What's the best way to delete mailboxes?

A. The best way to delete mailboxes in Microsoft Exchange Server is to avoid having to do brick-level backups or having to restore an entire private Information Store (IS) from backup just to restore one item. For this method to work, first you need to implement deleted item recovery for 30 days or more. Messaging API (MAPI) users can restore anything they delete by themselves; you won't need to do it for them. You will lose items that were deleted before the recovery threshold, so be sure to set the recovery period for as long as you can.

When you need to get rid of a mailbox, don't delete it right away. Instead, follow these steps:

  1. Use the Hide from address list checkbox in the mailbox Properties dialog box to hide the mailbox from the Global Address List (GAL).
  2. Remove the mailbox's SMTP addresses so that no one can send incoming Internet mail to the mailbox you are hiding.
  3. In order for someone to still have access to the mailbox data, designate the departing user's supervisor to be the mailbox owner.
  4. Enter the termination date in the mailbox Notes field so that you can keep a record of this mailbox’s status.
After 30 days (or however long your retention period is), you can probably delete the mailbox without anyone's asking you to restore information that used to be in the mailbox.
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