Recover Deleted Emails in Exchange 2003

20 pts.
Backup and Recovery
Microsoft Exchange 2003
Ok, I have a user who has Exchange 2003. The exchange properities in the storage do not delete for 180 days. The users rights however do not allow recovery after 0 days. Some people were fired and they deleted their emails within Outlook, but I am not sure if they did a hard or soft delete. I need to recover the emails from the 18th on the server. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to do that. I cannot do a restore as the IT person who got fired had deleted all the backups as well.

Software/Hardware used:
Dell Server

Answer Wiki

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God darn! It all depends on your backup strategy. If you have offsite backups you might be able to restore from the recent offsite backups. The restore is not fun I might add.

You will need to create a separate AD domain (maybe in a VLAN) matching current AD Domain, Exchange Administrative Group by installing Exchange App (MSX Server name must be same as current Server in question). Re-create all the AD domain users. Then restore EVERYONEs mailbox (the mailbox store) on the Server. Then you can reconnect to the mailbox with the username in question.

Again, do this in a separate LAN.

Good luck!


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  • Moto
    If the users did a hard delete, there is no way to recover the deleted items no matter the retention. I'm not aware of the setting you're referring to about the user rights. That contradicts the retention setting. You're just going to have to check by logging into the mailbox and then check the recover deleted items option in Outlook. Since you have no backups, I think this is your only option.
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  • Hdekken
    I think it might be possible to do a restore from outlook, if the mailboxes themselves have not yet been deleted. Look up the registersetting for DumpsterAlwaysOn and you are able to restore deleted items from ANY folder on the exchange mailbox. That is, when they have been deleted with SHFT+DEL. If they moved the mail to a pst and then deleted the pst it's a completely other story. And as for the answer of SYMUSER: why create a new domain. There is a recovery Storage Group in exchange 2003. Also exmerge would work, if you want to recover the data from the restored mailboxes. If you want I could go further into detail, but this here's the basics to keep in mind.
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