Quick Tip – Recovering from a missing migration mailbox in Exchange 2013

I have been doing some work with Exchange 2013 over the last couple of days testing some migration scenarios (cannot go into exact detail as a lot of the work is currently covered under Non-Disclosure Agreement [NDA]). What I can disclose is this little tip.

Exchange makes use of a number of System mailboxes which are created setup in the root domain of Active Directory.

Users or administrators cannot login to these mailboxes as system mailboxes are created for internal Exchange features and associated processes within Unified Messaging (UM), migration, message approval, and In-Place e-Discovery.

One of these mailboxes is called:


Which unsurprisingly is used for migration and mailbox move activities. Whilst working in my LAB I have been moving some mailboxes around between databases. Today, I was attempting another move – during this particular move I was presented with the following error in the Exchange Administrative Centre.


Now, I wasn’t too surprised at the above error, as I had to forcibly destroy the database which had previously contained the Migration.8f3e7716-2011-43e4-96b1-aba62d229136 mailbox. So, I now needed to get the Migration mailbox back.

Thankfully this is not a terribly difficult process – and involves the following steps:

  1. Run Exchange Setup with the following command line: setup /ps /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms – this will recreate the Active Directory account if it is missing.
  2. Open an Exchange Management Shell window and type in the following commands:
Enable-Mailbox -Arbitration -Identity "Migration.8f3e7716-2011-43e4-96b1-aba62d229136"

Set-Mailbox "Migration.8f3e7716-2011-43e4-96b1-aba62d229136" -Arbitration –Management:$true

These commands are shown below.


Once the commands have been entered, the Migration Mailbox should be recreated. If you have multiple domain controllers allow time for domain replication to take place and then retry the mailbox move.


  1. What happens if the Enable-Mailbox command fails with the error “You can’t leave the EmailAddresses paramater value empty.”

  2. Running the command stated:
    setup /ps /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms
    Will extend the schema only, not create the AD objects. For that you need to run:
    setup /preparead /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms

    Hope this helps!

  3. Hi Andy,

    For me the Migration.8f AD Account is present.

    Can I manually enable the Migration.8f…mailbox in AD? I tried running the first cmdlet, “Enable-Migration…” and it fails. I went ahead and manually enabled the Migration.8f….mailbox in AD and then tried to run the 2nd cmdlet, “set-mailbox….” and it appears to work, it prompts with an approval Y or N. Is it ok to accept this and enable it?


  4. Hi,
    I was looking at your article and wanted to run this to resolve it for a client but wanted to check with you why you are running PrepareSchema (PS) as opposed to PrepareAD? The schema preparation would only update your active directory schema and not re-create any AD accounts. It would be the PrepareAD process that creates these accounts.

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