Exchange mailboxes or mailbox items may get deleted accidentally. It may happen during server management and maintenance tasks when administrators try to clean up the database or mailboxes to reduce the size and conserve server storage. 

When a mailbox is deleted, it is disconnected and the Exchange server sets such deleted mailboxes to a disabled state. In addition, deleting the mailbox also deletes the associated Active Directory user account. 

However, the Exchange server retains the deleted mailbox until the retention period expires. By default, the retention period in Exchange is set to 30 days. After 30 days, the mailbox and mailbox items are permanently deleted and purged from the Exchange database. 

You can recover and restore deleted Exchange mailboxes and mailbox items using the Exchange Admin Center (EAC) or Exchange Management Shell (EMS) before the retention period expires.

In this guide, we’ll help you reconnect the deleted mailbox to a new user using the EAC and EMS and recover deleted Exchange mailbox items.

Steps to Recover Deleted Mailbox Items from Exchange Server

To recover deleted mailboxes and mailbox items from the Exchange server database, you need to fulfill the following requirements:

  • Access to Exchange Admin Center and Exchange Management Shell
  • Recipient Management and Organization Management Roles and Permissions
  • A new user account in Active Directory to connect the deleted mailbox and recover the mailbox items

Step 1: Check Deleted Mailbox Status

To recover deleted mailbox items from the Exchange server, you first need to check and ensure that the deleted mailbox still exists in the mailbox database. For this, you can use the Get-MailboxDatabase PowerShell cmdlet in EMS.

Get-MailboxDatabase | foreach {Get-MailboxStatistics -Database $} | where {$_.DisplayName -eq “<display name>”} | Format-List DisplayName,Database,DisconnectReason

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***Replace <DisplayName> with the mailbox display name.

The command will display all deleted and disabled or disconnected mailboxes with the ‘Disabled’ label. However, if the mailbox has been permanently deleted or purged after the retention period, the output won’t display any results.  

Step 2: Assign Permissions

You must assign the user ‘Recipient Provisioning Permissions’, required to manage the recipients in the Exchange server. Without permissions, you can’t perform the operations, such as connecting the disconnected or deleted mailbox to recover deleted Exchange mailbox. Check this section to know more.

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You need to assign both Organization Management and Recipient Management roles and permissions to the administrator or user account you will use to recover and restore deleted Exchange mailboxes. 

Step 3: Create New User Account

To create a new AD user account, follow these steps:

  • Open the Server Manager and click Tools > Active Directory Administrative Center.

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  • Select the Server and then click New > User.

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  • Enter the ‘Full Name’ and the ‘User UPN logon’. Enter the password and then click ‘OK.’

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  • This will create a new AD user.

Step 4: Connect the Deleted Mailbox

To connect the deleted mailbox for recovery, follow these steps:

  • In Exchange Admin Center, navigate to Recipients > Mailboxes and click more ‘…’ icon.
  • Select Connect a mailbox. It will display a list of inactive, disabled, and deleted mailboxes.

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  • Select the deleted mailbox you want to recover and then click the ‘Connect’ icon.

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  • If the user doesn’t exist in AD, it will display a prompt. Click ‘No, I want to connect to a different user account.

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  • Select ‘User mailbox’ and click ‘Next.

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  • Click ‘Browse’ to select the new AD user you created and click ‘OK.

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  • Click ‘Finish’.

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  • Click ‘Refresh’ to check the recovered mailbox display name.

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If the mailbox name is listed, the deleted mailbox is successfully restored and recovered. You can also check this via Active Directory and Computers > Properties > General > Email box.

Or you may execute the following command in EMS to verify the recovered mailbox.

Get-User <identity>

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You may also use the Exchange Management Shell to recover deleted Exchange mailbox and mailbox items. However, you should use it if you are familiar with the EMS or when you can’t restore the deleted mailbox by using the EAC. The command to reconnect the deleted mailbox to a new user is as follows:

Connect-Mailbox -Identity “mailbox name” -Database -User “AD user account name” -Alias

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You need to repeat these steps if you need to restore multiple mailboxes, which can take a while.

A more preferred, easier, and convenient way to recover deleted Exchange mailboxes is to use third-party software, such as Stellar Repair for Exchange. The Exchange server recovery software helps you scan Exchange database files and restore accidentally deleted mailboxes to a different user account. 

Unlike the manual method, the software provides an option to create a new user mailbox. After that, all you need to do is map the deleted mailbox to the new mailbox and click ‘Export’ to recover deleted mailbox and mailbox items.

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The software restores the deleted mailboxes and items to the mapped mailboxes. Thus, you don’t need to create a user account in Active Directory or assign permissions. Also, the software can recover and export multiple deleted mailboxes simultaneously. 


Accidental deletion is quite common and usually happens during maintenance tasks. When a mailbox is deleted in the Exchange server, the server keeps the mailbox in a disabled state until the retention period is over. Then the mailbox is purged and deleted permanently from the database.

In this guide, we helped you recover deleted Exchange mailbox by using the Exchange tools, such as Exchange Management Shell (EMS) and Exchange Admin Center (EAC). We also mentioned a third-party software that can help you recover deleted mailboxes from the Exchange server in a few clicks. The software can recover multiple deleted mailboxes at once and without going through all the hassle of creating a new user account, assigning permissions, and working with EMS. The software automates and simplifies the entire deleted Exchange mailbox recovery process.

Also Read: Outlook Repair Tool for Microsoft 365