How to Recover Accidentally Deleted Public Folders from EDB File

Summary: The blog summarizes the importance of Public Folders and the concept of pub.edb storage, backup, and recovery. It describes the procedure to recover deleted Public Folders from Exchange EDB files by using Exchange Management Console, Exchange Admin Center (EAC), and a third-party Exchange recovery tool. The tool supports Exchange server 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007, 2003, 2000, & 5.5 editions.

In Exchange server, you may delete Public Folder via Exchange Admin Center or Exchange Management Shell by using Remove-Mailbox -PublicFolder cmdlet. In case you have deleted the Public Folder accidentally, Exchange provides a few options to recover deleted Public Folders. In this post, we’ll discuss the methods to recover and restore deleted Public Folder mailbox in Exchange by using various recovery options.

Importance of Public Folders

Public Folders are basically designed to offer organizations with effective and easier medium to collect, share, and organize business information within an organization and within workgroups. An organized hierarchical structure is taken care of, and folders can be replicated between Exchange servers. Public Folders are stored within dedicated databases, named as Public Folder databases.

Besides, a lot of other crucial information is stored within the Public Folder databases. Therefore, any sort of disaster, such as corruption or data deletion from EDB files, can put a considerable amount of data at stake. Sometimes, these files also incorporate important information associated with business monetary concerns and organizational budgets.

All You Need to Know About Public Folder Backup & Recovery

To safeguard the data stored within EDB files against various risks and threats, it is recommended that you must follow a strict backup schedule. Backup tasks may look tedious at first, but their real worth is only proved in the instance of failure. Even DBAs cannot predict the date and time when the server would encounter downtime or the Public Folders turn inaccessible. Therefore, backup is the only key to restore lost and deleted mailbox objects in case of severe corruption and server failure.

You cannot delete the Public Folder from an organization or restore it from the older version of the Public Folder database. If you attempt to restore the Public Folder from backup and try to place it back into production, the Public Folder will appear only after the replication messages are received by the server.

The hierarchy of Public Folder doesn’t include folders that are deleted from the environment. Therefore, the Target Server incorporates replicas of only those folders that do not exist (from the Exchange server perspective). As the folders are deleted from the Public Folder hierarchy, the Public Folder database will get to know about the folders that do not exist, the moment the hierarchy update is received.

How to Recover Deleted Public Folders from EDB Files?

The deleted Public Folders are stored in the Public Folder dumpster, which is located at \NON_IPM_SUBTREE\DUMPSTER_ROOT. The deleted Public Folder mailbox remains in the dumpster till the retention period is over.

You can use the Get-PublicFolder and Set-PublicFolder PowerShell cmdlets to recover deleted Public Folders from the EDB file. The steps are as follows,

Step 1: Run the following command in PowerShell to check dumpster folder for deleted Public Folder:

Get-PublicFolder \NON_IPM_SUBTREE\DUMPSTER_ROOT -Recurse |?{$_.FolderClass -ne “$null”}

You may also use the following command to check soft-deleted Public Folder mailbox:

Get-Mailbox -PublicFolder -SoftDeletedMailbox

Step 2:  Once found, use the following command to restore Public Folder:

Set-PublicFolder -Identity “Path of Public Folder” -Path “Location Where You Want to Restore Public Folder”

Use the following command to restore the soft-deleted mailbox:

Undo-SoftDeletedMailbox -PublicFolder

You may also follow these steps to restore Public Folders:

  1. Select any Public Folders server existing in the environment
  2. Use Registry Editor to set the Replication Registry Key value
    “(HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\MSExchangeIS\<servername>\Public- <GUID of Public Store>) to 0(zero)”

Note: If you could not find the DWORD key, you need to create it.

  • Use the standard restore procedure to restore the Public Folder database in place
  • Log onto a mailbox that uses restored Public Folder database as a default Public Folder store by using MS Outlook client
  • In case you don’t have a mailbox database that uses the Public Folder database as default, it is recommended either to create a new mailbox database or modify the existing database to utilize the recently restored Public Folder database
  • Click on the Folders icon available at the lower left of the navigation screen and click to expand the Public Folder’s node
  • Copy the folders you need to restore to another location. This location would be the Public Folders, existing within the hierarchy


• To restore complete hierarchy, click on Ctrl+Click keys simultaneously and then click to drag the root folder for making new copies or replicas of all the subfolders.
• The newly replicated folders will have similar names to that of original folders. However, the corresponding folder IDs differ.

  • Once all the folders are copied, ensure that the list of replica folders includes all the desired targets. You can reconfigure the list as per the preferences
  • You can now reintroduce the server into the production server environment. To reintroduce the server into the production environment, it is essential to dismount the Public Folder database, remove the Replication Registry Key, and finally remount the database
  • The moment the folder hierarchy is replicated to server, the original folders will disappear once again. The copies of all the folders will, however, be replicated to all the replication partners

Points to Remember

You may require to add mail-enabled folders back to the distribution groups as the SMTP addresses of Public Folders differ from that of original folders. It is also required to recreate the Public Folder favorites in the MS Outlook client.

If you do not have a hierarchy replication in the Exchange account, the procedure to recover deleted Public Folders will be difficult. This issue can be resolved, and you can get the missing contents back by restoring the Public Folders into an isolated environment and further replicating them to be restored.

Though the above-stated procedure helps restore deleted Public Folders back to the Exchange database, the entire process to recover deleted Public Folders in Exchange is much lengthier and complicated. Since data in the Public Folders is stored within the EDB files, the deleted Public Folders and incorporated files can be recovered and restored back with the help of a third-party mailbox Exchange recovery utility, such as Stellar Repair for Exchange.

This Mailbox Exchange Recovery utility helps recover deleted Public Folders and restores them back in PST, EML, MSG, PDF, HTML, and RTF file formats. The multiple file-formats offer extensive accessibility to the mailbox data as the emails and other components can be viewed on independent email clients and web browsers, such as MS Outlook, AppleMail, MS Outlook Express, Mozilla Thunderbird, Spicebird, Windows Live Mail, IncrediMail, Mozilla SeaMonkey, and several other email applications. The software supports Exchange server 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007, 2003, 2000, & 5.5 editions.

  1. Lachlan Lena September 12, 2018
    • Eric Simson September 13, 2018

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