How to Restore Disconnected Mailbox in Exchange Server?

Summary: In this post, we have discussed different scenarios when mailboxes get disconnected in Exchange server and the possible methods to restore or connect the Exchange disconnected mailboxes.

In Exchange Server, a mailbox may disconnect due to various reasons. When an Exchange mailbox is disconnected in Exchange, 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 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.

Methods to Restore Disconnected Mailbox in Exchange Server

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, which can be extended to a maximum 30 days.

Here are a few methods to restore or reconnect disconnected mailbox in Exchange. Also, methods to restore deleted and disabled mailbox when Exchange 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 But in case a backup isn’t available or is obsolete, follow the next methods to reconnect the disconnected Exchange mailbox.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:

  • Connect-Mailbox cmdlet
  • New-MailboxRestoreRequest cmdlet

Before you begin

  • You need to have Recipients Permissions for performing the restore process.
  • Verify that the Exchange 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. The commands for reconnecting ‘user’, ‘linked’, and ‘shared’ mailboxes are as follows:

Command to connect a ‘user mailbox’

Connect-Mailbox -Identity "John" -Database RDB01 -User "John"

Here, the parameters ‘Identity’ and ‘User’ specify the disconnected mailbox in the Exchange database and Active Directory user account, respectively, to reconnect the mailbox.

Command to connect a ‘linked mailbox’

Connect-Mailbox -Identity "John" -Database RDB01 -LinkedDomainController STELLARINFODC01 -LinkedMasterAccount -Alias john

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 or recovers 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:

Get-MailboxDatabase | Get-MailboxStatistics | Where {$_.DisconnectReason -eq “Disabled”} | Format-List DisplayName, MailboxGuid, LegacyDN, Database

To reconnect and restore the Exchange mailbox, copy the MailboxGuid on the database and run following command.

New-MailboxRestoreRequest -SourceDatabase "EXDB01" -SourceStoreMailbox ed258566f7-fd75-9631-94e2-4245re393eed -TargetMailbox “Debra Garcia” -AllowLegacyDNMismatch

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
  • Choose Properties
  • 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

Get-User “<Identity>”

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 Recovery Software

You can use an Exchange repair and recovery software which makes mailbox restore process easy, especially if you need to restore or recover multiple disconnected mailboxes in Exchange Server. 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.

Rating by MVP:


Steps to restore or reconnect disconnected mailbox with the help of the software:

  • First, download Stellar Repair for Exchange Software.

exchange recovery

  • 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.
  •   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/disconnected mailboxes at your specified location.

You can import the PST file to the user account and restore or reconnect the disconnected mailbox.


The various methods explained in this post help you to restore or reconnect disconnected mailbox in Exchange server. 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 effortlessly. All you need is valid credentials of the user account and access to the user’s mailbox.

  1. Trystan September 27, 2018
  2. Roman June 27, 2018
    • Eric Simson June 29, 2018
  3. Kelton June 21, 2018
    • Eric Simson June 22, 2018
  4. Gavin July 25, 2017
    • Eric Simson July 26, 2017

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