Ask the Expert

Exchange public folder error: 'You do not have permission to recover this item.'

How can I recover a public folder from Exchange 2000? When I try to recover the public folder, it returns "You do not have permission to recover this item. See administrator." Is this an Exchange Server configuration issue?

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This is a pretty common error. One thing to look into is what permissions were set on the public folders nested inside of the folder you are trying to recover. From what I understand, you need rights for the public folder that you are trying to recover and all nested public folders beneath that Exchange public folder.

For example, if you had the following Exchange public folder hierarchy:

Top Level Public Folder #1
 L Public Folder A
    L Public Folder B
        L Public Folder C

Let's assume you had permissions on Public Folder A and Public Folder B, but no permissions on Public Folder C, and Public Folder A was deleted. In this scenario, attempting to recover Public Folder A by viewing the dumpster contents -- while highlighting Top Level Public Folder #1 -- will fail with the message you refer to, since you don't have rights on Public Folder C. I suspect this is what you're seeing, in which case you will need to resort to backup.

Alternatively there are third-party tools that can assist you with recovering public folders from backup. Search your favorite Internet search engine for something like "recover public folders."

Finally, you could also try the PFDAVADMIN tool. You can learn more about PFDAVADMIN here. A new version was released on Oct. 2, 2005.

Do you have comments on this Ask the Expert Q&A? Let us know.

Related information from

  • FAQ: Exchange public folders
  • 10 tips in 10 minutes: Fundamentals of Exchange Server disaster recovery
  • Tip: Faster Exchange Server recovery with the Dial Tone Method
  • FAQ: Exchange Server backup and recovery
  • Reference Center: Permissions and authentication advice
  • Reference Center: Public folder management tips and resources
  • This was first published in April 2006

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