Recreate the Exchange 2003 "Folder Hierarchies" Container

Say you migrate from Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2007 and decommission the Exchange 2003 servers. Have you ever wondered what would happen if the Exchange 2003 Administrative Group container was deleted using ADSIEdit in an effort to “clean up” the environment?

Odds are good that the following will take place:

1. Outlook 2007 clients will be able to connect to Exchange 2007 mailboxes with no apparent problems, until you try to access a public folder. Public Folders are not accessible.

2. Outlook 2003 clients will receive the message, “Your Exchange Server administrator has blocked the version of Outlook that you are using. Contact your administrator for assistance.” Checking the Microsoft Article 924625, this error can occur for 6 different scenarios. The first being Outlook 2003 cannot access a Public Folder store.

3. If you open the Exchange Management Console and attempt view/edit the properties of the Public Folder database, you get a message indicating the PublicFolderHierarchy value contains invalid data as shown below:

The problem arises because the Folder Hierarchies msExchPublicFolderTreeContainer does not exist since the First Administrative Group container has been removed.

To recreate the Folder Hierarchies msExchPublicFolderTreeContainer:

1. Launch adsiedit.msc.

2. Expand Configuration | Configuration | Services | Microsoft Exchange | Orgname | Administrative Groups

3. Create a new container called First Administrative Group. This is assuming the name of the administrative group for Exchange 2000/2003 was First Administrative Group.

4. Right click on First Administrative Group

6. Select New Object

7. Select msExchPublicFolderTreeContainer for the class and click Next

8. Enter the following for the value: Folder Hierarchies, click Next

9. Click Finish

Create Public Folder Tree Object

10. Right click CN=Folder Hierarchies -> New Object

11. Selected msExchPFTree for the class

12. For the Value, enter Public Foldersand click Next

13. Click on the More Attributes button, select msExchPFTreeType and set the value to 1. This is very important as a value of 1 tells Exchange that this is a MAPI Tree

14. Click Ok and then finish

Populate msExchOwningPFTreeBL attribute object of the PF Stores in the Exchange 2007 organization

15. Right-click the Public Folders object just created in step 12.

16. Copy the distinguishedname value to the clipboard and then click cancel.

17. Still within ADSIEdit, expand the Exchange 2007 Administrative Group | Servers | <servername> | Information Store | Second Storage Group

18. Right-click Public Folder Database on the right-hand pane and choose Properties.

19. Locate the msExchOwningPFTree attribute and paste in the value that was copied to the clipboard in step 16. Click OK.

20. Now, wait a few moments and try to mount the Exchange 2007 Public Folder store. If the process was successful, the PF database will mount and Outlook clients will be able to login to Exchange once again.

If the Public Folder databases fails to mount within a few minutes, restart the Information Store Service and try to mount the public folder database once again.

Naturally, if you are inclined to experiment, I encourage you to perform these tasks in your lab. Should any of you repeat these steps, I’d love to hear your results!


Filed under Microsoft, Windows Server

20 responses to “Recreate the Exchange 2003 "Folder Hierarchies" Container

  1. I did this accidently – deleted old admin group in production environment, your tutorioal helped, but now there is a problem with free/busy data.. its not avaiable for users 😦 can you please help me out?

  2. What are your Outlook clients? If you’re having problems with Outlook 2007 clients, I’d look at the availability service, if using Outlook 2003, try creating a public folder store on the Exchange 07 server.

  3. I’ve already created public folder store and replicated data from old exchange server 2003, but I believe not all replicas wre succesfuly moved, in exchange 2007 server logs every hour is error event MSExchangeFBPublish 8207, and all uzsers in adsiedit have LegacyExchangeDN atribute pointed to old administrative group. outlook clients are mixed 2003 and 2007. do you know how to recreate old administrative group in adsiedit? becouse I read a horrible stories about changing all user LegacyExchangeDN manualy..

  4. PT

    I am glad I found your blog and this excellent guide for such a problem. I restored the values with adsiedit and the store mounted perfectly. Thanks!!

  5. Anonymous

    Saved my bacon too! I’d noticed that there was an empty administrative group in AD and by its name it looked like a hangover from a previous migration years ago. Unfortunately buried somewhere in it was the definition for the Public Folders. As soon as I deleted it the phone started ringing with people unable to open Outlook. Fortunately within 5 minutes I found your blog, followed your instructions, and another 5 minutes later all was well again. Thanks a million!

  6. Frosty

    Ever since I removed the old Administrative Group, and then patched it up by using the fix noted here, there has been another related issue which has become apparent. I am getting new errors on the Exchange 2007 Server, as follows:

    EVENT #: 46377
    EVENT LOG: Application
    EVENT TYPE: Error
    SOURCE: MSExchangeIS Public Store
    CATEGORY: Replication Site Folders
    EVENT ID: 3043
    TIME: 1/06/2009 11:34:06 AM
    MESSAGE: Error 0x8004010f occurred while performing a site folder check for Public Folder Store “Second Storage Group\Public Folder Database”.

    So far I have tried deleting and then recreating my default Offline Address Book (which incidentally is set up to publish via the public folders), but this doesn’t fix it.

    If I go into the Exchange Management Console, Toolbox, Public Folders Management Console, then open up System Public Folders, OFFLINE ADDRESS BOOK, I can see an entry that reads:


    The “GRV002” is the administrative group name that I originally deleted. When I added it back in using your fix above, I used the name “First Administrative Group” as per your example. The reason I didn’t use the old name is because GRV002 refers to an old server name that is no longer used here and it is therefore not really appropriate to be used any longer.

    So all that leads me to my questions:
    — do I now have to use ADSIEDIT.MSC to rename the “First Administrative Group” bits back to “GRV002” (which I prefer not to do) … or
    — is there a way to change the configuration of the OFFLINE ADDRESS BOOK stuff in System Public Folders so that it uses “First Administrative Group” rather than “GRV002”

    Hoping you can shed some light on this extension to the original problem!

  7. Personally, I think you’re going to be forced to rename “First Administrative Group” to “GRV002”.

    I’ve never tried it, I suppose you could change the legacyexchangeDN attribute for “First Administrative Group” to match the original administrative group. I would test, but my lab is in a bit of disarray right now. 😦

  8. Thank you so much for posting this, just saved me from staying here all night trying to re-create public folders. Although I'm curious where to go from here. I don't want to leave a blank Admin Group sitting out there forever. How can I fix this permanently?

  9. Anonymous

    Following up my post of May 31 above (as “Frosty”) … the problem in my System Public Folders, OFFLINE ADDRESS BOOK, seems to be resolved. Perhaps it took some time to take affect when I recreated the OAB, or perhaps it only became evident when I rebooted the server a week or so ago. But anyway, at this point in time, all seems to be well, with no evidence of the old GRV002 name anywhere in my config. Fingers crossed. At least there have been no further errors of the type I mentioned for more than 2 weeks now.

  10. Scott Walker

    Totally saved my tookus! Production environment, deleted First Administrative Group in an attempt to fix the fact that when I click check name it resolves to an old server although all mailboxes are on the new server and the old server has been removed.

  11. You are my hero and friend! We had remnants of Exchange 2003 and just removed the admin group this morning, all of a sudden we have calls of Public Folders not showing up. I googled and followed these instructions and it worked flawless. Thanks alot for posting this.

  12. JJ

    Top man! Even MS Tech Support didn't have a solution as clean as this. Ironically it was following bad advice on teh intuhweb that got me into this mess but you've got me out again. Many thanks.

  13. Some my friend were in difficult situation,because of their emails were damaged and I didn't know that advised them. But luckily for me yesterday I noticed the Google – ost to pst outlook 2003. It resolved my issue for seconds and completely free as I bore in mind.

  14. WinPST Share Outlook allows your organization to share Microsoft Outlook Calendars, Mails, Contacts, Tasks, Journals and Notes amongst its staff without Microsoft Exchange Server. In addition to sharing users' personal folders with other members of staff, it is possible, using WinPST Share Outlook, to define public shared folders, for example, shared contacts and holiday calendars, which may be made available to any members of staff.

  15. Thanks for your post and welcome to check: here

  16. Anonymous

    Dude, you saved me today.
    Thank you.

  17. Jeroen Bonenberg

    Hello all,

    I'm having some difficulties in Exchange 2010 with this tutorial. I deleted the Exchange 2003, but that wasn't what I wanted to do. The problem now is that I recreated the “First Administrative Group” as explained in this tutorial, but I can't complete step 17:

    17. Still within ADSIEdit, expand the Exchange 2007 Administrative Group | Servers | | Information Store | Second Storage Group

    There isn't anything under “Information Store”, nothing like First or Second Storage Group. Anyone who knows how to solve this?

    Thanks a lot.

    Kind regards,


  18. Hello Dude,

    A hierarchy table contains information about the folders in a message store or the containers in an address book container. Each row of a hierarchy table contains a set of columns with information about one folder or address book container. Thanks a lot….

  19. Anonymous

    Let me add to the other comments here and say a huge THANK YOU!

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