Recover mailbox data from old Exchange DB

Posted on 2008-11-09
Last Modified: 2012-05-05
We had server problems and had to rebuild our SBS 2003 Server.  Before this, we use Exmerge to export users email data to PST files.  Unfortunately Exmerge does not support files larger than 2GB, so when we go to import the data into Exchange using Exmerge it fails.  And importing the PST file into Outlook directly fails too (corrupted I guess because they overstepped Exmerge's limit).  

We still have the old Exchange DB files etc.  In fact we still have the old server drive intact, just not booting.  

Is there a way to recover the users data from the old Exchange DB files, or anything...?

Question by:knobbylowboy
    LVL 6

    Expert Comment

    Yes, but it will take some time. If you have a license for Acronis with Universal restore you can image that drive directly over to a virtual, otherwise:

    It might even be worth trying to boot the drive on a different sysem on th eoff-change it will work, and give yu access to a running exchange database.

    Most time intensive, but will definitely work:
    You can install a recovery server in a virtual PC, and name everything the same--same Domain name, etc. If you do so, you will be able ro remount the exchange database files.  Another option is, if you have a recent server backup, to restore from backup into the virtual exchange server.  From there, yu can use Exmerge to use date to back up the mailbox into two psts that are less than 2GB each.
    LVL 38

    Expert Comment

    by:Philip Elder
    You can mount them in a Recovery Storage Group, but you still run into the 2GB limit problem.

    You could build an SBS VM setup identical to your existing with users and the like.

    Install and setup an XP/Vista VM as well and join it to the SBS domain. Install Outlook.

    Do an offline restore of the recovered DBs, reconnect the mailboxes to the appropriate users, log onto the desktop VM, configure Outlook for that user then export to PST.

    On new SBS setup your Outlook clients to AutoArchive and back those PSTs up. That will eliminate the size problem until you upgrade to SBS 08 where Exchange has no size limit for mailboxes.

    LVL 6

    Accepted Solution

    Hey, I have a better option if this is recent:

    If outlook was set to do offline caching before this will work, and its awesome!!
    Disconnect that user's PC from the network, and perform a system restore to before the new server went in. then export the offline mailbox to a pst at the workstation.  Then system resotre forward again and import the pst.
    LVL 38

    Expert Comment

    by:Philip Elder
    I think the fact that Jerry and I hit the same answer at the same time aughta tell you something no? ;)

    Author Closing Comment

    Excellent tip. Worked a treat, thank you! :)

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