Exchange: How to restore a soft deleted mailbox?

If you try Connect-Mailbox command to link the mailbox to the user account, sadly you will get this error on Soft-Deleted mailbox:

Mailbox “501e70da-059f-44f5-9811-77cefdfa14fd” doesn’t exist on database “EXCHDBxx”

I know what you thinking. Me too. Why doesn’t mailbox exist on the database?   I freaking checked the mailbox is in the database. It’s right there!!. Angry smile

Migrated or moved mailboxes were goes to soft-deleted mode in the database. Since it was soft-deleted mailbox, we CANNOT connect back to a user account to restore the mailbox.  BUT we can restore the mailbox contents to another mailbox (may be temporary test mailbox). Here is how you do it.

Open PowerShell and connect to your Exchange server, Or open Exchange Admin Shell on the Exchange server.

Step 1: Create a new mailbox restore request. We are telling Exchange to Restore the Source mailbox from Source database to Target folder named “RestoreMailboxContents” on a  specified Target mailbox.

New-MailboxRestoreRequest –SourceStoreMailbox <Soft-Deleted Mailbox name or GUID> –SourceDatabase <Database Name> 
-TargetMailbox <Temporary mailbox name> -AllowLegacyDNMismatch -TargetRootFolder “RestoredMailboxContents”


New-MailboxRestoreRequest -SourceStoreMailbox “John Freaking Doe” -SourceDatabase EXCHDB09 -TargetMailbox “MyTemp Mailbox” -AllowLegacyDNMismatch -TargetRootFolder “RestoredMailboxContents”

Step 2: Start the mailbox restore request to actually restore the mailbox to the target mailbox. 

If you know the Mailbox Request identity/name, then run this on the Exchange Admin Shell.

Get-MailboxRestoreRequest -Identity “MailboxRestoreRequestName” | Resume-MailboxRestoreRequest

Otherwise run this:

Get-MailboxRestoreRequest | Resume-MailboxRestoreRequest

Step 3: Wait for the restore to complete. Run “Get-MailboxRestoreRequest” to check status of the progress.

Step 4:  Once the Restore process is completed, Delete the Restore request from the system by running this:

Get-MailboxRestoreRequest | Remove-MailboxRestoreRequest

Now open the target mailbox in Outlook (or OWA) to find your restored mailbox contents under “RestoredMailboxContents” folder. Yay! Open-mouthed smile

Did it help. Leave me a comment.

4 thoughts on “Exchange: How to restore a soft deleted mailbox?

  1. Over the years I never ran into the need to use New-MailboxRestoreRequest, just had good other backup/restore options, etc. I had this exact same problem with a mailbox that was migrated to Exchange Online. The process worked perfectly! Thanks and nice write-up.

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