How to Recover Accidentally Deleted Public Folders from EDB File

Summary: The blog summarizes the importance of public folders as well as the concept of pub.edb storage, backup, and recovery. It describes the procedure to recover accidentally deleted public folders from EDB files using Exchange Management Console and restore them back to their functional mode.

Mailbox recovery is considered as the prime job of Exchange database administrators. In previous versions of the application, mailbox database recovery was a complicated procedure that involves a number of sub-tasks such as backups, modifications to Active Directory and Recovery Servers. With advancement in Server architecture and environment, recovery has become more straightforward as more functionality has been introduced including database replication, recovery storage groups, etc.

With this, it would be true to say that mailbox restore has become quite an insignificant operation and database restore doesn’t even exist. In Exchange 2010, Mailbox Servers are not limited to mailboxes only. The overall procedure to recover public folders database as well as restore public folders differs greatly from that of the procedure to restore mailboxes.

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 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. Likewise other data components, Data is stored within EDB files in Public Folders.

A lot of 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 considerable amount of data on stake. Sometimes, these file also incorporate important information associated with business monetary concerns and organizational budgets.

All You Need to Know About Public Folder Backup & Recovery

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

You cannot either delete the public folder from organization or restore it from 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 folders will appear only until the replication messages are received by the Server.

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

How to Recover Accidentally Deleted Public Folders from EDB Files?

If the user tries to restore deleted folders from a backup, the folders will get erased again as they are not actually available. To recover accidentally deleted public folders from EDB file, follow the steps below:

1. Select any public folders Servers existing in the environment
2. Using Registry Editor, 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 will need to create it.

3. Using the normal restore procedure, try to restore the public folder database in place
4. Log onto a mailbox that uses restored public folder database as a default public folder store by using MS Outlook client
5. 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
6. Click on the Folders icon available at lower left of the navigation screen and click to expand the public folders node
7. 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 differs.

8. Once all the folders are copied, ensure that the list of replica folders includes all the desired targets. You can reconfigure the list as required as per preferences
9. You can now reintroduce the Server into the production Server environment at this instance of time. In order 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
10. 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

You may require adding mail-enabled folders back to the distribution groups as the SMTP addresses of public folders differs from that of original folders. It is also required to recreate the public folder favorites in MS Outlook client.

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

Even though the above stated procedure helps restore deleted folders back to the Exchange database but the entire process is too much lengthier and complicated as well. Since, data in the Public Folders are stored within the EDB files, the deleted folders and incorporated files can be recovered and restored back with the help of Stellar Repair for Exchange utility.

Mailbox Exchange Recovery helps recover deleted folders and restores them back in PST, EML, MSG, PDF, HTML, and RTF file format. The multiple file formats offer extensive accessibility to the mailbox data as the emails and other components can be viewed on independent email clients.

The user no more requires connecting to the Server environment as the data incorporated in the public folders or EDB files can be accessed on web based as well as desktop based email clients such as MS Outlook, AppleMail, MS Outlook Express, Mozilla Thunderbird, Spicebird, Windows Live Mail, IncrediMail, Mozilla SeaMonkey, and several other email applications.

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

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