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Disaster Recovery

How to recover Public Folders using OWA
Posted: 15 Jan 07

Occasionally, I'm tasked with recovering data for users. In nearly all cases, it rarely requires me to go to tape for the restore. Deleted Item Retention, also called the "dumpster", is usually as far as I need to go.

But with Public Folders, that's sometimes a little different.

You can typically try to restore using the Outlook client, but that brings up other problems with the restored folder having (Recovered) appended to the end of it, and the email addresses for the folders being changed.

Here, I'll show you how to recover Public Folders using nothing more than the OWA client.

Make sure you have access to the parent folder, and have the rights needed. I usually make sure I have "owner" rights.

It's in your best interest to define a "window of opportunity" for recovering data before having to go to tape:

Open ESM, and navigate to your Public Folder store. Right click on it, and choose Properties. Click on the Limits tab, and look in the DELETION SETTINGS area.

First, enter a time frame that you'd like to retain deleted PF data before it's removed from the server. I recommend somewhere between a week and a month.

Second, check the box that says DO NOT PERMANENTLY DELETE ITEMS UNTIL THE STORE HAS BEEN BACKED UP. This means that the data won't be deleted after the above time frame until the first successful backup after the end of the time frame. Close it all up.

Now, if a user deletes a Public Folder, it's OWA to the rescue. Once the Help Desk phone rings, fire up IE, and navigate to the PARENT of the deleted folder. Right click on that parent folder, and choose OPEN IN NEW...

This will open the folder in a new browser window. If you look at the URL, you'll see if ends in ?Cmd=contents. Change JUST THAT PART to ?cmd=showdeleted and whack the ENTER key. You should now be presented with a list of deleted Public Folders. Highlight the one you want to restore, and click the RESTORE button. It's that easy.

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