PowerShell module for searching and restoring items in Recoverable Items

A recent addition to the Exchange administrator’s arsenal in Exchange Online is the ability to search and restore items located in the Recoverable Items folder of a mailbox, via Get-RecoverableItems  and Restore-RecoverableItems .  (I don’t find that it is documented yet, so I can’t link to cmdlet references.)  It is available only for Exchange Online and has other constraints, so I wrote a module that adds support for Exchange on-premises and additional features:

Module Native cmdlets
Supports Exchange Online mailboxes Yes Yes
Supports Exchange on-premises mailboxes Yes No
Supports archive mailboxes Yes No
Search in Deleted Items folder No Yes
Search in Deletions folder Yes Yes
Search in Purges folder Yes No
Search filter can use retention tag Yes No
Restore to original folder Yes Yes
Restore all item types Yes No

To avoid naming conflicts, my cmdlets are Get-MailboxRecoverableItems  and Restore-MailboxRecoverableItems .  The EXO cmdlets use native access to the store and require you to have the Mailbox Import Export role assigned to use them.  My module uses EWS and requires either full access or the impersonation right.  (Include the UseImpersonation parameter when you want to use the latter.)  If using on-premises, you can omit the Credential  parameter to use your current credentials.  If using Exchange Online (or to use explicit credentials on-premises) you need to use the Credential parameter to provide a credential object.

My cmdlets replicate the behavior of the native cmdlets as much as possible, such as the property names and format of the output:

  • SourceFolder is where the item is currently located.
  • If the item is stamped with the MAPI property that contains information about the folder it was in when it was deleted, the “short” folder ID is displayed in LastParentFolderId.  (Otherwise, it will have no value.)  This is not the complete entry ID for the folder, but is what is stored in the property, hence why I am calling it short.  (To be restored to that folder, if it still exists, requires building the complete ID, which the cmdlet will take care of.)
  • LastParentPath is where the item will be put if you restore it.  (This is why I mentioned I am replicating the behavior of the native cmdlets, because I wouldn’t have named the property that.)  This path will be the original folder if the LastParentFolderId is populated and that folder still exists, as indicated by the value of OriginalFolderExists.  Otherwise, it will be the path to the default folder of the item’s class.

Because of a bug in EWS when translating folder entry IDs in the archive mailbox, items restored from the archive mailbox will always be put in the primary mailbox’s default folder for the item’s class.  OriginalFolderExists will never have a value for items in the archive mailbox because the translation bug makes it impossible to determine if the original folder still exists.

You can’t pipe the output of Get-MailboxRecoverableItems  to Restore-RecoverableItems  (nor can you do so with the native cmdlets).  The Restore cmdlet takes the same arguments as the Get cmdlet.  You can modify the search filter for the restore based on the output of Get-MailboxRecoverableItems , including specifying an item entry ID or folder entry ID, but the Get cmdlet is essentially the same as running the Restore cmdlet with the WhatIf  parameter.

The default is to search just the Deletions folder of Recoverable Items (named, confusingly, RecoverableItems), but you can optionally specify any or all of the Purges folder, the archive mailbox’s Deletions folder, and the archive mailbox’s Purges folder.  (The cmdlet will silently skip the request to search an archive mailbox if there isn’t one, allowing you to pipe multiple mailboxes to the cmdlet without regard for whether any or all have archives.)  There are no restrictions on which parameters you use for a search filter (aka, there are no parameter sets), but using some combinations won’t be of value.  For example, providing an entry ID negates any value of also specifying a subject.

You can then run Restore-MailboxRecoverableItems  with the parameters you want to restore any or all of the matching items:

  • RestoreToFolderId is the short folder ID where the item has been placed.
  • WasRestoredToOriginalFolder will be True if the original folder was known and still exists, False is the original folder was known but no longer exists or if the original folder was not known.
  • WasRestoredSuccessfully will be True if the item was actually moved to the folder listed in ReturnedToFilePath, or False if an error occurred.
  • ReturnedToFilePath is the folder path where the item can now be found.

You can set whether to use autodiscover and, if not, the EWS URL at the top of the module.  (You can also enable SCP lookup, if using autodiscover, by setting the property on line 41.)  There are comments throughout if you want to see what is being done and why.  Download the module below:

  RecoverableItems.psm1 (26.3 KiB)

Exchange Online MFA module updated to use refresh token

One frustration of the MFA module for connecting to Exchange Online is its inability to use the refresh token it gets from Azure AD.  As a result, you can use the session for 60 minutes before you are prompted again for credentials.  This makes it very difficult to run any scripts or long-running commands without it stopping mid-run to get your username and password, just to have it happen again 60 minutes later.

This limitation has been fixed starting with version 16.00.2015.000.  If you load the module from the desktop shortcut, the updated version is installed automatically.  (If you side-load the module, you’ll want to run the shortcut so it updates and be sure your code is loading the highest version.

The other requirement is that you must use the UserPrincipalName parameter when running Connect-ExoPsSession .  It is not a required parameter (like it is for Connect-AzureAD ), so you might be used to simply running the cmdlet and entering your UPN in the authentication form.  The reason for the UPN requirement is because, if you provide it in the authentication form, the cmdlet has no reference for which user’s refresh token to present when the access token expires.  It only knows which user authenticated in the first place if you provide the cmdlet with your username and let it pass it to the authentication form.

The other benefit you get with this fix is that, unlike using PowerShell remoting with Basic authentication, the module is able to silently reconnect after the session has been broken.  I successfully tested this by connecting one afternoon, changing networks and putting my laptop in sleep mode overnight, then running a cmdlet in the existing shell the next day.  I briefly saw the modern authentication prompt, it went away, then created a new implicit remoting connection and executed the cmdlet, all without having to type a username or password.

Even if you do not have MFA requirements, you may want to consider using the module to connect to Exchange Online for this added benefit.

Find mailbox folders with recently changed content

Mailbox settings can be stored in a number of places inside a mailbox.  A number of my scripts use Exchange Web Services to manipulate these settings, usually when there isn’t another way for an admin to manage them on behalf of a user.  An example is Office 365’s app launcher, which is currently being updated to v3 for tenants.  Because the method of managing the v2 launcher doesn’t work with v3, I had to try and find where the settings are stored.  The first step in doing that is changing a setting the way a user does (in this case, OWA) and then looking for changed folders as an indication that the setting is stored somewhere in one of them.  I decided to share how I do that.

The folder property PR_LOCAL_COMMIT_TIME_MAX (0x670A) stores the last time an item in the folder has changed.  This can be used in a search filter to quickly find all folders that have changed since a specific time.  First, I define all the MAPI properties I am going to be using in a search filter or in the results:

For efficiency, you usually only want to return as many properties as you will be using in some way.  (It is easier/simpler, though, to return the first class properties, when you will be using a lot of the common properties.)  So I define a property set to return only what I need:

After creating a folder view and adding the property set to it, I need to create a search filter.  This filter gets all folders (that aren’t search folders) where the last commit time is newer than a date and time:

Next, I connect to the mailbox’s root folder because I want to search all folders in the mailbox, not just the ones the user can see, and execute a search:

I then loop through the results.  First class properties, even if you manually add them to a property set, can be referenced by the object’s property name, e.g., $folder.DisplayName, but all other properties (known as extended properties) are collectively stored in another property.  You have to attempt to retrieve a defined extended property from this collection.  To do this, you have to define a variable in which the value of the extended property will be stored.  If you don’t, you will get an error.  Then you call the TryGetPropertymethod, specifying the defined property you want and, by reference, which variable you want to put its value.  For example, such as with the last commit time:

(Using the [void]  type accelerator suppresses the output of the object that is returned, which in this case is just True or False as to whether the extended property is in the collection.  It is the same as piping the command to Out-Null .)  While having the folder name is helpful, that alone doesn’t always make it clear where that folder is.  Therefore, I also get the path to the folder.  But the property stores it as a binary value, so I convert it to a string:

I put all the folders in an object, reverse sort by the last modified date, and output it to the screen:

To make it more consumable for others, I prettied it up and put it into a script.  You can download the script or copy the code below (after expanding).

  Get-FoldersWithContentChanges.ps1 (5.6 KiB)



 

Updated script that applies retention tag to items in a default folder

Articles in the "Retention tag on default folder items" series

  1. Use EWS to apply retention policy to items in a default folder
  2. Script to set retention tag on default folder items updated to v1.1.1
  3. Default folder retention tag script updated to 1.3
  4. Updated script that applies retention tag to items in a default folder [This article]

Edit 12/1/17: The issue with the retention tag GUID not being set by Exchange Online has been resolved.  Therefore, I have removed the code that distinguishes between online and on-premises so that the GUID is always applied.

My script that adds a personal tag to items in a default folder stopped working correctly recently.  Even though it was applying a tag to matching items, the collection size was never getting smaller.  After investigating, I found that a change has been made in Exchange Online.  The property that holds the GUID of the applied tag is no longer used by Exchange Online.  This is also the property I am using to search for items to tag.  You can tell Exchange to set a value for the property, and it will respond without error, but it doesn’t actually update the property.  So my script kept getting items that had already been updated.  I suspect this has something to do with added support for labels from the Security and Compliance Center.

I have updated the script to instead filter items that do not have a retention period set.  To accommodate this distinction from how Exchange on-premises still operates, I have added the Environment parameter, which defaults to Exchange Online, so that the GUID will still be applied when run against an on-premises mailbox.  The code that handles changed result sets (where the number of items in the results changes while in the middle of processing) had a display issue where it would double the number of items processed (it didn’t affect the items, but was only a display issue); I have changed the processing loop to now retrieve all items first, then process them in one batch, rather than retrieving and processing them in 50-item batches.

  Set-DefaultFolderItemsTag.ps1 (9.4 KiB)

Delegate management module updated

The module has been updated to version 1.5.1. This version adds automatic support for localization of the Sent Items and Deleted Items folders. If the display name of those folders in the owner’s mailbox is not in English, the localized display name of the folder will be used when getting, setting, or removing delegates.

I have also added permission validation to the owner’s mailbox for the person executing a cmdlet. When using impersonation, if you don’t have permission to a mailbox Exchange responds with an error indicating as much. But if using full access, Exchange doesn’t respond with such an error, just failing on whatever request is being made. Usually when permission is the issue, the error contains “The specified object was not found in the store,” so the module checks for that error, informs you that it appears you don’t have permission, and then gracefully aborts the cmdlet.

Download the updated module and overwrite your existing copy.  If you were already using v1.5.0, keep your existing settings file so your specific settings remain.

  DelegateManagement.zip (9.2 KiB)

New form for creating travel time appointments in Outlook

Articles in the "Outlook Travel Time Appointments" series

  1. Add travel time appointments in Outlook
  2. New form for creating travel time appointments in Outlook [This article]

I still use my code to create travel time appointments in Outlook.  I updated it a little while ago, though, to streamline it.  It now uses a VBA form to ask for the travel from and travel to times in one dialog:

The travel time form now lets you create both appointments from one dialog.

This saves a little real estate in the ribbon because now you only need one button:

The custom button runs the macro for launching the form and creating the appointments.

It also saves time because you can have it create both appointments in one go.  If you don’t need the to or from appointment created, leave its field blank.  You can download the two form files below, extract them anywhere, then in the VBA editor you can click File->Import File… and select the .frm file.

  TravelTimeForm.zip (1.6 KiB)

You can copy the updated macros below and paste them into ThisOutlookSession in the VBA editor (and delete the macros from the old version).  The OpenOutlookFolder macro hasn’t changed, but is included for convenience.  The CreateTravelAppointment macro is now called CreateAppointment and the only change is that it sets the appointment’s category to Travel.  The CreateTravelToAppointment and CreateTravelFromAppointment macros are now combined into one called CreateTravelAppointment.  This is the macro you want your ribbon button to execute.