Summary: In this post, we have discussed different scenarios when mailboxes get disconnected in Exchange server 2016 and the possible methods to restore the disconnected mailboxes.
In Exchange Server 2016, a mailbox may disconnect due to various reasons. When an Exchange mailbox is disconnected in Exchange 2016, the user can’t access the email account and Outlook displays error.
However, you can reconnect and restore the disconnected Exchange mailbox to an existing or a new user in the Active Directory. You may also restore the disconnected Exchange 2016 mailbox to a newly created mailbox. Further, if you want to convert your mailbox to a linked mailbox and associate it with your account that is outside the forest (in different Exchange Server), you can do that as well.
In this post, we have discussed a few methods that will help you reconnect Exchange mailbox and get back access to view disabled mailbox in Exchange 2016.
Methods to Restore Disconnected Mailbox in Exchange Server 2016
A mailbox may disconnect or get disabled due to corruption or when the admin disconnects or deletes it from the database, either accidentally or deliberately.
A disabled and disconnected mailbox remains in the database and can be reconnected to an existing or new user or a different mailbox. While a deleted mailbox is removed from the database.
However, the soft deleted mailbox can be recovered within the retention period. The retention period by default is 14 days in Exchange 2016, which can be extended to a maximum 30 days.
Here are a few methods to restore or reconnect disconnected mailbox in Exchange 2016. Also, methods to restore deleted and disabled mailbox when Exchange 2016 disconnected mailbox not showing.
Method 1: Use Windows Server Backup
If you create regular backups using Windows Server Backup (WSB), you can restore Exchange mailboxes with the help of this backup tool.
Backups help you restore and reconnect deleted mailboxes even if the retention period is expired. But in case a backup isn’t available or is obsolete, follow the next methods to reconnect the disconnected Exchange 2016 mailbox.
Method 2: Via Exchange Administrative Center (EAC)
This method helps you restore disconnected or disabled mailbox in Exchange server by reconnecting it to a user account. Open the EAC and sign in using admin credentials. Then follow these steps to reconnect and restore a disconnected or disabled user mailbox.
You can also reconnect disabled ‘linked mailboxes’ and disabled ‘shared mailboxes’ to the account of the user via EAC.
In the EAC of Exchange Server, go to Recipients > Mailboxes
Click on the More…. and then choose Connect a mailbox option
This option lists all the disconnected mailboxes in the Exchange Server
NOTE: Disconnected mailboxes include disabled mailboxes, deleted mailboxes, and soft-deleted mailboxes.
Click on the disconnected mailbox and then click on the Connect button
Click on the Yes option in the window that enquires whether you are sure about reconnecting the mailbox
This reconnects the disconnected Exchange mailbox to the corresponding user account. Once done, user can access and view the Exchange mailbox contents.
Method 3: Using Exchange Management Shell (EMS)
You may also use Exchange Management Shell or EMS to connect and restore a disabled Exchange mailbox to a user account. For this, you can use:
Before you begin
You need to have Recipients Permissions for performing the restore process.
Verify that the disconnected mailbox that you want to connect to a user account is present in the mailbox database and is not a mailbox that has been soft or permanently deleted.
(i) Reconnect Exchange Mailbox using Connect-Mailbox cmdlet
You need to specify the mailbox, database and user details to reconnect the mailbox in the Exchange 2016. The commands for reconnecting ‘user’, ‘linked’, and ‘shared’ mailboxes are as follows:
Here, the ‘Identity’, ‘LinkedMasterAccount’, and ‘Alias’ parameters specify the following:
The disconnected mailbox in the Exchange database
Active Directory user account in the account forest that you wish to reconnect the mailbox
Alias: a part of the email address
Command to connect a ‘Shared Mailbox’
Connect-Mailbox -Identity "My Shared Mailbox" -Database "Database 01" -User "My Shared Mailbox" -Alias myShared -Shared
NOTE:If the Alias parameter is not included when the Connect-Mailbox cmdlet is executed, the value specified in the ‘User’ or ‘LinkedMasterAccount’ parameter is used to create the email address Alias for the reconnected mailbox.
(ii) Using New-MailboxRestoreRequest cmdlet
This method restores disconnected mailbox by merging the data of disabled mailbox with an existing mailbox. The New-MailboxRestoreRequest cmdlet uses Mailbox Replication Service (MRS) to restore the mailbox of Exchange Server.
Now, to create a mailbox restore request, you have to use the display name, legacy distinguished name (DN), or mailbox GUID of the mailbox that has been deleted. To display the values of DisplayName, LegacyDN, and MailboxGuid properties for the deleted mailbox to be restored, you need to use the Get-MailboxStatistics cmdlet.
For instance, to return this information for all disabled, deleted, or disconnected mailboxes in your organization, you would have to run the command stated below:
Remember to replace -SourceDatabase name and MailboxGuid in -sourceStoreMailbox parameter from above command.
What This Command Does?
Above command will restore the deleted mailbox to the target mailbox ‘Debra Garcia.’ Here, the deleted mailbox that was located on the EXDB01 mailbox database is identified by the ‘-SourceStoreMailbox’ parameter. The ‘-AllowLegacyDNMismatch’ parameter is used to restore the source mailbox to a different mailbox. The mailbox should be one that does not have legacy DN value that is same.
How to Check if these Methods Worked?
To verify if a disabled mailbox is successfully connected to a user account, do the following checks:
Via Exchange Admin Center (EAC),
Sign in to EAC and click Recipients
Navigate to the page that lists the mailbox that you reconnected and click Refresh
Check if the mailbox is listed
Via Active Directory (AD),
In Active Directory Users and Computers, right-click on the username whose mailbox was disabled or disconnected
Under the General tab, check if the E-mail box contains the email address of the reconnected mailbox
Via Exchange Management Shell Command,
Run the following command to check if the mailbox is reconnected and restored
If the output displays UserMailbox value for RecipientType property, it indicates that the user account and the mailbox are connected. Further, you can run Get-Mailbox cmdlet to verify the mailbox.
Method 4: Using Exchange Repair Software
You can use an Exchange repair and recovery software which makes mailbox restore process easy, especially if you need to restore multiple disconnected mailboxes in Exchange Server 2016. Also, when the mailbox is corrupt or fails to reconnect and restore via above mentioned methods.
Stellar Repair for Exchange is an intuitive and easy-to-use Exchange Mailbox Recovery software. It can even repair a corrupt mailbox and export it to Live Exchange server or Office 365 directly. You can also,
Repair corrupt EDB files and restore the mailbox data as MS Outlook PST file
Export restored mailboxes to Live Exchange Server or Office 365
Search specific emails in the repaired EDB database file of Exchange Server
Save Exchange mailboxes data in different file formats such as PST, MSG, EML, RTF, HTML, and PDF
The software supports Exchange Server 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007, and up to 5.5.
Steps to restore disconnected mailbox with the help of the software:
First, download Stellar Repair for Exchange Software.
Run the software, select ‘EDB’ file and then click ‘Next’ button.
Now select the scan mode from ‘Select Scan Mode’ option and Click ‘OK’.
Check the preview of disconnected mailboxes.
Click ‘Save’ and select ‘PST’ file type or Live Exchange, if you want to export the mailbox directly to an existing user account on the Exchange server 2016.
If you select Live Exchange or Office 365, enter required user credentials. Otherwise browse and select a folder location to save the mailbox data in desired format.
Click ‘Next’ and ‘OK’ to save recovered mailboxes at your specified location.
You can import the PST file to the user account and restore the disconnected mailbox.
The various methods explained in this post help you to restore disconnected mailbox in Exchange server 2016. Use the first three methods when the mailbox is either deleted but still in retention period or disabled and disconnected accidently.
But if the mailbox turns out to be corrupt or fails to restore even after applying these methods, use an Exchange Repair tool such as Stellar Repair for Exchange.
The software can help you fix corrupt mailbox and exports the mailbox directly to the Exchange users’ account. Thereby, restoring the disconnected database in Exchange 2016 effortlessly. All you need is valid credentials of the user account and access to the user’s mailbox.
Eric Simson is an Email Platform Consultant and is associated with Stellar Data Recovery from last 6 years. He writes about the latest technology tips and provides custom solutions related to MS Outlook, MS Exchange Server, Office 365, and many other Email Clients & Servers.