Exchg 5.5, PRIV.EDB Database Corruption, Recovery/rebuild without Backups. Event ID's 184 & 116

Situation at this site: SBS 4.5 = NT4 SP6 + Exchange 5.5 SP3. Only 4 users.
First thing noted was lack of backup for Exchange - Veritas Backup Exec job had Exchange section not ticked. asked myself was this an oversight or deliberate?
Application log showed consistent repeat, every night whilst running OnLine defrag task, of Event ID 116 followed by Event ID 184 terminating the the defrag task.
The details of ID 116 are:
Source: ESE97 Category: Database Page Cache
Synchronous read page checksum error - 1018 ((1:34763 1:178) (0-14290046) (0-49237494)) ocurred. Please restore the database from a previous backup.

the details of ID 184 are:
MSExchangeIS (417) Online defragmentation of database 'D:\ExchSrvr\MDBDATA\PRIV.EDB' terminated prematurely after encountering unexpected error - 1018

Looking to technet shows an article where these Errors cause the backup to fail - so looks like exclusion in backup exec was deliberate. Have since run backup job with Exchange and it does indeed fail.
Have noted that there are strange things happening with one of the users Contacts database consistent with corruption.
So to remedy I am proposing to export mailboxes out to .pst's then rename Priv.edb to Priv.old then restart Exchange and import the .pst's back again.
Is this too simple? would the corruption be remedied? I have never used exmerge before do I need to use this tool? At what point in the process do I run Chkdisk to look for disk problems that may have caused the corruption in the 1st place?

I would appreciate an answer that:
Provides step by step instructions,
answers my questions,
gives any heads-up to snags or possible problems along the way,
gives insight into my better learning about this issue - articles, URL's etc.

This is fairly urgent as I must fix this this weekend.



Who is Participating?
"Would I be right in thinking that the end of your step 5....."
If you reinstall the server from scratch, you will need to note some Exchange information before doing this. I will assume that this is your only Exchange server in the Organization. If you have multiple Exchange servers then let me know.

1. In the Exchange Admin program, go to the properties of the Organization container. Write down the DIRECTORY NAME. This is case sensitive.
Then go to the properties of the Site container. Write down the DIRECTORY NAME.
Then go to the properties of the Configuration container. Click on the Change Service Account Password tab. Write down the user account shown. This is your Exchange service account.
Also write down the NetBios name of the server.
Stop the Exchange System Attendant service. Copy the DIR.EDB to another machine. This will be in the DSADATA folder.
2. Install the OS using the same NetBios name as the original server. Apply the same OS service pack as the original server. Configure the proper pagefile size.
3. Install Exchange. When prompted select to create a new Org and Site. Use the names noted in step 1. Use the same service account. Do not run performance optimizer when prompted. In the Exchange Admin program, create an Internet MAil connector. Just accept the defaults. Apply the same Exchange Service Pack as was on the original server. Run Performance Optimizer. Note the locations where the Exchange databases will be located.
4. Stop the MS Exchange Directory service. Rename the DSADATA folders to DSADATA-ORG. Create a new DSADATA folder wherever you renamed one. COPY the DIR.EDBfrom Step 1 into the appropriate DSADATA folder.
5. Start the MS Exchange Directory service. Start the Information Store serve and all the other Exchange services.
6. Now go to step 7 of my previous post.

EXMERGE is on the way to you.

-1018 errors usually indicate that there is either a disk controller problem or a problem with the actual hard drive.

You need to correct this issue first. If you don't then the problem will only come back to haunt you.

"So to remedy I am proposing to export mailboxes out to .pst's then rename Priv.edb to Priv.old then restart Exchange and import the .pst's back again. "
This will work. EXMERGE is fairly easy to use. I suggest using Version 3.71 or later. When running EXMERGE you will want to do the 2-Step method.

Leave your email address if you need a copy of EXMERGE 3.71 and the documentation.
Mark_LawsonAuthor Commented:
Yes, thanks for that, I had already arranged to have spare disk on site over weekend, sadly No RAID:-( and started to gather resources and info necessary to do full rebuild of server. So we're on the same page there.

You say that my export to pst's will work, I was going to do this from the client, were you suggesting that it be done by exmerge? What are the advantages of exmerge?
Also what are the steps involved in this process - thinking about deleting logs and when in the process it is safest to run chkdsk? I guess I'm just asking for a hand-holding walk through as I can easily get intimidated by handling important data, performing unfamiliar tasks.

What is safest no-spam way to provide you with my email? As you can gather I'm complete EE newbie.

Exporting to PST's can be done with EXMERGE.
The advantage is that when you go through the wizard you can select which mailboxes you want to do (you can select all if you want to). It will create a different PST file for each mailbox. You will also be able to designate where to place the PST files. You can also limit what folders are exported if you wish. For example you can select not to export the Deleted Items folders if you wish. By default it will export all the folders in each selected mailbox. By default it will leave the data in the PRIV.EDB after the export.
EXMERGE is a wizard based GUI utility. In my opinion no Exchange Admin should be without it. :)
One thing to be aware of, there is a 2GB limit for PST files. If you have mailboxes that are larger than that you may want to export these into multiple PST files using Outlook.
Also you will have to Export your public folders to a PST file from Outlook (if you are having problems with this database also).

Create a new Hotmail account and forward me the address and I will forward a zip file to you. It will have all the needed file along with a Word document that fully explains EXMERGE.

Steps in the Process:
1. Stop the Internet Mail service.
2. Run EXMERGE. Select 2-Step merge, Step 1. Make sure you are logged in as the Exchange Service Account.
3. When EXMERGE completes, enable circular logging in the Exchange Admin program. Stop the Information Store service.
4. Rename the MDBDATA folders on ALL drives to MDBDATA-OLD. Everywhere you renamed an MDBDATA folder create a new one. If you were not having problems with the Public Folder database, then copy the PUB.EDB file from the MDBDATA-OLD folder into the appropriate MDBDATA folder.
5. Move the MDBDATA-OLD folders to another server if space will be an issue.
6. Start the Information Store and Internet Mail services. This will create new empty databases if they do not exist.
7. From an Outlook client send a test email to all users.
8. Run EXMERGE again. Select 2-Step, Step 2. Follow the rest of the prompts and it will import the data from the PST into the database. After it completes you can disable circular logging if you wish.

Let me know if you have any other questions.
Mark_LawsonAuthor Commented:
This is great, thanks.

email address is: benbow23@hotmail.com

Other questions:

Would I be right in thinking that the end of your step 5 is when I chkdsk the drive, assuming I have moved the MDBDATA-OLD folders out to another machine? If chkdsk show problems with the drive at this point then I will be reinstalling the server from scratch. This will create new Exchange with Administrator mailbox. Do I then create the users as per original build allow these mailboxes to be created and then re-do step 4 before proceeding to 6-8?

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