Public Folders in on-premises Exchange Server and Exchange Online plays an essential role in sharing the data with team members as well as other stakeholders. It enhances collaboration and facilitates better coordination. It was the main collaboration and data sharing feature, before the arrival of specialized tools for these functions. Many organizations still rely on public folders even after the arrival of collaborative tools like SharePoint and cloud platforms like OneDrive and Google Drive.

But last month, one of our team members accidentally deleted some public folder items from the Outlook application, and we had to brainstorm the best strategy to recover the items, including all the messages present in it. The new architecture of Exchange helped us to recover the public folder items. The retention policy keeps the deleted items for a certain period so that it is recoverable form Outlook.

Follow this simple process to recover deleted items from Outlook:

  1. Start Outlook and go to the Folder tab.
  2. Select the option ‘Recover deleted items.’ It will enlist all the recently deleted items which come under the retention period. Select the folder and click the option ‘recover selected items’ and the items will be restored to their original location.

Before you follow the steps, you should know about the permission level of the user. Here are the following things which you need to fulfill:

  • The user who is recovering the public folder should have the owner permission over the public folder.
  • You should retrieve the public folder from Outlook within the retention period.
  • If the public folder is the root folder, the user should also have the permissions from the root level.
  • If the public folder is a child folder of any other folder, then the user should have the permissions of the parent folder.

Recover Public Folder data after the retention period

If the time to recover the public folder data has surpassed the retention period, you cannot depend on the Outlook application to retrieve the public folder, but you can use the Exchange Management Shell mailbox move request. It will require the first backup file which has the related public folder mailbox, and the process is entirely similar to moving any regular mailbox.

The command is:

New-MailboxRestoreRequest –SourceDatabase “DatabaseName” –SourceStoreMailbox “MailboxNameWithPublicFolder” –TargetMailbox “DestinationMailbox” –AllowLegacyDNMismatch –IncludeFolders “FolderName”

The command will restore the public folder to the original state. But, if the size of the public folder is large and the messages are too much in the mailbox, then the process will take time to complete. Also, the process may get stuck due to various reasons. That’s why you should use professional Exchange public folder recovery solutions like Exchange Server recovery software.

An Automated Method to Recover Public Folders

Exchange Server recovery is a software for the corrupt Exchange database files. It recovers mailboxes as well as public folders the corrupt database files and save them to a live Exchange Server, public folder, or Outlook PST files. Let’s go through the process of recovering your public folder and saving the data in the PST file.

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  1. Install Exchange Server and run it. The home screen of the software shows all the options for selecting source and destination. Select Offline EDB.
  2. Choose the first option, ‘Offline EDB file.’ Click Next.
  3. Click (•••) and choose the public folder EDB file, which had deleted the public folder. Then click Next.
  4. There are two scan modes – Standard Scan and Deep Scan. Choose any one based on your requirements. Click Next.
  5. The tool has recovered the data. Click Finish.
  6. You can quickly check the content of the EDB file. The deleted items are presented in red. Choose the item and get its preview. Then click PST file as the destination.
  7. The ‘Export Mailboxes’ wizard appears and presents different options. Choose options as required. Then provide the destination folder for the PST file and click Export.
  8. The tool successfully creates and saves the data in the PST file. The message shows ‘Export process completed successfully.’
  9. The report depicts the status of the data migrated to the PST file. Click OK.


Exchange Server is an all-in-one software for Exchange data recovery and migration. It can take care of all your Exchange requirements, including public folder recovery and public folder migration. It fixes all the corruption issues and helps you with Exchange/Office 365 migrations. While using Exchange Recovery software, there are multiple options (Exchange/Office 365/PST) available for you to save your data. You can also get a complete report after recovery or migration.

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