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Excahnge and activesync and 3rd party devices (Oh my!)

By Gene Laisne

Some good infromation on using Exchange with Outlook and 3rd party devices…




Searching Exchange mailbox

By Gene Laisne


Found this great blog post from Microsoft about searching Exchange mailboxes and how to make it easier. It goes over the many different ways you can seach and how to make your searches better using commands. The root blog is more of a blog of blogs (Making this post a blog of a blog of a blog--Helpful right?). I HIGLY recomend reading #3 ""Zoo Closed, Cobra Missing": Did they try Outlook Instant Search?" which includes a link here to Outlook search commands.




I’ve lost my (e-mail/appointments/contacts)

By Gene Laisne

Outlook/Exchange Support

“I’ve lost my (e-mail | appointments | contacts)”

 This document covers:
                Outlook 2003, 2007, 2010
                Exchange 2007

How Exchange works with deleted items.


When a user deletes an item it goes into the “Deleted Items” folder or the “Dumpster” depending on how it is deleted. Items in the Deleted Items folder will stay until the user empties their deleted items, at which point it goes into the “Dumpster.” Here it will sit for 14 days (a server-side configuration) until it is finally removed completely from the system.

Two types of delete

Soft delete

A soft delete is when the user deletes the e-mail and it goes into the deleted items folder. It’s a “Soft Delete” when the user right clicks the item and chooses delete, hits the ‘X’ in the toolbar, hits control + d or chooses Edit -> delete. Think of any regular delete.

When a user “Soft deletes” an item it will go into the Deleted Items folder.

Hard delete

This is the “Shift + delete” option where an item is considered “permanently” deleted. If this is a user action, and the default settings haven’t been changed, they will usually be prompted to confirm the delete.

When a user “Hard deletes” an item it will go into the dumpster at the location where it was deleted. I’ll explain that in a second.

Retrieving items that have been deleted

Deleted Items

Very simple…

  1. Open Deleted Items
  2. Click and drag the message you want to the folder you want to keep it in.


Slightly more difficult. The first thing you need to do is identify where the message was. If it was soft deleted and then the Deleted Items folder was emptied, it will be in the Deleted Items’ dumpster. If the message was hard deleted in the Inbox, it will be in the Inbox dumpster.

To recover the item from the dumpster highlight the folder where the item was deleted from and go to Tools -> Recover deleted Items… Select the item you want to recover and click on the little recover item button on the top. You should then see it in its original folder.

Configuration settings that may define how things are deleted.


See if there are rules that have actions like “delete it” (move it to the Deleted Items folder) and “permanently delete it” (put it in the dumpster).

Emptying Deleted Items on close

Under Tools -> Options -> Other (tab) -> General (section), Outlook could be configured to “Empty the Deleted Items folder upon exiting.”

If you click the Advanced Options (in the same section) you could check if “Warn before permanently deleting items” is unchecked. The default setting is to have this checked.


Items may be archived to a .pst file. Pst files are local (database) files that store Outlook information (e-mail, calendars, contacts…). Generally there is one called Archive.pst and usually you can see it mounted in the Navigation Pane as “Archive Folders.” Archiving is set at two levels, at the Outlook level, and at the folder level. Look at Tools -> Options -> Other (tab) -> AutoArchive (section) -> AutoArchive… (button) for the Outlook level configuration and the AutoArchive tab on an item’s properties page for the folder level archiving configuration.


What about calendar items and contacts?

These Items are no different. Click on the calendar entry under My Calendars in the Navigation Pane and go to Tools -> Recover deleted items to recover these items. Do the same to the contacts.


Why is there a dumpster?

Just like giving users the ability to restore a previous version of a file, Microsoft wants to give end-users the ability to recover their own stuff.

Take home message

The thing to remember here is the timeline. When a message comes in, it can sit in the inbox forever. Once it is (soft) deleted it will go into the Deleted Items folder forever. Once the item goes into the Dumpster, it will only be there for 14 days. That 14 day parameter is a server side configuration and is consistent across all Exchange servers. Once it is gone from the Dumpster the only way to get it back is to restore it from tape. EXCHANGE BACKUPS ARE ONLY STORED FOR 30 DAYS! So, 44 days after an item has entered the dumpster it cannot be retrieved. There is no turning back once the 44 days are up.

How do I request a restore?

Create a ticket in OneHelp and assign it to IS&T: Windows Systems Group.

Here is what you MUST have in the ticket:

  • Username of the person who lost the item
  • A specific date where it is known the item existed

Failure to have these items only slows things down. If it takes a day to restore, but it’s the wrong date, the clock is ticking on that 30 day retention.


Microsoft Outlook help:

Recover deleted items in Outlook 2000/2002/2003:

Recover deleted items in Outlook 2007: