Getting my exchange 2003 database from non-existing server

Posted on 2006-11-04
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2008-01-09
I wanted to see something in the system configuration for my server, but before I interrupt it with ctrl+A it started Windows; as my server takes some times to restart I was in a hurry and swithed it off from the power. When I restarted the server it asked me for directory restore mode restarting; I restarted the directory restore mode, but none of the passwords I have could let me through.  Tried to repair the windows and that didn't work too. Finally, I gave up and installed a fresh windows on the existing directory; this made my server freeze at boot up. Then I installed windows in a different folder. This seems to work, but didn't want to take the old server name. As this server used to be my master exchange server I have to get all mailbox informations from here. Is there a way that I get my mailboxes from the old server information though I give a different name for my new server? Please help. Tomorrow everybody is at office looking for their emails and I will be dead if the emails are not retrieved. All the data are intact.

Please help.
Question by:URWB
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Expert Comment

ID: 17875880

Ouch you made some mistakes here.
Never ever do something in a rush always take your time.
Active Directory restore password is the password you have to give while promoting / installing AD (It should be documented!)


You should be able with the eseutil to do something... ps I have no experience doing this.


Author Comment

ID: 17876264
hello trenes.

I now I did the one of the biggest mistakes of my life.
You know sometimes you do things that seem simple, then you are in a hell.
For your surprise the password was well documented, but forgot that it is a different one as I installed w2k3 only ones. It came to my mind only after I started the new installation. Anyway griefing doesn't help me. Now I reinstalled everything on a different folder and I see the dead server also in my exchange server list dismounted, but I couldn't mount it. Do you know any other way of accessing the mailboxes, as the data is intact?


Author Comment

ID: 17876910
Thank you trenes for the KB link.

But when I try to create the recovery storage group I get the following error

Access is denied
Facility: win32
ID no: c0070005
Exchange System Manager

I see the mailboxstore for the deleted server as dismounted; therefore tried to mount it, but it gives me the error below

The store could not be mounted because the Active Directory Information was not replicated yet. You can either:
- press cancel and mount the store later from its context menu or
- press retry to let the exchange system manager keep trying to mount the store for you.

When I click on Retry, the mailbox store starts mounting and the indicator shows 100%, then it gives the error message

The Microsoft Exchange Information Store Service could not find the specified object.
ID no: c1041722
Exchange System Manager

I don't know what to do. I even wanted to recreate the mailboxes in the newly installed exchange server, but I don't know how to do it without losing the old data. Would you please help any of the EE experts? I stayed in the office for two days, but with no solution.

by the way, the old & new exchange servers are secondary domain controllers in the domain. I still see the old DC in the domain controllers list of the AD.

thank you in advance.
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Accepted Solution

trenes earned 1500 total points
ID: 17877279
Read this portion of an MS article carefully. It shows you different methods to get your to your data.


Moving Exchange Mailbox Databases Between Servers

When an Exchange mailbox database is created, naming information is written into it that identifies the database as a member of a particular Exchange organization and administrative group. The database can only be mounted on servers running Exchange that have been installed with the same organization and administrative group names.

However, an Exchange mailbox database is not tied to the server or storage group in which it was created. It can be transferred to any Exchange server that shares the same organization and administrative group names and is of the same major version and service pack revision or is of a higher version that is compatible with the original server.

If you move a database to a different location by using an online backup, it will be necessary to configure the destination server with the same storage group and logical database names as on the original server. This requirement is a demand of the backup API, not inherent in the database itself. This requirement is explained in detail in Method 1 below.

However, after mounting a database on an up-level server, it is not possible to move the database back to a down-level server. Therefore, you should match server versions and patch levels exactly when moving databases, or treat the move as a one-way operation. Exchange 2000 Service Pack 3 databases are mountable on any server running Exchange 2000 Server or Exchange Server 2003 with a version level equal to or higher than the original server.

As viewed in Exchange System Manager, each Exchange 2000 Server or Exchange Server 2003 mailbox database is hosted in a storage group on a particular server. The database has a logical name that corresponds to an Active Directory database object. The database is composed of two physical files, which are a database file (.edb file) and an accompanying streaming database file (.stm file). You can view the path to these files and the filenames on the Database properties page of each database object.

There are three methods for moving Exchange databases to different storage groups or servers:•      
Restore an Exchange-aware online streaming backup of the database, redirecting the restore location to a different server   For this method to work, the new server must be configured with a storage group and logical database whose names are identical to those on the original server.

For example, you make an online backup of a database with the logical name “Mailbox Store (Server A)” in storage group “Server-A-SG1” on Server A. You may then create a storage group called “Server-A-SG1” on Server B, and then create a database in that storage group called “Mailbox Store (Server A).”

You restore the online backup, changing the restore location to Server B, and the backup will be restored to the matching storage group and logical database names on Server B.
•      Restore an Exchange-aware online Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) backup of the database   Exact methods for doing this will vary depending on vendor capabilities and limitations in restoring database files to other than their original locations. Consult with your backup vendor for specific instructions.
•      Copy Exchange database files from the current path location to the path location for a different logical database, storage group, or server   If you use this method, the logical storage group and database names do not have to match, but the database filenames must match those defined in the destination. You may rename database files as necessary to make them match.

For example, database files named “Priv1.edb” and “Priv1.stm” are associated with the logical database “Mailbox Store (Server A)” in storage group “Server-A-SG1” on Server A. You create a Storage Group called “Server-B-SG1 on Server B, and create a database called “SG1-MB1” in that storage group. The file paths listed for the SG1-MB1 database are “F:\Databases\SG1-MB1.edb” and “F:\Databases\SG1-MB1.stm.”

You copy Priv1.edb and Priv1.stm from D:\Databases on Server A to F:\Databases on Server B. You then rename Priv1.edb to SG1-MB1.edb and rename Priv1.stm to SG1-MB1.edb.

When performing the procedures described in this topic, it is recommended that you consider the following:•      
When restoring or copying a database to a different location, it may be necessary to select the check box for This database can be overwritten by a restore before you can restore the database from online backup or before the database can be mounted. This checkbox is located on the Database properties page for the logical database object. If you are unable to restore or mount a moved database because of this reason, the problem will be logged in the server’s application log.
•      Before copying database files to another location, you should ensure that they are in a consistent or clean shutdown state. For more information about these states, see the “Database States” section of Knowledge Base article 240145, "How to remove Exchange Server transaction log files."

It may also be possible to replay additional transaction logs into a database before or after it is copied or restored to an alternate location. For more information, see Issues with Transaction Log Files When Moving an Exchange Mailbox Database.
•      Before starting the move process, stop the destination database, remove the existing database files and mark the database to not start automatically. This will prevent the database from inadvertently coming online during the move process.
•      When moving databases to an alternate location, in-transit mail may become undeliverable or become lost. To minimize the effects of this problem, you should link user accounts to the new database location as early as possible in the move process. You can do this before shutting down or moving the original database. Doing so will prevent client access to all mailboxes in the database until the move process has completed. For more information about this, see Using Active Directory Attributes to Enable, Disable, and Re-Home Mailboxes.
•      Exchange generates several different mailboxes for performing various system functions, including SMTP, System, and System Attendant mailboxes. After moving a database to a new location, there may be “leftover” mailboxes for these functions in the database. The Mailbox Cleanup Agent will eventually disconnect these mailboxes, and they will be purged 30 days later by default. It is not necessary to manually disconnect or purge these mailboxes.
•      As a best practice, you should reboot an Exchange server as soon as is feasible after completing a database move. Core client connectivity and mail delivery functions will work without requiring a reboot, but other system functions and third-party applications may require it.

This part is also interessting.

For Exchange servers that are not clustered, see Knowledge Base article 822945,"How to move Exchange 2003 to new hardware and keep the same server name." This article discusses use of the /DisasterRecovery setup mode to move an Exchange installation to new hardware while retaining the current Exchange installation configuration.

Hope this points you in a good direction.

Author Comment

ID: 17896189
Hi Trenes,

Thanks to your above instruction, I managed to move the database to a different mailbox store on a different server. I also managed to mount this store and see the mailboxes under it. But I couldn't get access the mailboxes. I wanted to move them to this new server as the other server mailboxe store is always down, but it didn't allow me. Is there any other way to move the mailboxes to the new server and make them accessible? Please help.

I already gave the 250 points to trenes and give the remaining 250 points to anyone who helps me in solving this problem.

Many thanks

Author Comment

ID: 17898323
Finally I managed to get access to the mailboxes. the things I did are:

1.  From Active directory selected all mail enabled users, right-clicked on them then selected "exchange tasks"
2.  Then selected "remove exchange attributes", then followed the wizard to detach the users from the current mailboxes
3.  When the above task finished, I switched to exchange system manager and from there added the mailbox store of the server to where I moved my databases earlier, in the mailbox recovery center
4.  I selected the mailboxes from the mailbox recovery center, right-clicked on them and selected "export" to export the mailboxes
5.  After export I selected the mailboxes again in the same container, right-clicked and selected "find match"
6.  Then I selected the mailboxes again, right-clicked on them and selected reconnect.

And everything came in places. I felt wonderful and relieved.

Author Comment

ID: 17898329
This question can be closed now.

Expert Comment

ID: 17899069
great to hear it is ok now, have a nice day

Author Comment

ID: 17905213
Thanks trenes,

By the way, I forgot to mention that at the end I run the mailbox clean up agent from the new server where I exported the mailboxes.

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