An Exchange mailbox consists of an Active Directory account and stores all its mailbox data in the Exchange database. The configuration of the Exchange mailbox is present in the Exchange attributes of the Active Directory user object.
A disconnected mailbox is such a mailbox that does not has any connection with the Active Directory user account and there are two categories of disconnected mailboxes.
When the user runs the Disable-mailbox or Remove mailbox cmdlets in the Exchange Management Shell, then they becomes disabled. Although Exchange keeps the mailbox, they remain in the disabled state. That’s why the mailboxes are called the disabled mailboxes. The key thing to remember is that 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 account is 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.
When you move an Exchange mailbox to another database from its root database, then the mailbox is not deleted completely from its root database, but 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 this three operation 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 below steps to understand the process:
- Create a temporary user account by using the Active Directory Users.
- After creating the account, go to Exchange Management Console on your PC.
- Expand the Recipient configuration and click on Disconnected Mailbox.
- Find the specific mailbox that you want to recover. Right-click on the disconnected mailbox and click Connect and check the checkbox User Mailbox.
- Under the Existing User section, click Browse and choose the temporary user that you created recently.
- Enter a name for the mailbox and click Next.
- 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.
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.
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 make 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 configured properly on your system.
- Download and install the Recoveryfix for Exchange Server on your system.
- 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.
- Select the EDB file that contains disconnected mailboxes and click Next.
- Select a scanning method to fix any corruption issues and click Next.
- A confirmation notification will appear on the screen, click Finish to display the mailboxes of EDB file in the tool.
- Now, right-click on the root folder and select the option Export Mailboxes to PST.
- 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.
- 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 the filters and click OK.
- Now, select a destination to export the Exchange disconnected mailboxes to PST, and then click Export.
- The software will start exporting disconnected mailboxes to PST. Once it is finished, a notification will appear on the screen, click OK.
- Another confirmation will appear on screen with the export process summary. Click OK to end the process.
Note: You can also find the EDB files on your system with the Search button.
That’s how you can export disconnected Exchange mailboxes to PST from an offline EDB file.
Exporting disconnected mailboxes from Exchange Server can be complicated with the manual approaches. But, if there is critical data in disconnected mailboxes, then it vital to restore that data. In this article, we discuss how you could export disconnected mailboxes to PST with the manual method as well as with Recoveryfix for Exchange Server Recovery.
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