Exchange 2016 Recipients Disconnected mailboxes

 

This tutorial is oriented towards learning about distinguished disconnected mailboxes and how to work with them.

 

  • Each respective Microsoft Exchange mailbox consists of an Active Directory user account and the mailbox data are actually stored in the Exchange mailbox database.
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  • All configuration data especially for a mailbox is stored in the Exchange attributes of the Active Directory user object. And the mailbox database includes the mail data that’s in the mailbox related with the user account. The following shown figure depicts the components of a mailbox.

 

Mailbox components

 
mailbox database with active directory user account.
 
A disconnected mailbox is a mailbox object present in the mailbox database which isn’t associated or related with an Active Directory user account.
 

There are two categories of disconnected mailboxes:

Disabled mailboxes

 

  • When a mailbox is deactivate/disabled or deleted in the Exchange Administration Center (EAC) or via using the Disable-Mailbox orRemove-Mailbox cmdlet in the Exchange Management Shell, then the Exchange retains the deleted mailbox in the mailbox database, and turn/switches the mailbox to a disabled state. This is the reason as to why mailboxes that are either disabled or deleted are known as disabled mailboxes.
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  • The main difference is that when a mailbox is disabled, the Exchange attributes are deleted or removed from the corresponding Active Directory user account, however, the user account is retained. And when you delete a mailbox, then both the Exchange attributes and the Active Directory user account is deleted.
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  • Disabled and deleted mailboxes are preserved and retained in the mailbox database till the deleted mailbox retention period get expires, that is 30 days by default. When the retention period expires, the mailbox is permanently deleted (also known as purged). In case a mailbox is removed using the Remove-Mailbox cmdlet, it’s also preserved for the duration of the retention period.

 

Important:

In case a mailbox is deleted using the Remove-Mailbox cmdlet and/or either the Permanent or StoreMailboxIdentity parameter, it is going to be immediately deleted from the mailbox database.

 

To determine the disabled mailboxes in your company, execute the following command in the Exchange Management Shell.

 

  • Get-MailboxDatabase | Get-MailboxStatistics | Where { $_.DisconnectReason -eq “Disabled” } | ft DisplayName,Database,DisconnectDate
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  • Soft-deleted mailboxes While a mailbox is moved to a distinguished mailbox database, and Exchange doesn’t completely delete the mailbox from the source mailbox database when the migration is complete. Rather, the mailbox present in the source mailbox database is switched to a soft-deleted state. And like disabled mailboxes, soft-deleted mailboxes are preserved in the source database either till the deleted mailbox retention period get expires or till the Remove-StoreMailbox cmdlet is utilized to purge the mailbox.
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  • Execute the following command to find out the soft-deleted mailboxes present in your organization.
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  • Get-MailboxDatabase | Get-MailboxStatistics | Where { $_.DisconnectReason -eq “SoftDeleted” } | ft DisplayName,Database,DisconnectDate

 

Contents

 

  •  Working with disabled mailboxes
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  • Working with disabled archive mailboxes
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  •  Working with soft-deleted mailboxes
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  • Summary of working with disconnected mailboxes
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  •  Disconnected mailbox documentation

 

Working with disabled mailboxes

 
You can conduct several operations on a disabled mailbox prior to it’s purged from the mailbox database:
 

  • Reconnect it to the very same user account.
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  • Connect it to a different user account which is not mail-enabled, that implies the user account doesn’t have a mailbox.
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  •  Restore it to a user account which has an existing mailbox. For instance, if a user whose mailbox was deleted and removed has a new mailbox, you are permitted to restore the user’s disabled mailbox to their new mailbox.
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  • Now, permanently delete it from the Exchange mailbox database.

 

Connecting or restoring a disabled mailbox

 
Here are few scenarios in which you might wish to connect or restore a disabled mailbox prior of the mailbox retention period get expires or before it gets permanently deleted:
 

  •  Disabled a mailbox and now wish to reconnect the mailbox to the very same Active Directory user account.
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  • A mailbox is deleted by using the EAC or the Remove-Mailbox cmdlet and now wish to reconnect the mailbox to a distinguished Active Directory user account.
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  • You deleted a mailbox and now wish to restore the mailbox to an existing mailbox. For instance, in case a user whose mailbox was deleted/removed has a new mailbox, you are allowed to restore the user’s disabled mailbox to their new mailbox.
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  • You wish to convert a user mailbox to a linked mailbox related with a user account which is external to the forest in which your Exchange organization is present. The resource forest scenario is an example of when you might want to relate a mailbox with an external account. In this given scenario, user objects in the Exchange forest might have mailboxes; however, the user objects are disabled for logon. You should associate a mailbox in the Exchange forest with a user account present over the external account forest.

 

There are two approaches you can reconnect or restore a disabled mailbox.

 

  • The first approach is to use the EAC or the Connect-Mailbox cmdlet for connecting a disabled mailbox to a user account.
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  • The second approach uses the New-MailboxRestoreRequest cmdlet to concatenate or merge the contents of the disabled mailbox with a present existing mailbox. This cmdlet uses the Mailbox Replication Service (MRS) to retain and restore the mailbox.

 

Permanently deleting a disabled mailbox

 

  • As stated earlier, Exchange retains disabled mailboxes present in the mailbox database depending on the deleted mailbox retention settings configured for that respective mailbox database. After the mentioned retention period, a disabled mailbox is purged from the Exchange mailbox database. You might also permanently delete a disabled mailbox and all its available message content from the mailbox database by utilizing the Remove-StoreMailbox cmdlet.
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  • After a disabled mailbox is by default automatically purged or permanently removed or deleted by an administrator, the done data loss is permanent and the mailbox can’t be recovered.

 

Working with disabled archive mailboxes

 

  • Archive mailboxes get disconnected when they’re disabled. Same way for a disabled primary mailbox, a disconnected archive mailbox might be connected by using the Connect-Mailbox cmdlet along with the Archive parameter.
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  • The primary mailbox, also the archive mailbox share the similar legacy distinguished name (DN), so you should connect the archive mailbox to the same user mailbox which it was previously connected to. You are not permitted to connect the archive mailbox for a different user mailbox.

 

You can conduct two operations on a disconnected archive mailbox:

 

Connect it to a present primary mailbox Similar to disconnected primary mailbox, a disconnected archive mailbox is also retained in the mailbox database till the deleted mailbox retention period gets expired, which is by default 30 days. At this time, you can recover the archive mailbox via reconnecting it to the same user account which it was connected to before it was disabled.

 

Please Note:

In case you disable an archive mailbox allotted for a user mailbox and then enable an archive mailbox for that respective user, that user mailbox is going to get a new archive mailbox. When you can use the Connect-Mailbox cmdlet to connect to a primary mailbox to a given user, you should use the Enable-Mailbox cmdlet to connect a disabled archive mailbox to an present existing mailbox.

 

  • Deleting permanently from the Exchange mailbox database Exchange preserves disconnected archive mailboxes depending on the deleted mailbox retention settings configured for the mailbox database. The automatic default retention period is 30 days. After the mentioned mailbox retention period, a disconnected archive mailbox is get purged from the Exchange mailbox database.
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  • Similar to a disabled primary mailbox, you are permitted to permanently delete a disabled archive mailbox at any point of time by using the Remove-StoreMailboxcmdlet.

 

Working along with soft-deleted mailboxes

 

  • A soft-deleted mailbox is get created when a mailbox is migrated from one Exchange mailbox database to any other different mailbox database. Exchange does not completely delete the mailbox from the source database after a shift in case an error occurs while moving that may cause the mailbox on the destination database to fail.
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  • You are always allowed to restore the source mailbox and try again. Exchange is going to retain the soft-deleted mailbox for the duration of the mailbox retention period.

 

You can conduct two operations on a soft-deleted mailbox:

 

  • Restore it to an presently existing mailbox.
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  •  Permanently remove it from the Exchange mailbox database.
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  • The steps for restoring and permanently deleting a soft-deleted mailbox are same to that of a disabled mailbox.
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Working with disconnected mailboxes:

 

  • The following given table summarizes the information regarding the disconnected mailboxes, inclusive of how the mailbox was disconnected, then, what happens to the respective Active Directory user account when a mailbox gets disconnected, and the choices/options and tools you have to connect or restore disconnected mailboxes.

 

How mailbox was being disabled Mention Value of DisconnectReason property

Did the Active Directory user account preserved?

Connect or restore options

Tools

The EAC: Recipients >Mailboxes > Disable
 
The Exchange Management Shell:Disable-Mailbox cmdlet

Disabled

Yes

Connect with the same user account

The EAC: Recipients >Mailboxes > Connect a Mailbox
 
The Exchange Management Shell: Connect-Mailboxcmdlet

The EAC: Recipients >Mailboxes > Delete
 
The Exchange Management Shell:Remove-Mailbox cmdlet

Disabled

No

Connect with a different user account
 
Restore a different mailbox

The EAC: Recipients >Mailboxes > Connect a Mailbox
 
The Exchange Management Shell: Connect-Mailboxcmdlet
 
Enable-Mailbox
 
The Exchange Management Shell: New-MailboxRestorecmdlet

Migrated to a different mailbox

database SoftDeleted

Yes

Connect to a

distinguished user account

database

Restore to a distinguished mailbox

The EAC: Recipients >Mailboxes > Connect a Mailbox
 
The Exchange Management Shell: Connect-Mailboxcmdlet
 
Enable-Mailbox
 
The Exchange Management Shell: New-MailboxRestorecmdlet

 

Disconnected mailbox documentation

 

  • The following table includes links to topics that is going to help you manage disconnected mailboxes. This consists of managing disconnected user mailboxes, resource mailboxes, linked mailboxes, and shared mailboxes.

 

Topic

Description

Disable or delete a mailbox

Learn how to disable or delete mailboxes.

Connect a disabled mailbox.

Learn how to connect a disabled mailbox to an existing user account.

Connect or restore a deleted mailbox

Learn how to connect a deleted mailbox to a user account or restore the contents of a deleted mailbox to an existing mailbox.

Restore a soft-deleted mailbox.

Learn how to connect a soft-deleted mailbox to a user account or restore a soft-deleted mailbox to an existing mailbox.

Manage mailbox restore requests.

Learn how to manage mailbox restore requests using the Exchange Management Shell.

Permanently delete a mailbox.

Learn how to permanently delete a mailbox.

Kristin is a content strategist at Techarex Networks. Kristin follows the B2B technology space closely and loves to write on the latest changes in technology, futuretech and fixes for day to day how to issues. Besides writing Kristin also loves music, moves and skating.

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