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Recovering Deleted Items Exchange 2003

Posted on 2011-03-18
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I recently took over somewhat of an Exchange environment disaster.  I now have an end-user complaining that several key folders off their inbox is missing.  They apparently didn't delete them to their knowledge.  I took a look at the Recover deleted items option and there was absolutely nothing in there.  I then took a look at the Store properties and saw that the 'keep deleted items' was set to 0 days.  Wonderful... any way to get back to those messages?  I am trying to sift through the back up files on the network to see if I can restore the Mail store and recover that way...

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Question by:mwagoner_73
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12 Comments
 
LVL 19

Expert Comment

by:suriyaehnop
ID: 35167689
Only option available is Backup since keep deleted items is set 0 days, default settings  14days
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LVL 76

Expert Comment

by:Alan Hardisty
ID: 35167690
One word - "Backups".

If the retention was set to 0 and the items are not visible anywhere - then you will need to restore the mailbox / mailstore from backup into a Recovery Storage Group and then export the folders from there.

Hopefully you have a good backup.
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Author Comment

by:mwagoner_73
ID: 35167828
That what I thought I was going to hear.  There were backups of the Exchange store but the backup files have since been deleted.  know of any good undelete software?
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LVL 17

Accepted Solution

by:
lucid8 earned 250 total points
ID: 35172852
I have had good success with WinUndelete http://www.winundelete.com/ but it will really depend on when the items were deleted and what else was written to the drive since that deletion.
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LVL 76

Expert Comment

by:Alan Hardisty
ID: 35172890
There is no undelete package that I am aware of that is going to be able to undelete mail from an Exchange database.

If you look on the client - the folders form part of the .ost file and as that hasn't been deleted - undeleting it isn't going to help.

Are you sure the folders have not been accidentally moved or are sitting in the Deleted Items on the client?

Alan
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LVL 17

Expert Comment

by:lucid8
ID: 35173099
My assumption based upon his statement of "There were backups of the Exchange store but the backup files have since been deleted" was that the databases were being backed up to disk by some means and had since been overwritten, so IF my assumption is correct, then the WinUndelete or some other product might be able to assist in recovering the backed up EDB files depending upon how long ago the delete took place and how active the disk was.
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Author Comment

by:mwagoner_73
ID: 35176103
Exactly, there were backup files of the EDB but they have since been overwritten....thanks for the ideas and suggestions.  sometimes you are just SOL...
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LVL 17

Assisted Solution

by:lucid8
lucid8 earned 250 total points
ID: 35176376
So I take it that you were unable to recover the deleted EDB files?
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LVL 76

Assisted Solution

by:Alan Hardisty
Alan Hardisty earned 250 total points
ID: 35176967
Sorry - it is not looking / sounding good.
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Author Comment

by:mwagoner_73
ID: 35180007
Correct, I was unable to recover the deleted backup files.  I used Mini-Tool's PowerDataRecovery software.   Which is a nice and very easy to use piece of software.  
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LVL 76

Assisted Solution

by:Alan Hardisty
Alan Hardisty earned 250 total points
ID: 35180285
Oh well - I think you are not going to be able to recover anything then.

Might be a good time to review your backup / backup retention policies!  At least you might be able to benefit from this experience so that you don't get bitten again : )
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LVL 17

Expert Comment

by:lucid8
ID: 35182067
Sorry to hear that you were unable to recover, but thanks for the points
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