Novice here. Have had a request to restore a sent message that can not be located in the users Sent Items folder, probably because the message is 1+ years old. Running SBS 2008, Exchange 2007 and Outlook for users.

I don't know the history of the system but is it even possible to restore something like this? Would it have to be from an Exchange backup from that time-period? If so, would the backup have to be restored to a separate location and then the single message pulled from that and then copied across?

The user has the exact email address the message was sent to. And as previously mentioned, a rough time-period it would have been sent. Along with some keywords that would have been used.

I'm unsure if it's not available for him to see because of archiving, being deleted, etc. I believe archiving has not been done on his mailbox before.

Any help much appreciated.



The default retention policy period in Exchange 2007 is 14 days (as far as I can remember) - Exchange will keep items for this interval after the user has deleted it.

In order to recover items in retention, do this from Outlook (snipped from here):

  1. Open an Outlook client that has access to the mailbox that has deleted items.
  2. Select the Deleted Items folder.
  3. From the Tools menu, select Recover Deleted Items.
  4. Select the item that you want to recover, and then click Recover Selected Items.

Any older than that, you need to look into whether there's some sort of archiving in place,or you would need to restore from a backup taken before the mail was permanently deleted (so, within 14 days of the message being deleted). My bet is that you don't have backups that old lying around, most companies wouldn't anyway. The restore procedure depends on which backup software you're using.

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  • Hey thanks, yep aware of the recovering deleted items procedure. I just managed to jump on his PC for a minute and he has mail in Sent Items older than the message he's trying to recover so doesn't look like it's going to be in an archive. To me that looks as though it has been purposely deleted and then deleted from Deleted Items as well as it isn't found in there either. If it dates back 1+ year(s) that means there's no hope? No, no backups that old here. Weekly backups. Which have been failing for the past 4-5 months. I've just arrived. God help me :-/ – Logan Jan 23 '14 at 1:07
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    If the email isn't in the Sent Items folder, and it isn't in the dumpster and there's no backup from that time period then there's no way to restore/recover the email. As a first step I would suggest you get the "business" to define the retention period for both deleted emails and for your Exchange backups, as well as determining whether or not an email archive policy needs to be put in place. – joeqwerty Jan 23 '14 at 7:00
  • Ok, didn't think there was a way to get it back but thought worth a shot as I'm no expert! Default for Exchange 2007 is 14 days, what would you recommend? Would changing this have a massive impact on storage? As the server is currently running quite full. I'm in the process of writing up an email archiving policy/procedure at the moment. Would you have any info. or recommendations? Tape drive is currently getting repaired to backups are going to a NAS Box every night. I believe with the tape backups they were done nightly and rotated weekly (as in a they have a weeks worth of tapes). – Logan Jan 23 '14 at 19:50

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