Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Recovering Public Folder Items Easily in Exchange Server 2003

I occasionally get requests from clients and colleagues asking me to recover Public Folder items from Exchange Server 2003.

Thankfully for me I performed the ultimate fubar while performing a test migration from NT4.0 + Exchange 5.5 to SBS 2003 Premium back when SBS 2003 first came out. That's right, I managed to blow away the majority of the Public Folder store in one fell swoop, simply because I wasn't following my own instructions properly and wasn't used to the new Exchange System Manager interface.

Thankfully, I had just been getting familiar with the new capabilities of Outlook Web Access and had used the Recover Deleted Items feature to get familiar with it and to be able to instruct clients on how to use it.

I didn't really want to have to spend the time re-copying the Public Folder store from the Exchange 5.5 install, so I looked for the Public Folder equivalent of the Recover Deleted Items feature for the mailbox. It appeared to be missing. Or was it?

I had noticed that the Recover Deleted Items window had essentially opened the Deleted Items folder in the mailbox and had set a URL variable. The variable and its setting was:

cmd=showdeleted

Being the lazy kind of guy I am - as well as being inquisitive - I thought I would give some link hacking a try. I opened up the Public Folders link, navigated to the parent folder of the folder I deleted, right-clicked on the parent folder and selected Open in new... This opened the folder in a new window. The URL of this folder was of the form:

https://server/public/Public%20Folder/?Cmd=contents

I then replaced contents with showdeleted. The URL then looked like:

https://server/public/Public%20Folder/?Cmd=showdeleted

Ta da! The folder I trashed was now visible and capable of being recovered, which saved me additional copying time. Sometimes screwing up a test environment is a great way to learn a new, lazy technique :-)

2 comments:

pdraganov said...

What is wrong if deleted e-mails does not appear after deleting although Keep deleted items is set to 60 days

Chris Knight said...

Some possibilities are:

- wrong URL specified; right-click on folder then select Open in new... then modify URL
- no messages have been deleted
- current user has no permissions to access the deleted messages
- deleted messages are in a subfolder; need to specify subfolder in URL