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Microsoft Planning Recoverable Items Fix for Exchange Server 2016

Microsoft plans to improve the behavior of the Recoverable Items folder for Exchange Server 2016 users when it releases Cumulative Update 6 (CU6).

The Recoverable Items folder currently has a peculiar limitation in that restored items don't get put back into their original folders. Apparently, that behavior has been in place ever since the release Exchange Server 2010. In that release, Microsoft replaced its old Dumpster approach with the Recoverable Items folder approach. This switch added some indexing and discovery advantages. For instance, deleted items got moved when their associated mailboxes got moved. Nonetheless, users complained. They gave Microsoft "overwhelming feedback" about where restored items should appear.

Now, Microsoft is signaling that updating Exchange Server 2016 with the coming CU6 release will improve the Recoverable Items folder, enabling restored items to return from whence they came.

The improved system works by stamping deleted files with an ID code that's associated with their original folder location. A recovery action will then use that ID to put restored files back where they're expected.

It turns out that Microsoft has been implementing this stamping mechanism since the release of Exchange Server 2016 Cumulative Update 1 (CU1). That's good news for future CU6 users.

"This means that as soon as you install CU6, your users can recover items to their original folders!" Microsoft explained, in an Exchange team announcement this week.

However, items that got deleted before CU1 was applied to Exchange Server 2016 did not get stamped with the ID code, and so those items won't get restored back to their original folders, even with CU6 installed. In essence, the new scheme gives organizations a one-year leeway on deleted items. Microsoft first released CU1 for Exchange Server 2016 on March 15, 2016.

But before IT pros pop the champagne corks, expecting fewer file-tracking headaches with the new approach, the Exchange team's announcement clarified that there's a current client limitation to this file restoration scheme.

"The user must also use Outlook on the web to recover to the original folder; neither Outlook for Windows or Outlook for Mac support this functionality, today," the team explained.

It's also not clear when CU6 will arrive. The Exchange team indicated it will be released "soon."

Office 365 users already have the new Recoverable Items functionality. There are no plans to add it to Exchange Server 2013, according to the team, in response to a question.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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