Deleting an Office 365 mailbox is possible in numerous ways. While we won’t debate why you have to do this, it’s important to mention that Office 365 offers several mailbox restoration methods. These methods go beyond Exchange Online and Azure’s native 30-day retention length.
But to go over restoring a deleted mailbox in Office 365, you will need an active Office 365 tenant, access to Office 365 admin center, and several other prerequisites. Fortunately, we will leave no stone unturned and walk you through the methods of restoring mailboxes of any Office 365 user account.
So with all that said, let’s start.
Restore Mailboxes With Exchange Online
The first method outlines restoring mailboxes with Exchange Online. Exchange Online is the go-to tool for exchanging emails, calendars, contacts, and tasks across your organization. It is the hosted version of Microsoft Exchange Server and works similarly. You can use Exchange Online to restore a soft deleted mailbox through the Exchange admin center.
Here is how to do that.
- Log in to Exchange Online Admin Center and go to “Users,” “Deleted Users;”
- You will see a list of deleted mailboxes from user accounts. Select the account you wish to restore by clicking on the “Restore” button;
- Reset the password of the restored user mailbox.
Even if restoring mailboxes from deleted users is a simple task, you must have administrator permissions for this one. If you don’t, there is no way to restore mailboxes with Exchange Online. If your Office 365 tenant has no admin permissions, contact someone with access and redo the process.
Restore Mailboxes With Azure Active Directory
Another method to restore any deleted user’s page, mailbox, or generally any deleted user is to use Azure Active Directory or Azure AD, for short.
This method is for the more code-savvy individuals who know how PowerShell works. To use Azure AD and PowerShell to restore mailboxes, you must have the MSOnline module installed on your Office365 tenant.
This method works with a soft-deleted mailbox and a hard-deleted mailbox. Here are the steps you need to take for this method to work:
- Run PowerShell to connect with the Azure AD user account;
- Run the following command line: “Get-MsolUser -ReturnDeletedUsers | Select-Object ObjectID,UserPrincipalName,isLicensed“;
- After your run the code, you will be shown the full list of deleted users. Remember that permanently deleted users will not appear on the list, as the list only shows deleted users who are available for restoration;
- Select the user you wish to restore and type in the following command: “Restore-MsolUser -ObjectId <objectid> -AutoReconcileProxyConflicts“. Take note of “<objectid>“. Instead of leaving it as it is, you will need to change this part of the code with the actual identification of the user account. Luckily, PowerShell will tell you the ObjectID of the user. So all you will need to do is copy it;
- After you run the code, PowerShell will restore the deleted user.
To ensure the deleted user is successfully restored, run the following command line: “Get-MsolUser -ObjectId <objectid>.” Again, make sure to add the relevant ObjectID.
Restore Mailboxes With Exchange Online PowerShell
Subsequently, we can use the same method to restore mailboxes with Exchange Online. However, this method only works for a soft-deleted mailbox. You can restore a deleted user by sending a “mailbox restore request” through Exchange Online.
Before you can restore mailboxes with Exchange Online, you will need to acquire the Exchange ID of the deleted user and the ID of the new mailbox to paste the contests. Since restoring a soft-deleted Exchange Online mailbox means copying the contents, acquiring these two values is necessary. Before you begin, run the following command lines:
- “Get-Mailbox -SoftDeletedMailbox <MailboxID> | Select-Object Name,ExchangeGUID”
- “Get-Mailbox <MailboxID> | Select-Object Name,ExchangeGUID”
The “Name” and “ExchangeGUID” values are the two values you need to restore a deleted mailbox with Exchange Online. Once you acquire the values, type the following command:
- New-MailboxRestoreRequest `
- -SourceMailbox <SourceExchangeGUID> `
- -TargetMailbox <TargetExchangeGUID> `
Remember to replace the “SourceExchangeGUID” and “TargetExchangeGUID” with the actual values of the deleted mailbox. As a side note, you can also inspect and search the contents of an inactive mailbox with Exchange Online. After finishing the steps, type the following command to make sure the soft-deleted mailboxes are restored.
- “Get-MailboxRestoreRequest | Get-MailboxRestoreRequestStatistics”
Restore Deleted Files With Outlook
When it comes to anything email-related with Office 365, Outlook is the app you should be using. You can restore deleted emails with Outlook from a deleted user mailbox by going over the following steps:
- Open Outlook and navigate to the “Deleted Items” folder;
- Look for a particular email, file, or attachment, and right-click to move the file back to your mailbox.
Although simple, there are a few things we have to go over. For example, any deleted Outlook items will stay in the “Deleted Items Folder” for 30 days. This is Outlook’s native retention policy, but any Exchange Online admin can set a different retention policy for any particular target mailbox.
However, if an item has been deleted from the “Deleted Items Folder,” it’s gone forever without an IMAP account. If you have an IMAP, you can navigate to the “Recoverable Items” folder. This is the folder where Outlook keeps permanently deleted items from any soft-deleted user mailbox. Outlook will default keep the files for 14 days, although an admin can increase it to 30 days.
These four methods address the “Office 365 restore deleted mailbox” issue users browse the internet for. All four methods are free and come native to your Office 365 tenant. Granted, you will need global admin access to go over these methods.