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Microsoft Exchange Recovery

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You can opt to recovery Mailbox and single items or choose to recovery the database.

 

Single item recovery

Database recovery

Restore to an intermediate directory

In-place restore

Mailbox recovery

 

If unsure of which method to use, we have include a list of deletion and recovery items below.

 

Deletion and recovery options in Microsoft Exchange

 

For Exchange mailbox and item recovery, several scenarios are available. In the case of a complete server or database failure, Backup Manager Exchange restores or Virtual Disaster Recovery can be used. For only restoring a mailbox or some items, the Exchange Server has several built-in features.

 

To provide a reliable Exchange Server protection and quick recovery options, a combination of Backup Manager Exchange backup/restore and the Exchange built-in features can be used.

 

Since Exchange Server 2010 SP1, Microsoft has changed the architecture for item deletion and recovery. Deleted items remain in the database within the configured retention period for quick recovery. Using the Exchange Single Item Recovery option, it is also possible to recover accidentally or intentionally deleted items.

 

To understand the options for recovery, let us first explain different Exchange Server recovery locations and deletion types:

 

Term

Definition

Deleted Items folder

This visible folder contains deleted items (normal deletion). The end user can move them back by himself.

Recoverable Deletions folder

After the Deleted Items folder is emptied, items are moved to this hidden folder. This folder also contains the Shift-Deleted items. The end user can move them back by himself.

Recoverable Purges folder

Even from the Recoverable Deletion folder, a user can purge items. When the Single Item Recovery option is enabled, purged items are moved to this hidden folder.

Recoverable Versions folder

When the Single Item Recovery option is enabled, the original email will be stored in this hidden folder when a user edits it.

Recovery Database

In the case, an item is not recoverable using the previous methods, items or even a mailbox can be restored using the Recovery Database. Each Exchange database from a successful backup session can mount as Recovery Database, and restore items or mailboxes using the Microsoft tools.

 

The Recoverable folder structure is the enhanced version of the Exchange 2007 Dumpster. For Exchange 2010 and greater versions this structure is called Dumpster v2. The diagram below is a good summary of the flow for Exchange deleted items and this Recoverable Items structure.

 

Deleted items retention period

 

For the deleted item locations, described in the previous section, the default retention period differs. The Exchange Administrator can configure these retentions:

 

#

Location

Default retention

1

Deleted Items folder

Default unlimited. Using an Exchange rule or Outlook setting, it possible to configure automatic cleaning for this folder (Empty the Deleted Items folder upon exiting).

2

Recoverable Deletions folder

This retention is configured per Exchange mailbox database, the default value is 14 days. For an on-premises Exchange server, there is no maximum. For recovery, a good starting value is 30 or 60 days. With this retention, the database grows by only a few percent.

3

Recoverable Purges folder

By default, the Single Item Recovery feature is disabled for an on-premises Exchange server. For quick recovery, best practices is enabling this feature. Retention for this folder is the same as for the Recoverable Deletion folder.

4

Recoverable Versions folder

By default, the Single Item Recovery feature is disabled for an on-premises Exchange server. For quick recovery, best practices is enabling this feature. Retention for this folder the same as for the Recoverable Deletion folder.

5

Recovery Database

In case the restore of an item or mailbox is required outside the configured retention, an Exchange database in the Backup Manager retention can be mounted as an Exchange Recovery Database. The Exchange database can be mounted directly, without restore, using the Virtual Drive tool and for speed the LocalSpeedVault feature.

 

 

Conclusion

 

With the Exchange deleted items retention set to at least 30 days and the Single Item Recovery feature enabled, restore of Exchange items can be processed in most cases without the Recovery database. Database recovery is only required in case of database or server corruption, or other disaster.