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This article providers step by step instruction on how to restore individual mail items back to user mailbox in Exchange 2007, Exchange 2010 or Exchange 2013


When a user deletes items from the Deleted Items default folder by using the Delete, Shift+Delete, or Empty Deleted Items Folder actions, the items are moved to the Recoverable Items\Deletions folder. The duration that deleted items remain in this folder is based on the deleted item retention settings configured for the mailbox database or the mailbox. By default, deleted items are kept for the period of 14 days, and deleted mailboxes for 30 days. Therefore, before proceeding with mailbox database restores, verify if items can be recovered by Exchange native tools.

Here is a list of Microsoft articles, that will help you restore items if they are not purged from your mailbox database

Exchange 2007 :

How to search for deleted items in an Exchange mailbox

How can I recover items that I have "hard deleted" in Outlook?

Exchange 2010 / 2013

Perform Single Item Recovery  

Item Recovery in Exchange 2010

Single Item Recovery in Exchange Server 2010

Scenario: user deleted folder in his mailbox

Let's use for our example following scenario: 

User Billy has accidentally deleted his IMPORTANT folder, and by the time he discovered that folder is missing, item has been already purged from Recoverable Items storage container. 

Here is screenshot of his original folder

In this scenario, we deleted "IMPORTANT" folder and purge "Deleted Items"


Steps to recover

1. Determine which database hosts user mailbox

We need to find out which mailbox database hosts Billy's mailbox. If your environment uses a single mailbox for all users, skip this step.

Exchange Management Console (EMC)

Recipient Configuration - Add/Remove Columns - Add "Database" field 

here we see that Billy's mailbox resides in 2nd Mailbox

Exchange Management Shell (Poweshell)

same step can be achieved by using Poweshell

Get-MailboxStatistics -identity billy | fl



2. Create "Recovery Storage Group" in Exchange 2007 or "Recovery Database" in Exchange 2010, 2013

In this step, we need to create recovery database, which serves a purpose of temporary storage for our restored mailbox. 

(warning)  Make sure, that disk where you create recovery database, has enough free space to accommodate entire mailbox database. If you production database is 500Gb, you need same amount of space to restore a copy mailbox copy to recovery database 

Exchange 2007: Exchange Management Console (EMC)

Type the name of your Exchange server and Domain Controller server name and then click Next:

From the Tasks options, choose Manage Recovery Storage Group and then click on the Create a Recovery Storage Group:


Select the Storage Group that you want to restore from and click Next

Choose the locations for Recovery Storage Group files and proceed with creation



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