Recently we had a client that deleted an exchange mailbox by mistake. He quickly recreated it for the user to be able to receive and send e-mails but in the meantime the user had lost all her mailbox information. Although there are many useful tools to backup and restore exchange mailboxes, in this case the best way was to restore the mailbox by using exchange management shell as it had the latest copy of the user’s mailbox.

As described in this Microsoft Technet Article, when you delete an exchange 2013 mailbox, the mailbox is kept in the database until the retention period expires. The retention period is 30 days by default. As the article explains you can iether connect a deleted mailbox to a user account or you can restore it to another mailbox. In this case we didn’t want to disrupt the user so we proceeded by restoring the mailbox into the new mailbox.

The process used is similar to the one in the technet article. I am documenting it as I used a slightly different command to list the disabled mailboxes and their size. I am also adding some screenshots.

First we need to get the list of mailboxes that are disabled in the Exchange Database:

Get-MailboxDatabase | Get-MailboxStatistics | Where {$_.DisconnectReason -eq "Disabled"} | fl D

The command will give a result similar to the screenshot below. The TotalItemSize property will show you the size of the mailbox. This will be used to monitor the restore progress.

To start the restore process you need to run the following command. MailboxGuid and Database can be taken from the result of the previous command. Tatget Mailbox Name is the name of the mailbox you want to restore to.

New-MailboxRestoreRequest -SourceStoreMailbox <MailboxGuid> -SourceDatabase <Database> -TargetMailbox <Target Mailbox Name> -AllowLegacyDNMismatch

To check if the restore has started, execute the command:


As you can see from the below screenshot, the information provided is not very informative. It just says that is in in progress.

This is where we will use the TotalItemSize property.

Log in to the Exchange Admin Console, EAC, and open the target mailbox properties. Click on mailbox usage and here you can view the current usage.

In this case I was restoring the first disabled mailbox which had a size of 502.1MB. I can see that the restore is at around 50%. Refreshing this view will allow you to follow the restore progress.

as you can see the process is not difficult and gets the job done very well.

If you have anything to add, feel free to leave a comment.



By Brian Farrugia

I am the author of More info can be found on the about page.

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