How to Export a Disconnected Exchange Mailbox to Outlook PST?

Sristi Rana
Sristi Rana

Updated On - June 18, 2024

Summary: A mailbox becomes disconnected when it is no longer associated with an active user account in the Exchange Server. This can happen when a user account is deleted or disabled, but the mailbox data still exists in the Exchange database. If you need to access the disconnected mailbox, you can reattach it to a user account or export it to a PST file manually, but there is a risk of loss of information. You can also use Recoveryfix for Exchange Server Recovery tool as it saves time and effort.

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An Exchange mailbox consists an Active Directory account and stores all its mailbox data in the Exchange database. The configuration of Exchange mailbox is present in Exchange attributes of Active Directory user object. there are two categories of disconnected mailboxes.

Disabled Mailboxes

When user runs Disable-mailbox or Remove mailbox cmdlets in the Exchange Management Shell, then they become disabled. The mailbox data still exists in the Exchange database but is not linked to an active user. That’s why the mailboxes are called disabled mailboxes. The critical thing to remember, when you disable the mailbox, then only the Exchange attributes are removed, but the Active Directory account is retained. When you delete a mailbox, then both Exchange attributes and the Active Directory accounts are deleted.

Note: The retention period for the disabled and deleted mailboxes is 30 days. The mailbox is kept in the Exchange database and after the expiry of the retention period, the mailbox is removed entirely.

When the mailbox is disconnected but is in the retention period, then you can perform some actions on it:

  • Reconnect the disconnected mailbox with the respective Active Directory account.
  • Reconnect the disconnected mailbox with a different user account that is mail-enabled.
  • Reconnect the disconnected mailbox with a different user’s mailbox.
  • Delete the mailbox permanently.
  • Export the disconnected mailbox data to a separate PST file as a backup.

Soft-deleted mailbox

When you move an Exchange mailbox to another database from its root database, then the mailbox is not deleted entirely from its root database, however it is switched to a soft-deleted mailbox. The soft-deleted mailbox is also kept in the Exchange database for the 30 days retention period and then deleted completely.

You can perform these three operations with a soft-deleted mailbox;

  • Restore the mailbox to the root database.
  • Delete the mailbox completely from the Exchange.
  • Export the mailbox to Outlook PST file.

Export Disconnected Mailboxes to PST

The Exchange Database preserves disconnected mailboxes until the retention period is over. But, to export them to PST, you need an attached account. Users can easily create a test account, and later on, delete it. Follow the steps mentioned below to understand the process:

  1. Create a temporary user account by using Active Directory Users.
  2. After creating the account, go to Exchange Management Console on your PC.
  3. Expand the Recipient configuration and click on Disconnected Mailbox.
  4. Find the specific mailbox that you want to recover >Right-click on the disconnected mailbox > click Connect > check the checkbox User Mailbox.
  5. Under the Existing User section, click Browse and choose the temporary user that you created recently.
  6. Enter a name for the mailbox and click Next.
  7. Now, click the Connect button to connect the mailboxes.

Once the disconnected mailbox is connected to the user, you can export it to PST with the help of Exchange Management Shell using ‘New-MailboxExportRequest’ cmdlet.

New-MailboxExportRequest -Mailbox -FilePath “location\name of pst”

After exporting the mailbox to PST, you can disconnect it and delete the temporary user account.

Limitations of Manual Method

While using this method to export mailboxes to PST, you might encounter some issues like “Couldn’t connect to the source mailbox,” etc. Due to these issues, it often becomes complicated or almost impossible to export disconnected mailboxes to PST.

So, you should always have an alternate plan in mind for exporting disconnected mailboxes to PST. Here, we have a solution for you – Recoveryfix for Exchange Server Recovery. The advantage of using this tool is that you don’t have to connect the mailbox to a user account. You can directly export it to PST or live Exchange Server from the offline EDB file.

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Recoveryfix for Exchange Server Recovery

It is an effective software specially designed to recover Exchange database from corrupt or damaged EDB files, and then export them to PST or live Exchange Server. It has many exclusive features that makes it stand out from others. Also, it works smoothly with a simple process; let’s have a look at it.

Note: Before using the software, make sure MS Outlook is installed and appropriately configured on your system.

  1. Download and install the Recoveryfix for Exchange Server on your system.
  2. Launch the tool, and a pop-up window with Add Source heading will appear on the screen. Select the Offline EDB option and click Next.
  3. Select the source type and click Next

  4. Select the EDB file that contains disconnected mailboxes and click Next.
  5. contains disconnected mailboxes and click Next

    Note: You can also find the EDB files on your system with the Search button.

  6. Select a scanning method to fix any corruption issues and click Next.
  7. scanning method to fix any corruption issues and click Next

  8. A confirmation notification will appear on the screen, click Finish to display mailboxes of the EDB file in the tool.
  9. Click Finish to display the mailboxes of EDB file in the tool

  10. Now, right-click on the root folder and select the option Export Mailboxes to PST.
  11. right-click on the root folder and select the option Export Mailboxes to PST

  12. The Export Mailboxes window will appear on the screen; it will display all the mailboxes, including the disconnected mailboxes (if the EDB file is dismounted before the expiry of the retention period). Make your selection of mailboxes/mailbox folders that you want to export to PST.
  13. Export Mailboxes window will appear on the screen

  14. If you want to apply filters to the mailboxes before migration, click the Set Filter option. The filtering window will appear on the screen; set filters and click OK.
  15. set the filters and click OK.

  16. Now, select a destination to export the Exchange disconnected mailboxes to PST, then click Export.
  17. Exchange disconnected mailboxes to PST, and then click Export

  18. The software will start exporting disconnected mailboxes to PST. Once done, a notification will appear on the screen, click OK.
  19. otification will appear on the screen, click OK

  20. Another confirmation will appear on the screen with export process summary. Click OK to end the process.
  21. Click OK to end the process

That’s how you can export disconnected Exchange mailboxes to PST from an offline EDB file.

Conclusion
Exporting disconnected mailboxes from the Exchange Server can be complicated with manual approaches. But, if there is critical data in disconnected mailboxes, then it is vital to restore that data. In this article, we have discussed how you can export disconnected mailboxes to PST with the manual method as well as with Recoveryfix for Exchange Server Recovery tool.

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