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mailbox accidently deleted from EXCHANGE 2007

Posted on 2012-03-16
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Last Modified: 2012-04-15
We have a situation where an engineer went to disable a former employee and apparently hit "remove" by accident. The mailbox is no longer visible. I do not see it in disconnected mailboxes either. Is there a way to recover it? I have heard soemthings not all removd mailboxes show up in disconnected mailboxes because a shell cleanup command needs to be run. Is there any danger in running this command? If the user finally shows up in disconnected mailboxes, can he be recovered?? all advice welcome...I am not sure exactly what happened. All advice on troubleshooting what happened to the mailbox is welcome also
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Question by:Thor2923
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by:thomasdavis
ID: 37730136
Try this in shell

Connect-Mailbox -Database <Mailbox_database > -Identity <Deleted_Mailbox>
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by:Thor2923
ID: 37730282
I got the error below that the user does not exist in the database. I take it he has probably been completely removed...he is still in active directory. I am still puzzled as to what happened, but looks like it is not going to be an easy fix


[PS] C:\Documents and Settings\jblack_admin>Connect-Mailbox -Database AdminDB -i
dentity bweisburd
Connect-Mailbox : The specified mailbox "bweisburd" does not exist on database
"PTI-MBX01.PTI.local\AdminDB".
At line:1 char:16
+ Connect-Mailbox <<<<  -Database AdminDB -identity bweisburd
    + CategoryInfo          : ReadError: (bweisburd:StoreMailboxIdParameter) [
   Connect-Mailbox], MdbAdminTaskException
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : 99F6F508,Microsoft.Exchange.Management.MapiTasks
   .ConnectMailbox

[PS] C:\Documents and Settings\jblack_admin>
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by:Thor2923
ID: 37730294
If I go to receate the mailbox select "existing user" in the exchange console, his name does not pop up like an AD account that does not have a mailbox attached to it...that is telling me a trace of him must still be in exchange
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thomasdavis earned 500 total points
ID: 37730304
Looks like you'll have to recover the mailbox from the database file from the night before. Did the deletion happen today?  What version of backup software do you use?
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by:Thor2923
ID: 37730339
I have another case open on that issue...I appear to have a good backup from last night and thing lost from today can be recovered from our GFI mail archiver. I am using Backup Exec 2010. I have tried several restores and they fail with an error similar to "unable to attach to resources" "make sure select resournces exist and are online"  

I have considered just recreating the mailbox then restoring, but did not want to overwrite anything if there was hope it could be recoverd a preferable way
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by:thomasdavis
ID: 37730383
When you try to restore you created the RSG in exchange first then tried to backup using symantec to the RSG location. Do you have the option in symantec to use the vss snapshot provider?
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by:Martin81
ID: 37731069
To see the disconnected mailbox run the command in powershell get-mailboxdatabase | clean-mailboxdatabase

Disconnected mailboxes only show on the server where the mailbox was stored before it was deleted so be sure to check all exchange servers.
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by:Thor2923
ID: 37733332
It is looking more and more like we have some kind of issue with Exchange. Our engineer intended to disable a mailbox and it vanished. Today we created the same thing by disabling another mailbox and the samething happened. After about 3 seconds the mailbox just vanished. We have been assuming that an accident was made and the engineer clicked "remove" instead of "disable", but now it looks like he actually did click "disable"
How can we re enable this mailboxes? where do we we look for disabled mailboxes? what is really supposed to happend when you disable a mailbox account? All advice is welcome
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by:Martin81
ID: 37733341
Disable is equivalent to disconnect in exchange 2003. Remove removes both the mailbox  and the AD object.

To see the disconnected mailbox so you can reattach it to the ad account run the command I posted yesterday.
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by:Thor2923
ID: 37733408
I have run your command; get-mailboxdatabase | clean-mailboxdatabase

and it appears to run, but when going to reattach the mailbox to the ad account I;

1. Highlight MAILBOX in the exchange console and right click
2. select NEW MAILBOX
3. I select EXISTING USER, ADD, but do not see the existing user that I want to reattach in the drop down list..so.........
4. I go back to MAILBOX and try to create a NEW maibox with the user account name that existed before and when I get to the end, I get an error

"The Value "user@domain.local of property "UserPrincipalName" is used by anotehr receipient object

And it goes to give the domain and path and user name.....That tells me this mailbox or account does exist somewhere.....what did you mean by "reattach" is this you process you meant?
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by:Martin81
ID: 37733450
You'll see the disconnected mailboxes under recipient configuration > disconnected mailboxes. From there right click on the mailbox and choose connect, then follow the wizard. If you don't see it check your other exchange servers as you'll only see it on the exchange server the mailbox was on before if was disconnected.
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by:Martin81
ID: 37733463
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by:Thor2923
ID: 37733783
I know that is were the disconnected mailboxes are supposed to be, but that is not where they are going. The original mailbox is still missing and another one that I disabled today showed up in the disconnected mailbox several hours later.

I do not have any way of re attaching the mailbox to the AD because it does not show up in the mailboxes under recipient configuration > disconnected mailboxes and I can not recreate it because when I go through the wizard I get a message that the account already exists. It is hiding somewhere in exchange..maybe I should open up another issue and explain this from the top, I no longer think it is a case where we accidently removed a mailbox and need to restore it.....I think some disabled mailboxes are just disappearing and no going to disconnected mailboxes
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by:Martin81
ID: 37733934
Have you opened the exchange management console on all of your exchange servers and checked for disconnected mailboxes?
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by:Thor2923
ID: 37735539
yes I have...it is very unusual....I did a test yesterday but disabling another account...he did nto show up in the disconnected mailboxes. I diabled two other accounts and they did nto show up. A couple hours later the first test user I disabled did appear in disconnected mailboxes but not the other two. Today the first test user is gone and the other two test users I disabled have appeared. The orignal mailbox that I really need to recover has not reappeared yet.

Another interesting point...you explained how to reconnect a mailbox and that a wizard would guide me through the process. I have tried to reconnect 2 of the mailboxes that did reappear in disconnected mailboxes and when using the wizard and neither could find the AD account that needs to be reattached. For example, if I right click and disconnected mailbox and select connect, then in MAILBOX SETTINGS select MATCHING USER..it is blank with and can not find any names even if I search the entire forrest. If I select EXISTNIG USER, I see all the AD accounts we have with no mailboxes attached, but none of the AD accounts that we disconnected and or removed appear...I think this issue has gone beyone an accidently removal of mailbox,,,,I appeciate all input and welcome more, but I will rewrite this up and open another case. I may had a active directory issue along with exchange
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by:Martin81
ID: 37735742
Is the AD account of the user disabled? It won't show in the list of accounts you can connect the mailbox to if it is.
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