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We had an employee leave today and I disabled their account. For clarification I right click the user in the Exchange Management Console and clicked "Disable." I got a message that said "Disabling the mailbox will remove the Exchange properties from the Windows user object and mark the mailbox in the database for removal. Are you sure you want to disable 'Users Name'? I clicked "yes" and not 60 seconds later I was asked to just change the password temporarily.

Can I get this account back?

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This sort of thing is part of the sysadmin learning curve :-) Never trust a user when they tell you that data can be removed permanently. Also learn how to restore data and test your backups on a regular basis. – DutchUncle Feb 17 '11 at 0:53
After reading both the question and your comments to the answers posted so far I suggest you get some outside help to get you through this. Follow that up with a bit of studying (the Internet is all you need for this) and get to grips with day to day management of Exchange. It's not really too hard to learn but mistakes can be very costly and time consuming. – John Gardeniers Feb 18 '11 at 2:23
Paul Cunningham's is the real answer! Both the AD object and the mailbox are still there, just not associated with each other anymore. And just as Jason Berg said below, the disabled mailbox should show up in the disconnected mailboxes. However, a disconnected mailbox only shows up on the server hosting the database where the disconnected mailbox resides, in multi-server environments. And as stated in the comments, it can take a while for the database to update unless you run the Clean-MailboxDatabase cmdlet. – Thomas Feb 11 '14 at 21:57
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Assuming you have an AD backup, you can restore their AD information by doing an AD restore ON JUST THEIR ACCOUNT (for the love of god to not do a full AD restore). Then do an exchange restore to bring their mailbox back, again just restore their mailbox not the entire database.

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That's a bit beyond me I'm afraid, but thanks for the answer. – gtaylor85 Feb 16 '11 at 18:06
Beyond? Have you got a supplier/contractor who can do that sort of thing for you? If not, it's worth learning about... – DutchUncle Feb 17 '11 at 0:51

The Disable action on mailbox users removes their Exchange attributes and marks the mailbox for deletion in the database. It won't delete until the retention period on the database has lapsed (so it depends on how you've set that, but the default is quite generous).

In effect the mailbox has just been disconnected. Unless you manuall

You can recover the mailbox for the user object using these steps:

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It should show up in disconnected mailboxes. Just restore it from there.

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It does not show up in disconnected mailboxes. – gtaylor85 Feb 16 '11 at 18:06
The disconnected mailboxes view is empty until you connect it to a mailbox server. – Paul Cunningham Feb 17 '11 at 5:23
If you do a Clean-MailboxDatabase FooDB where FooDB is the name of the database the user was on, the mailbox should show up in Disconnected Mailboxes. Alternatively wait 24 hours and it will show up. – Brian Desmond Feb 21 '11 at 1:56

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