Lost items in public folders Exchange 2007

I'm trying to pick up the pieces of a poorly deployed 2003-to-2007 migration.  This has been a not so subtle reminder that Ignorance is dangerous in this business.

Our two Exchange servers, 2003 and 2007 have been co-habitating for quite some time now.  Mailboxes have all been successfully moved, and public folder replication *seemed* to be working too, although I never actually drilled down to the various folders on the new server to confirm item counts (first mistake).  All seemed to be working as expected, until we started trying to eliminate the old 2003 server.  

As the old server was no longer doing anything but replicating public folder data, I performed a "move replicas" to the new server (probably  the second mistake), thinking this would force the new server to host the PF database.  Exchange obediently complied error free.  The contents of the old servers public folder emptied.  However, looking in Outlook these public folders are incomplete, and do not contain much of the data that existed in the old PF.  As I said, I cannot verify that the new PF had properly replicated old PF data in the first place.  Obviously what I had been seeing before was on the old server.

In short, I've lost a lot of old PF data and there doesn't seem to be a way to get it back.  I had turned off replication to the old server initially, thinking things were good after the move, but I have subsequently turned it back on and see "In Sync" status on the old server and "Both Modified" on the new.  Functionally, the old and the new Exchange servers are speaking to each other and replicating PF's again.  Still, PF data is missing, it appears, there's no longer anything left of the original server to replicate.

I have a backup of the old PF's database, not PST's (third mistake) which I could (theoretically) restore back onto the old server as a last resort I suppose.  But I find it difficult to believe those PF's are simply "gone", discarded by the "move replicas" operation.  The old PF data should not have deleted if the new server didn't have the data in my mind.  The folder structure is all there, specific data in many of the folders too, but many of the folders simply show zero items.

I'm just looking for a little direction on where to start, what I might have done wrong, but more importantly, what has happened to that data.  I can only assume it was never replicated in the first place, but if so, why didn't they stay on the old server if they couldn't move?

Any assist would be appreciated.  I'd grade my Exchange expertise at about 3 out of 10.

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Do you have any of the Windows application log??  There you would probably see a bunch of errors about pf replication.  At this point I would think that the PF are gone.  I could be wrong but since you have a backup of the pub.edb, it would be just easier to restore the public folder.  

I've done tons of exchange upgrades and found out early on that PF replication between versions doesn't work that well.  I've always had to go into AD with adsiedit and fiddle which is scary and not recommended unless absolutely necessary.  I found it easier to copy pf to a pst like you mentioned and transfer.

Also you will soon need to figure something out on what to do with PF.  Microsoft is trying to phase it out.  In Exchange 2010, PF is an option and not installed by default and who knows if it will be offered at all in the next version.  

Sorry this comment probably didn't help you out with your current solution but hopefully gave you some info.

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spectre921Author Commented:
The logs are long gone as a crisis is storage space forced me to clear them out.  I'm sure you're right though, something must have logged.  You've helped quite a bit simply by confirming my thoughts.  I'm going to go with the restore option and try again using PST.  Also, the idea that PF's are dying and we shouldn't be using them in the future strikes a chord with me.  I'll be sure not to replicate things in the next iteration of Exchange.  I've been pushing for an ECM and this will simply cement my opinion.

Thanks for the opinion.  The points are yours.

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