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Restore an exchange information store from a VSS snapshot

Posted on 2008-06-16
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Exchange restore
Situation:  you have an exchange server that is backed up using BE11d.  The backup of the information store is done via snapshot.  

The problem:  you have a user who has deleted a folder within their exchange mailbox.  Note:  You have passed the retention period of deleted items as set under your primary exhange server as seen in the first administrative group.  

You know that because the information store is backed up as a snap shot,  you cannot restore to a recovery storage group.  

Question:  Describe in detail how you would go about recovering the mailbox for the user.  NOTE:  You cannot dismount the active (currently running) information store.
This store is running in a 24/7 environment.

There must be some way where I can get that information off of the tape and onto a server other than the exchange server and then point an exchange recovery tool at the data or if possible mount the data for recovery either on a test exchange server or via a query from the production server
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Question by:ronmerr
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Author Comment

by:ronmerr
ID: 21796003
ExMerge is fine when you have two information stores to work with.  The problem is I have my one production store which I can't take offline.  My question is how do I get my restore onto another server when it is a VSS backup.  I can't seem to find any detail on how to do this.  Lots of stuff on restoring to a recovery storage group (assuming your backup allows you to do this)  it seems that there is very little detail, know how on recovering from a VSS backup to a different host.   I need to either get this information store onto another machine, or...get the data off of the tape onto a host where I can then (I hope) use some tool to sort through the data.  All I can say is that whomever designed the VSS option for Exchange didn't really think this one through.
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scdavis earned 1500 total points
ID: 21841868
A VSS Backup of the Exchange info store?  

Sounds like BUE garbage jargon to me.  No offense -- focus on Exchange terminology.

There are two common methods for recovering Exchange InfoStore data.  First is online/recovery group restore.  Second is offline restore.

Simplify -- if you can get the priv.edb file onto a DISK, as a file, install a "testlab"/recovery server with blank/vanilla AD, Exchange, then just use outlook to export your data out to a .PST file..  you're golden.  Don't muck with your production box unless you're sure of what you're doing, eh?



Personally -- I've got a dozen little clients (5-60 seats) that are sure everything in their mailbox is backed up.

They delete something from their inbox, it's strike one -- gone to deleted folder.  Deleted from deleted items folder, is strike two.  Deleted item retention covers strike three..  


Given the user has had 3 strikes, indicating the user HAS made a conscious decision to remove that data not once, but twice at least, makes me want to know --


-- how important is recovering that folder?  At what point are you going to say .. "WE CAN NOT RECOVER THAT DATA BECAUSE IT IS 24 MONTHS OLD, YOU'VE HAD 3 STRIKES AT IT AND FRANKLY, IT'LL TAKE 18 HOURS TO BUILD A RESTORE ENVIRONMENT JUST TO RECOVER YOUR SINGLE EMAIL FROM YOUR COUSIN 'vlad' "  YOU'VE GOT NO BUSINESS CASE TO JUSTIFY THE COSTS OF RECOVERY AND WE'RE MAKING A FINANCIALLY RESPONSIBLE DECISION TO DENY YOU THE RESTORE OF THAT INFORMATION YOU CLASSIFIED AS WORTHY OF DELETING 3 TIMES.


Uggh.  I hate restores for older information.  



Best client I EVER had -- had an email destruction policy.  Everything older than 31 days got auto-deleted by Exchange, daily.


None of this silly we'll retain all email forever nonsense..



Best,
.. Scott.


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