There's a user on our exchange who moved a subfolder of his inbox into a subfolder beneath that, and now an infinitely nested folder loop has been created (see screenshot).

Screenshot of nesting loop

This is prevalent on both Outlook 2007 and on OWA so it appears to be an issue server side, however I can't think what will have caused it let alone how to resolve the issue.

I've tried to create a copy of the folders and then move the copy back to a copy of the original folder structure, however when I've done this, the 2 looping folders are subsequently empty (When originally, they were not).

As this issue is also visible via OWA, the usual local OST fixes etc don't have any effect, and I'm drawing a blank on how this would be resolved and wondered if anyone has seen anything like this before and how to fix it?

The local client is Outlook (Office 2007) running on XPSP3 and the exchange server is running Windows Server 08 and Exchange 2007.


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  • 3
    Ugly fix. Backup the mailbox, delete it off the Exchange server, create new mailbox, then restore. – Zoredache Sep 15 '11 at 8:28

NOT for the faint of heart...use MDB Viewer to delete the folder:


  1. MDB -> Open Message Store
  2. MDB -> Open Root Folder
  3. Open IPM_SUBTREE, then inbox, then finance, then budget. Select Finance. Change operation to Delete folder. Call function. Select DEL_FOLDERS and DEL_MESSAGES. Click OK

Like I said, not for the faint of heart. Know what you're doing before you totally hose the mailbox.

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  • MDB sounds like the Exchange equivalent of fsdb(8) - A large bazooka, pre-loaded and aimed squarely at your crotch... – voretaq7 Sep 15 '11 at 22:18
  • @voretaq - Thanks...now I won't be able to get to sleep tonight...can't sleep, Exchange will destroy my giblets... – Jason Berg Sep 16 '11 at 0:10
  • Won't this mean I won't be able to get the original contents of those folders back though? – Rossaluss Sep 16 '11 at 10:43
  • @Rossaluss - Unless you have good backups you should assume the data is lost anyway (now is a good time to back up this user's mail!). If the folders are truly "infinitely nested" (somehow linked back to themselves) I'm not sure what will happen - I know what would happen on a Unix filesystem, but an exchange message store is its own strange beastie... – voretaq7 Sep 16 '11 at 14:16

Delete the offending folder. Restore from backup.

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