Exchange 2013 | Recover Primary hierarchy Public Folders

Few days ago a colleague of mine walked into the problem that they couldn’t edit the public folders or create new folders. The problem what occurred was that the Primary hierarchy user was deleted from the Active Directory. This is directly a note to everyone where this happened. Add the option prevent from active directory deletion ( under object in the AD properties.)

Little site information about the primary hierarchy mailbox.

The primary hierarchy mailbox is the one writable copy of the public folder hierarchy. The public folder hierarchy is copied to all other public folder mailboxes, but these will be read-only copies. If this mailbox is disconnected or is not accessible it will affect all the public folders access and administration. When this happens it will no longer be possible to create new public folders since the primary public folder hierarchy mailbox is unavailable.

I will describe what you need to do when it happened.  In our environment we saw the screen like below. In the steps after it will describe how to recover the Public Folders.


Step 1. When this happened and you have a backup where you can do a block level restore ( or in Veeam for Exchange) look up the database store see what the name was of the public folder name. This name is the same name as written in the Active Directory container Users.

Step 2. Look in the Exchange Command Shell for the mailbox which is disconnected.

Get-MailboxDatabase | Get-MailboxStatistics | Where { $_.DisplayName -eq “<displayname>” }| fl DisplayName,Database,DisconnectReason

Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 19.37.51

Step 3. Recreate the user (in this case PF01)  in disabled mode. (Ensure you use a password which you can remember and is compliant with the security rules of the organization.) + prevent from deletion option selected.

Step 4. When the user is created go to the Exchange 2013 ECP. > Recieptients > Mailboxes. When you are in this screen click on the … and select Connect a mailbox

Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 19.37.39

Step 5. Select the Folder which was the Primary Hierarchy and click on the icon with the envelop and arrow.

Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 19.37.28

Step 6. You will receive an informational message. The mailbox is related to the User which you created earlier in the steps. Select Yes, connect to the user account above.

Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 19.37.18

Step 7.  You will receive a warning just select okScreen Shot 2015-01-22 at 19.42.49

Step 8. Check if the public folders are returned.

Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 19.43.36Step 9. Check also the Public Folder Mailboxes.

Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 19.43.40Step 10. To avoid this issue make in the description of the user a notification so other users won’t going to delete these users.

Informational Source for this solution:

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