I am unable to find any contacts in my recently-built Exchange server's Global Address List. They may have been in a public folder or address list in my old server. How can I restore these contacts from my backups?
These contacts were not created as contact objects in Active Directory, or they would be in your GAL automatically. If they were in a public folder contacts folder, you'd have to create a recovery forest in which you can restore the backup that contains your public folder database. Be sure to see
Microsoft Support Article ID 273863
for important information if you'll be creating a recovery forest from scratch.
An alternative method would be to promote a domain controller in your production environment and move it to a recovery forest to serve as the basis for your Exchange recovery installation. See Microsoft Support Article ID 216498
for the steps to manually remove a domain controller from your production environment. You'll want to use a recovery forest to do the restore so you don't risk damaging your production public folder tree since you can't use the Recovery Storage Group (RSG) for public folder databases.
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