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User purged deleted email and we want it back

Posted on 2006-07-17
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Last Modified: 2008-03-10
Hi all.

A user was fired but knew it was going to happen, so deleted their email from inbox and various folders.  I went to their PC to see if we could recover their deleted items from any of the folders, but when I did the "tools", "recover deleted items" all of the folders showed no email messages.  So I assume they were clever and they emptied the deleted items folder, then went to "tools", "recover deleted items" and highlighted all the messages and clicked the red "X" which purges the items.  I did the registry modification that allows the recover deleted items from all folders, but still there are no emails to recover using the outlook method.

We have exchange 2000 sp3 and the outlook version is 2003.

How do I get these back without restoring from tape?  I don't back up the bricks level so I would need to restore the entire exhcnage database to a new server and that would be a drag......

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Question by:mstefani
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by:mass2612
ID: 17127925
What's your deleted items retention set to in Exchange?
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Author Comment

by:mstefani
ID: 17127947
10 days and I just increased it to 30 days
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by:mass2612
ID: 17127984
Ok. So can we assume that its been 10 days since these mails were deleted? If so then I'm pretty sure you are going to need to do the restore database process but hopefully someone else knows of a 3rd party tool or another way these could be restored and I can learn something new today.
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Author Comment

by:mstefani
ID: 17127994
Hi, sorry I was not clear, The delete of the items happened last friday, 4 days ago, so they should be somewhere, right?
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by:mass2612
ID: 17128046
Mmm. Sorry I don't think I understood clearly. After re-reading your post I think you may be correct and the user may have purged the deleted items. I'm pretty sure that means there's no way to recover without a restore at least without something 3rd party. Sorry I can't be more help on this one. It seems silly to have this option available to users.

To Purge Deleted Items

1. On the Folder list, click to select the Deleted Items folder.  
2. On the Tools menu, click Recover Deleted Items.  
3. In the Recover Deleted Items window, click the item you wish to purge. If you want to purge multiple items, press and hold SHIFT and click to select contiguous items or press and hold CTRL and click to select noncontiguous items. If you want to purge the entire list, click Select All.  
4. Click the Purge Selected Items button, and then close the Recover Deleted Items window. If the menu item is not visible, move the mouse pointer over the chevrons at the end of the menu, and then click Recover Selected Items.  

*** The items are now permanently removed from the server and will not be recoverable. ***

http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=195794
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by:beechfielder
ID: 17130437
You could try this using your backup

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/824126/en-us

quote below

"You want to recover data from a single mailbox, a single database, or a group of databases that are in a single storage group. For example, you can use a Recovery Storage Group to recover items that were deleted and purged from a user's mailbox, or you can use a Recovery Storage Group to restore or to repair a copy of an alternative database while another copy of the database remains in production."
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Author Comment

by:mstefani
ID: 17134135
Hi beechfielder,

I am using exchange 2000 sp3 which does not have this function, I don't think.  And, I am just trying to restore one person's mailbox.

thanks
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by:mass2612
ID: 17134352
Yep. Exchange 2000 doesn't have RSG's.
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by:beechfielder
ID: 17136879
mstefani

I can see I didn't read the question properly. As mass2612 says it does not seem possible without third party software.

To avoid this in the future, you might try using Exmerge to back up mailboxes nightly on a user-by-user basis. I have started doing this, fast and easy and will allow you to reimport pst files.

Sorry not to have been of more help with your current situation
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Author Comment

by:mstefani
ID: 17140556
Thanks beechfielder,   Are you sure that the PST from Exmerge keeps all of the recoverable deleted items?  What about the items they "shift deleted" from the inbox?  The problem with exmerge as with the tape backups, is that the email has to be on the server when you exmerge.  If a user, and this user did it frequently throughout the day, purges their email before the exmerge or backup tape runs, we are in the same boat, no items to recover.

I wish Microsoft would let us config the server to allow recovery of deleted items by users and prevent them from being able to purge.....Anyone know anybody at MS to ask for this enhancement?
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