This short post summarizes a superb article on Exchange 2010 and single item recovery.

The bottom line of the article is that with Exchange 2010, you shouldn’t need to do single item recovery (also called granular recovery) from a secondary (or backup) medium.  If I were an IT administrator, I know that I’d want to use the native Exchange functionality rather than go to a third-party for this.

Summary of Exchange 2010 Features for Single Item (Granular) Recovery

Feature State Soft-deleted items kept in dumpster Modified (versions) and store hard-deleted items kept in dumpster User can purge items from dumpster MRM automatically purges items from dumpster
Single item recovery disabled Yes No Yes Yes, 14 days by default and 120 days for calendar items
Single item recovery enabled Yes Yes No Yes, 14 days by default and 120 days for calendar items
Litigation hold enabled Yes Yes No No

Exchange 2010 Recovery Definitions

Store Soft Delete – this is when an item has been deleted from the Deleted Items folder and placed within dumpster.
Store Hard Delete – This is when an item has been marked for purging out of the store.
Hard Delete via Outlook (Shift-Delete) – This is when the end user performs a shift-delete on an item. This results in the item bypassing the deleted items folder and being directly placed in dumpster.