Recover Exchange public folders through OWA

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Our work environment consists of Windows 2000 domain

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in native mode and Exchange in mixed mode. Some of our users accidentally deleted public folders that they then needed back. I used the Recover Deleted Items wizard to recover these folders (XADM: How to Recover Items That Do Not Touch the Deleted Items Folder). This has been a very useful tool; however, it doesn't always work.

I contacted Microsoft various times to report that the tool didn't work, but they never could get to the root of the problem. I did not want to create a Recover Server and jump through hoops to set one up and then restore the Exchange database to the Recover Server.

I remembered that I could recover deleted items in Outlook Web Access (OWA) for Exchange 2000 through Shortcuts -> Options in the OWA interface. I clicked on the View Items tab and then looked at the URL to see what parameters it was using. It was using something like this: (http://servername/exchange/username/Deleted%20Items/?cmd=showdeleted&btnClose=1).

I then used the syntax to try to open up the public folder where the person deleted the folder: (http://servername/public/toplevel/subfolder/?cmd=showdeleted&btnClose=1). I saw the folder that the user wanted to recover, highlighted it, clicked Recover and that was it. It didn't give me an error like I received through the Outlook client.

This is actually better than recovering it through the Outlook client, because if you recover it from the Outlook client, it adds (Recovered) to the end of the name of the folder, and also adds "Recovered" to all the e-mail addresses you have assigned to the folder. Recovering the folder through OWA does not.


Genius. Your tip just saved me hours!
—Philip T.

This was first published in October 2003

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