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How to Enable and Use Single Item Recovery in Exchange 2010

One of the often overlooked features in Exchange 2010 is Single Item Recovery. The ability to recover quickly deleted items, without restoring a database from point in time backup has been present in Exchange for quite a while.

From the End-user’s perspective, you see the same graphical interface and it is easy to assume, that you are dealing with the same plain old Dumpster and Recover Deleted Items in Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Web App. Moreover, the enhanced Dumpster functionality is not enabled out of the box, and nothing in Exchange Management Console suggests about its availability.

In reality, the whole concept about the dumpster has been updated and in Exchange 2010 we get a totally redesigned Dumpster version 2 How to Enable and Use Single Item Recovery in Exchange 2010.

Now, the dumpster is not just a view, but a folder in the user’s mailbox, named Recoverable Items Folder. This means that:
-Its content is indexable by the Content Indexing Service.
-Its content is searchable – we can use Multi-Mailbox search to find items in it.
-Its content is not lost when we move a mailbox (as it used to be with previous versions of Exchange). It moves with the mailbox.
-It has its own storage quota. When items are moved into the Recoverable items Folder, their size is deducted from the mailbox size and added to the dumpster size.

The Recoverable Items Folder has three subfolders – Deletions, Purges and Versions. Only the deletions subfolder is visible to the End-user, and that’s what he sees as Recover Deleted Items in Microsoft Outlook or OWA. Out of the box (this means new Mailboxes and Mailboxes moved from previous version of Exchange) Single Item Recovery and correspondingly, the Purges and Versions folders are not enabled, which brings the classic Dumpster behavior.

In this Step-by-Step Screencast, we demonstrate how to enable, configure and use Single Item recovery in Exchange 2010. As you will see, once the Purges and Versions subfolders come into play, we get the so called Immutability in Exchange 2010:
-When the end-user purges an item, it is not removed from the mailbox but simply placed in the Purges subfolder, where it is kept for the specified by us retention period.
-When an item is modified, Copy-on-write protection takes place and a copy of the original item is placed in the Versions subfolder.
-Dumpster content (Recoverable Items Folder) is indexable and we can use Multi-mailbox search to find items based on predefined criteria.

For your convenience, we have published the text file with links and Shell commands used in the Screencast here.

Click to play 1 video
Step 1 We start with an overview of the new Recover Deleted Items (Dumpster v2) architecture and functionality. Next, we take a look at its new features from the end-user’s perspective and monitor what happens in the background with the help of Microsoft Exchange Server MAPI editor (MFCMAPI).

Click to play 2 video
Step 2 Single Item Recovery can be enabled only in Exchange management Shell. We enable Single Item Recovery for a test user, and demonstrate the enhanced functionality of Recover Deleted Items folder. With the help of MFCMAPI, we watch in real time how the Purges and Versions come into play.

Click to play 3 video
Step 3 In a real life scenario, you would need to enable Single Item Recovery for multiple users. Here we demonstrate how to bulk enable Single Item Recovery for a predefined scope of users.

Click to play 4 video
Step 4 In this step we add members to the Discovery Management Role Group and run Multi-Mailbox Search in Exchange Control Panel (ECP). Also, we discuss the changes in your CAL scheme when adding members to the Discovery Management group, and some of the limitations when running searches in ECP.

Click to play 5 video
Step 5 Finally, we demonstrate the use of Search-Mailbox cmdlet. Then we show you how to bulk set for multiple users the Deleted Items retention period and Dumpster quota.

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