Ask the Expert

Recovering a deleted public folder without deleted item retention

We are running Exchange 2000 and one of our users deleted a public folder (subfolder). We didn't have public folder retention turned on (we do now), and we don't want to have to do a full restore of the Exchange server. We tried restoring it from OWA and Outlook Client, but there is nothing in the list to restore. Do you have any suggestions?

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Unfortunately, since the public folder was deleted and deleted item retention was not on at the time, it no longer exists on your server, so there is no way of getting it back from there. You'll have to get it back from backup. Your options are:

  1. Build a recovery environment, restore the entire public store from a server that contained a replica of that public folder, connect to the public folder in your recovery lab using Outlook, and then copy the contents to .PST to move to a new public folder in your production environment.

  2. Search for a third-party tool that will simplify this recovery [substantially] for you. Searching your favorite Internet search engine for "Exchange recovery public folder" should get you some options.

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

Related information from

  • Expert Advice: Recovering public folders using the PFDavAdmin utility
  • FAQ: Exchange public folders
  • Learning Center: A primer on Exchange public folders
  • FAQ: Exchange Server backup and recovery
  • Reference Center: Exchange public folder management tips and resources
  • This was first published in July 2006

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