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Can I recover lost data from an Exchange Server public folder?

A user lost all the information stored in an Exchange Server public folder after an end date for a recurring appointment was extended. SearchExchange.com expert David Sengupta offers several suggestions on how to pinpoint the cause of this issue.

I have a problem with Exchange Server public folder/recurrences. My daily diary is under the Exchange Server public folder section and someone has tried to extend the end date for one of the series. All the information entered in the existing occurrences has been lost.

Can you please tell me why this happened and if there is any way I can recover that info? I have a backup tape. But since a lot has changed since this morning, I cannot simply restore the information from the tape without losing other vital data.

First off, while I don't think you want to hear this, you're probably better off recreating all the information that you lost rather than trying to recover it from backup.

Secondly, while I haven't heard of your exact scenario, I would start by checking the following:

  • Is there a chance that the other user did more than simply extend the end date for one of the recurring appointments?

  • Are there any views or security permissions at play here? Double-check that neither is simply hiding your view of the data.

  • Is Exchange Server public folder replication at play? If you have multiple replicas of the public folder in question, check which Exchange Server public folder replica the other user was connecting to versus the replica that you were connecting to; and consider tombstone intervals as a possible explanation.

  • Have these kinds of problems been reported for any other Exchange Server public folders in your environment? If so, check the application event log(s) on any affected public folder server(s) in your environment for any errors or warnings from source MS Exchange IS Public.

Do you have comments on this Ask the Expert Q&A? Let us know.

Related information from SearchExchange.com:

  • FAQ: Exchange Server public folders
  • Expert Advice: Recovering mailbox and public folder data in Exchange 2000
  • Expert Advice: Recovering a deleted public folder subfolder
  • Learning Guide: An administrator's guide to Exchange public folders
  • Reference Center: Exchange Server backup and recovery resources
  • Reference Center: Exchange Server public folder management
  • Dig Deeper on Exchange Server setup and troubleshooting

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