During a recent Exchange migration my client had some issues with users on their Exchange 2010 servers. In order to fix these issues properly, it was decided to move the users back to their original Exchange 2003 server and disable the Personal Archive that resided on Exchange 2010. In order to reuse these Personal Archives, we needed to complete all remediation and testing within 30 days of disabling the archive mailbox. The 30 days is the default retention period for a disabled Personal Archive. This time period can be increased or decreased based off your needs with this PowerShell command:
Set-MailboxDatabase -Identity <personal archive database> -MailboxRetention <# of days>
Once the client completed the remediation and testing we moved the original pilot users back to their Exchange 2010 servers. To re-attach the Personal Archive we needed to go to the Disconnected Mailboxes in the EMC under Recipient Configuration. If you do not see any of the disconnected Personal Archive mailboxes, you will need to do a database cleanup process:
clean-mailboxdatabase <personal archive database>
After the disconnected mailboxes are visible, you can reconnect them by right clicking on the mailbox and selecting ‘Connect to Primary Mailbox’. You will then get a prompt to verify the user it wants to connect the mailbox to. If this matches, then click yes. Once AD replication completes, you old Personal Archive is now accessible to the mailbox.
As always, test this method out on a test mailbox before proceeding into production. We did our testing to validate this before we moved any mailboxes back to the legacy Exchange 2003 servers.
*** UPDATE ***
Test this out. We just had a customer with an issue where the reconnection did NOT work out of the box for multiple users. Look at this post here for information on how it was resolved.