Simple Methods to Recover Deleted Mailboxes in Exchange 2016

Megha Sharma
Megha Sharma | Updated On - 23 May 2022 |

Read time 9 minutes

Microsoft has designed the Exchange Server as a robust application that creates sizeable database with multiple GBs and each database consists multiple mailboxes. The user gets the authority that he/she can delete an older or unwanted mailbox to create space for new data. It creates a chance of probability that the user may delete a mailbox abruptly or unintentionally. To overcome such threats, Microsoft provides some tools that can help the administrator to check for unnatural behavior in Exchange. The tools are following –

  • Microsoft Exchange antispam and antimalware.
  • Microsoft Exchange Online Protection.
  • Exchange Analyzer.
  • Microsoft Security Compliance Toolkit.
  • Microsoft Security Configuration Wizard.
  • Microsoft Defender Antivirus.
  • Microsoft Safety Scanner.

All these features minimize the chances for accidental data deletion from Exchange Server. But the user can still delete the mailbox accidentally

Talking about the Exchange Server 2016, deleted mailboxes can be recovered manually or using third-party solutions. For recovery, you can create a user object and connect the user account to the disconnected mailbox. However, this is possible only if the retention period of the mailbox is not over.

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Default Mailbox Retention Period in Exchange 2016

When you delete an Exchange mailbox, it does not get deleted permanently; instead, it is retained for 30 days by default (unless manually purged). Within the retention period, it is possible for users to restore the deleted mailbox. But once this 30-day period is over, the mailbox will be removed permanently from the database.

Configure Mailbox Retention Period

To configure the mailbox retention period manually, you can use the Exchange Admin Center (EAC). Select servers on the left pane. Under the databases tab, select the required database and then click the edit icon. In Limits option, modify the number of days in the Keep deleted mailboxes for (days) field (by default the number is 30).
Set time limit to Keep deleted mailboxes

How to Connect a Deleted Mailbox to a User Account?

To restore a deleted mailbox, you need to connect it to a user account. The process is similar for shared mailboxes, linked mailboxes, and resource mailboxes. And this can be done using the Exchange admin center (EAC) or Exchange Management Shell (EMS). Alternately, you can use third-party tools to recover data from deleted mailboxes.

1st Solution – Connect a Deleted Mailbox to a User Account Using EAC

You can connect deleted mailboxes to user accounts using Exchange Admin Center. The process is same for all types of mailboxes – linked mailboxes, resource mailboxes and shared mailboxes.

  1. Open EAC and go to Recipients>Mailboxes.
  2. Click More and then select Connect a Mailbox option.
  3. Choose a deleted mailbox from the list of disconnected mailboxes. Click Connect; click Yes.
  4. Now, you will receive a list of user accounts (not mail-enabled). Click the user account to which you want to connect the selected deleted mailbox. After that, click OK.
    Choose a deleted mailbox from the list

Now, your Exchange will connect the deleted mailbox to the selected user account, and so the deleted mailbox is available to the user again.

2nd Solution – Connect a Deleted Mailbox to a User Account Using EMS

When you use Exchange Management Shell to connect a deleted mailbox to a user account, you need to specify the type of mailbox (whether it is shared, linked, room, or equipment mailbox). The general syntax is:

Connect-Mailbox -Identity “mailbox name” -Database <database name=””> -User “AD user account name” -Alias <email=””></email></database>

3rd Solution – Reconnect a Deleted Mailbox

Before starting, keep in mind that not more than one user can be connected to an Exchange mailbox (as GUIDs must be unique). To reconnect a deleted mailbox, start Exchange Server Manager. Go to the mailbox store having disconnected mailboxes. Under the mailbox store, click Mailboxes. Then, click Clean up Agent from the right-click menu. Select the disconnected mailboxes for recovery and click Reconnect. Finally, select the related user account and then click OK.

4th Solution – Recover Deleted Mailboxes Using Third-party Tools

All the solutions mentioned above can be used for the recovery of deleted mailboxes. But there are situations in which you need to recover deleted mailboxes to Outlook PST, Exchange Server, Microsoft 365, etc.

In that case, third-party tools like Exchange Recovery can be used. It is relatively a simple, automatic, reliable and effective way to recover and save deleted mailboxes from Exchange 2016 or any other Exchange Server database files. The tool is integrated with smart algorithms to perform a clean and quick data recovery.

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Let us have a look at the whole process of recovering deleted mailboxes of Exchange 2016 with minimum effort.

  1. Start the software application. Click Add Source or Offline EDB option to add an offline EDB file.
    Start the software
  2. Select the Offline EDB File option and click Next.
    select Offline EDB file
  3. Click the … option and add the EDB file. Click Next to continue.

    Note: You can click the Search button to search for EDB files. In the Search EDB file window. Click the … option and add the drive location of EDB files. Then, click Search to retrieve the EDB files from the folder. Select the desired file and click OK.
    search for EDB file
  4. Select the scan mode and then click Next.
    select scan mode
  5. All the mailboxes are retrieved from the EDB file. Click on Deleted Items to have a preview of selected items in the folder.
    preview the selected items
  6. Select the file items to move. Then, click Add Destination or PST File icon.
    Select the file items to move
  7. Choose Create new PST file (or you can choose Existing PST file) and click Next.
    Create new PST file
  8. Provide the PST saving location, file name, and assign a password to it (optional). Finally, click Next.
    Provide the PST location
  9. Selected data gets saved at the defined location, and a successful information message is displayed. Click Finish at the end.
    successfully process done
  10. The new created PST file is added as the destination. Now, select the Deleted items folder and right-click on it. Choose the Copy Folder option from the list.
    choose folder from list
  11. Now select any folder from the destination PST mailbox and right-click on it. Choose the Paste Folder option.
    Choose Paste Folder
  12. Apply the required filters and click OK.
    apply filters
  13. A report is generated showing the migration details.
    migration details
  14. Now, you can view the copied data in the new PST file folder.
    view the copied data

Thus, the software recovers Exchange database data along with deleted mailboxes and items. You can also export EDB to PST or other destination like Microsoft 365. You can try this efficient solution to perform deleted mailbox recovery without disturbing the integrity of data.

Conclusion

The deleted mailboxes in Exchange Server 2016 can be recovered within the retention period using the manual recovery. Once the mailbox is deleted permanently, then you cannot recover it. Only a professional software like Kernel for Exchange Server can retrieve a permanently deleted mailbox from a database. It will scan the database and present you the mailbox.

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A Review of TechNet Expert on How to recover mailbox from .edb file?