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Move exchange priv1.edb and stm to another server

Posted on 2009-04-20
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Last Modified: 2012-05-06
Instead of doing all this in a traditional "micrsoft recommended" way of moving exchange from one SBS 2003 server to another, I want to run this past everyone (and as crazy as it seems, see what your thoughts are).

Let's assume my SBS 2003 just dies and it's unrecovable - it was in a fire and it's melted metal now.  I have a new SBS 2003 server just waiting to be used (brand new computer - only turned on once).

I have my exchange (all my email) and the priv1.edb and priv1.stm, pub1.edb, pub1.stm, and all the *.log files backed up on tape as just loose files.

I pop the new server in - name it the same name as the melted down server, same domain now, recreate all the users, shares, printers, etc.  The network works.  One thing - no email yet.  Exchange is empty.

Since my previous server is melted metal now, but I have the exchange files as I listed above - what method can I use to get those files into my new exchange now?  I'm certain I just can't copy them to my new c:\program files\exchsrvr\mdbdata folder and overwrite the emtpy exchange files with my previous exchange files.

Any suggestions, tips?  Thank you in advance.
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Question by:ansa45
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Expert Comment

by:Alan Cox
ID: 24187650
Nope, Exchange 2003 databases aren't "portable". This was added in 2007. You should be able to use the /disasterrecovery switch.

http://www.msexchange.org/tutorials/Recovering-Failed-Exchange-2003-Member-Server-Using-Disaster-Recovery-Switch.html
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by:ansa45
ID: 24188228
I wonder about using some 3rd party tool to export to PST files - then import back into the new exchange so everything gets tucked in nice into the priv1 files.

Good article you quoted here.  Reading it all now.

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by:Alan Cox
ID: 24188354
No 3rd party.. MS Exmerge, but you have to do that BEFORE disaster strikes.
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Author Comment

by:ansa45
ID: 24188991
Let's assume the disater already took place, but I have all the priv1.edb and priv1.stm, pub1.edb, pub1.stm, and all the *.log files backed up on tape as just loose files.

What are my options of using those files in a NEW SBS 2003 server that has a brand new AD, is the only DC on the network, etc?  They can't be 100% useless - after all, they have everyone's email in them.

Now let's assume the disaster didn't take place yet, but my exchange on SBS 2003 is sooo messed up, I can't use any tools in the OS - like Exchange System Manager.  Can Exmerge still be used?

Thanks
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Expert Comment

by:Mestha
ID: 24189027
The only way that you can pick up the database and move it to a new server is if the new server is completely identical - so the same server name and Exchange org. You then have to reconnect the mailboxes by hand. It is painful to do.

As for extracting content from the raw database files, the only one I know of is OnTrack Power Controls, but it is very expensive.

Simon.
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by:homergfunk
ID: 24189048
No Exmerge can't be used if the database can't be mounted. In this case you have to do 3rd party
Ontrack PowerControls
http://www.ontrackpowercontrols.com/

This will be able to pull your mail from the edb file.

Alternativily. You can add a recovery storage group and link the files from there.  Then it won't mount because its "stuck" in a dirty shutdown and you would use eseutil to clean that up and mount it. Then use ExMerge to move mailboxes or move them to PST.
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Author Comment

by:ansa45
ID: 24189718
It appears Microsoft either gives you no simple solution or makes you jump through hoops to do stuff with exchange in case of a pure meltdown.  Everything I did propose here was all what if situations.  I'm just being curious.

I do have full daily backups of my entire exchange, system state, and the entire server.  I'm just inquiring about what if's and all.

One more question though.  Let's assume the production server is toast - melted metal.  It's gone forever.  I have a full backup of exchange the day before that happened.  I build a new server.  Same name, same DC name, same IP as the old server.  Can I restore exchange from the tape backups?  Just curious since I never tried - never been in that situation before.

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by:Alan Cox
ID: 24189782
Both simon and homer.. are correct here also, exmerge is BEFORE disaster (as I said) and true the database has to be mountable. I am familiar with ontrack although I have never used it. His scenario was true disaster so additional SG wouldn't make a difference here. Rebuilding the server and using ontrack or /disasterrecovery are all I know at that point.
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Expert Comment

by:Mestha
ID: 24192281
Put aside Exchange for the moment.
Before you can restore Exchange you have to restore the domain. Once the domain has been restored, getting Exchange back is quite straight forward.

The domain can be restored from the System State, there is plenty of Microsoft documentation on how to restore the system state in the event of a failure. That gives you the domain. You can then restore Exchange using the disasterrecovery switches.

With virtual machines, testing a DR is now quite easy and can be done in a couple of hours so that you are used to what is required.

Simon.
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Expert Comment

by:homergfunk
ID: 24194770
Restoring Exchange is generally pretty streight forward from backups AS LONG AS IT IS EXCHANGE AWARE! If you were doing brick level backups and you restore the complete partition off the image you should be fine, but if you just recovery the files you won't be. If its exchange aware, NTBackup, Symantec BackupExec with Exchange, Acronis Exchange recovery, etc... the restore has always restored the edb file in clean shutdown state for me.
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ansa45 earned 0 total points
ID: 24299643
Thanks all.  I have gathered enough information here to learn through hypothetical situations.  I appreciate everyone's comments and such.
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