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Disabled or removed mailbox in Exchange 2007 can not be reconnected or accessed

Posted on 2012-03-18
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Last Modified: 2012-04-15
I have made other posts on this issue, but so much has changed I am going to rewrite it and try to start over

1. an engineer went to our Exchange 2007 console and intended to right click and disable a mailbox

2. The mailbox vanished when he did this so he assumed had had accidently selected REMOVE.

3. He checked DISCONNECTED MAILBOXES and it did not appear there so we attempted to recover the mailbox from a BACKUP EXEC 2010 backup, but the recovery failed due to "unable to attach to a resource"

4. We tried to rebuild the mailbox but it would not let us. If we went to create a new mailbox and selected EXISTING USER the name of the mailbox we need did not appear. If we try to create the mailbox with the NEW USER option, it gives us an error saying that it already exists.

5. As a test we disabled another mailbox and it also vanished and did not appear immediatly DISCONNECTED MAILBOXES either. The we disabled two other test mailboxes with the same results and nothing appeared in DISCONNECTED MAILBOXES

6. Several hours later the first test mailbox did appear but when I tried to reconnect it, I could not. I selected CONNECT and was going through the wizard, but when selecting MATCHING USER, the next field is empty, even though I verified I am searching the entire forrest, If we select EXISTING USER all our AD accounts with no mailboxes appear, but none of accounts we disabled or removed are there.....I do not see a way to actually reconnect it

7. The next day the one test account that was in DISCONECTED MAILBOXES vanished again but  the other two test mailboxes are now displayed, but I can not reconnect them.

I have tried rebooting the server and that did not change anything

I tried "get-mailboxdatabase | clean-mailboxdatabase"

and that has not helped either....I am starting to wonder if this has something to do with AD

we are running Forrest and Domain level 2008r2 but at the time these mailboxes were created, I believe we were on 2003 or lower

All advice welcome...thanks
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Question by:Thor2923
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Expert Comment

by:Navdeep
ID: 37736022
Hi,

can you post a screenshot for step 6? You would only see those users which don't have mailbox while attaching a disconnected mailbox.

Regards,
Navdeep
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Expert Comment

by:Suraj
ID: 37736379
Looks like a replication issue. did you try to force the replication among DC and check?
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Assisted Solution

by:Hendrik Wiese
Hendrik Wiese earned 250 total points
ID: 37736867
How may mailbox servers have you got, try running get-mailboxdatabase | clean-mailboxdatabase again and connect to each individual mailbox server to check if the missing mailbox is not located in the disconnected mailboxes now?
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Accepted Solution

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jennylembert earned 250 total points
ID: 37737010
The user account is probably still in Active Directory but once the mailbox is removed, it is no longer associated with that account. I found a post on how to recover disabled mailboxes in Exchange 2007. Have a look and see if this helps.

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa997210(v=exchg.80).aspx
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Author Comment

by:Thor2923
ID: 37737429
THANKS for all your input this morning. I will begin researching ASAP. It looks like I have several Exchange experts here though so let me ask these questions;
1. What would happen in a healthy Exchange 2007 environment if a malbox was right clicked and disconnected from the Exchange console? (I am assuming it would show up under disconnected mailboxes)

2. What would happen in a healthy Exchange 2007 environment if a mailbox was right clicked and removed? Would it just vanish? Is it recoverable?
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Expert Comment

by:Hendrik Wiese
ID: 37737495
Answers to your questions are as follow:

1. After disconnecting or disabling a mailbox it will only appear on the disconnected mailboxes on the server that the database was mounted on at the time of deletion.
2. When clicking remove the user objects in AD and Exchange gets removed in other words it deletes the user in ad as well.

Since the mailbox database cleanup only runs ones a day, you would have to run get-mailboxdatabase | clean-mailboxdatabase on the server that the mailbox was disconnected or removed from to view the mailbox under disconnected mailboxes.

Hope this helps!!
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Author Comment

by:Thor2923
ID: 37738389
ahh so you are saying if someone had right clicked a mailbox and selected "remove" the AD account would physically be deleted? If that is true, that is a bit of a relief. The user account is still in AD so apparently someone did not accidently hit "remove".

Today I looked in disconnected mailboxes and it is completely empty. The original mailbox is not there and the 3 test mailboxes I disabled are no longer there either. I am thinking more and more this is an issue with exchange and possibly AD. Exchange is not acting like it would in a healthy environment
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