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My MD had a clear out of her mailbox (anything from september 2011 back to 2005 was deleted!) she is now majorly regretting this as there was contracts etc etc in there.

Now I have looked in OWA but the deleted items are all gone, what gives me a glimmer of home is that in exchange I am still seeing 40K items under her AD account not 2.5K.

Is there any way to get these messages back through Exchange as it is still showing all messages as stored?

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Have you any backups? – jscott Oct 3 '11 at 12:23
Perhaps show her how to Archive things too – Joe Taylor Oct 3 '11 at 12:27
@jscott - Only if Exchange does them - i've taken over from another admin. We have tape backups but they only go back a week - this was done about 2 months ago now. Surely they must still exist if Exchange shows 40K items in mailbox with the correct file size? – Myles Gray Oct 3 '11 at 12:29
up vote 5 down vote accepted

If she hasn't purged the items in the "recover deleted items" folder, you can still get them back there. You can get to that by (in outlook 2003) right clicking the deleted items folder in her mailbox and selecting "Recover Deleted Items...". Although, I believe for this to work with Hard-Deleted items, you would have had to previously enabled Recover Deleted Items functionality for all folders (registry edit).

If she has cleared out the messages from the Recover Deleted Items folder, then you'll need to restore from a backup.

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Does Exchange perform backups as standard? As I say I am taking over from another admin so I have no idea how this was all set up as yet - I am assuming as Exchange shows 40K items they are still there? – Myles Gray Oct 3 '11 at 12:43
No, Exchange does not back itself up. – HostBits Oct 3 '11 at 13:04
I have read about Recovery Storage Group that can supposedly restore mailboxes back to stock? – Myles Gray Oct 3 '11 at 13:06
Correct... If you have a backup to restore from. It sounds like you inherited a system you do not know much about. I'd suggest doing a good deal of research on how exchange works. – HostBits Oct 3 '11 at 13:19

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