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Recovering deleted public folders in Exchange 2013

The change in the architecture of public folders has made it easier for Exchange end users to recover public folders that are mistakenly deleted. Public folders, within the deleted item retention period, are recoverable from their parent folder in Outlook. After the retention period they can still be recovered from a full back-up with the help of a recovery database. Recovering public folders from Outlook The easiest way to recover public folders is to do it from Outlook using the Recover Deleted Items button under the Folder tab.


The Recover Deleted Items dialog box shows all the recently deleted public folders that are within the deleted item retention period. Select the required public folders and simply click the Recover Selected Items button restore them.


The public folder, which will be restored to the primary public folder mailbox, needs to be moved to its original location—a secondary public folder mailbox—using Exchange Management Shell cmdlets. Use the following syntax for this:

New-PublicFolderMoveRequest -Folders <folder name> -TargetMailbox <target mailbox name>

Note: To recover public folders from Outlook, the user account preforming the recovery must have Owner permissions for its root folder. This can be assigned to the user from Exchange admin center.


Recovering public folders after the deleted item retention period

Deleted public folders need to be recovered from a usable backup if the deleted item retention period has been exceeded. The recovery involves the following steps:

  1. Restore the database to a Recovery database from the backup.

  2. Merge the public folder data to a new folder in the public folder mailbox.

This procedure, though it may appear simple, is quite complex as it involves restoration of database to a recovery database, creation of a new public folder, merging of content to the new folder and post-recovery verification (in addition to the possible permission issues.) Because of this, many Exchange administrators rely on third-party recovery tools like Lepide Exchange Recovery Manger to meet complex data recovery requirements.

Tail end: To check the deleted item retention period

To get the deleted item retention period, use the cmdlets in the following syntax:

Get-Mailbox –PublicFolder | FT Name,RetainDeletedItemsFor -AutoSize


Article Summary

With proper permissions assigned to them, Outlook users can recover recently deleted public folders very easily. But, after the expiry of the deleted item retention period, the recovery is not that easy. In such cases, those with limited technical knowledge may wish to make use of third-party solutions like Lepide Exchange Recovery Manager that simplify the process.

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