Recovering Mails from the deleted Mailbox in Microsoft Exchange Server


 In Microsoft exchange environment, when we delete the mailbox from Active directory, Mailbox will not purge immediately.

Based upon retention period set in exchange server, mailbox will purge accordingly.

Issue we faced:


Customer deleted the user account along with associated mailbox from the Active Directory (AD) some time back. As retention period exceeds, mailbox has been purged.

Now we need to restore exchange database to the recovery storage group and use emerge to extract mails to local pst.

Considerations before proceeding database restoration:


  1. 1. If a mailbox is not connected to an Active Directory user account, ExMerge cannot log on to the mailbox and extract data from it.


  1. Recovery Storage Group logically links the mailboxes with  the original database by the msExchOrigMDB attribute and the mailbox Guids


  1. Even though we restore the database to original store in Recovery storage group, ExMerge will not show the user.

Solution Provided:

  1. Create the user in a same OU with a mailbox to the corresponding mail store.
  2. Restore the mail database to recovery storage group.
  3. Run the ExMerge tool to recover the mails.
  4. You will get the error message shown in below.

01:07:55] Error! Cannot identify the user with the msExchMailboxGuid ZE\EF\2E\12\E3\F8E\81\CBR\C4p\92\0D\BB. The legacyExchangeDN is /O=XXXX/OU=FIRST ADMINISTRATIVE GROUP/CN=RECIPIENTS/CN=user.sham


  1. This error indicates that mailbox Guid (msExchMailboxGuid) mismatched.
  1. Take the corresponding original msExchMailboxGuid from the ExMerge log.

7.To convert the ExMerge log Guid of the  particular user to msExchMailboxGuid.

Login into website:

This helps us to convert from ExMerge log Guid to msExchMailboxGuid

  1. Once we got the correct msExchMailboxGuid, Open Adsiedit (A low level Active Directory database editor)
    1. Select the particular user and click properties. This will list all the attributes of the particular user
      1. Select Attribute msExchMailboxGuid as shown in the  figure.


  1. Copy the value we got from the Guid converter site and click OK.
  1. Now run the ExMerge tool and this will extract mails successfully.

Applies to:

  1. Microsoft Exchange Server 2003


  1. Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 /2010 /2013



Lessons Learnt:


  1. It is possible to recover mailboxes which are deleted from AD from  Original server without using standby server.