locations including Microsoft 365.


The user can accidentally delete the content of the mailbox or even complete folders from them. If you get to know about the accidental deletion after the expiration of recovery period, then the data will be lost permanently. For keeping the chances of recovery of permanently deleted files alive, you should use Exchange Mailbox Recovery software. It can recover the deleted files and show them in bright red color for easier identification. The software does not require any log files to recover the mailbox items.

Kernel for Exchange Server