Recovering Public Folders After Accidental Deletion (Part 1: Recovery Process)


This two-part blog series will outline some of the recovery options available to administrators in the event that one or more public folders are accidentally deleted from the environment. The first part will explain the options, while the second part will outline the architectural aspects of public folders that drive the options.


In older versions of Exchange, mailbox and mailbox database recovery was a long, complicated process involving backups, recovery servers, and changes to Active Directory. Successive versions of the product have introduced more and more functionality around recovery (recovery storage groups/databases, database replication, etc.), and we're now at the point where restoring a mailbox is a seemingly trivial operation, and restoring a mailbox database is almost unheard of. But mailboxes aren't the only data stored on Mailbox servers in Exchange Server 2010, and the procedure for restoring public folders and public folder databases differs greatly from the mailbox procedure.

Review of Recovery Options

The first two recovery options are detailed either in TechNet or elsewhere on the Exchange team blog site, so I'll simply list them here and then move on to the real purpose of this blog.  The recovery options for public folders and public folder databases in Exchange Server 2010 are as follows, from the easiest to the most complex:

  1. Recover deleted folders via Outlook (detailed in

Note: Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 2 fixes an issue where users were unable to use Outlook to recover deleted public folders. This is another reason to upgrade your Exchange Server 2010 systems to SP2 at the earliest opportunity.

  1. Recover deleted folders via ExFolders (
  2. Recover folders via public folder database restore.

The first option is the easiest and most obvious - if an end user accidentally deletes a folder, he or she should be able to undelete that folder using Outlook. Failing that, an administrator should be able to use ExFolders to recover that folder. But what if these options won't work in your situation? What if the end user didn't realize he or she deleted the folder, and a month has passed? Or what if your organization has changed the retention settings for deleted public folders, and essentially eliminated the dumpster?  How do you recover public folders in this case?

Review the complete blog at

Read my favorites blogs:

Designing a backup less Exchange 2010 Architecture

Step by step guide for upgrading Active Directory from Microsoft Windows 2003 to Microsoft Windows Server 2008

Microsoft Exchange 2010 CAS Array – Steps and Recommendations

Appear Offline in Microsoft Office Communicator Server 2007

Microsoft Exchange 2010 Test cases

Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 Disaster Recovery

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