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Upgrading to SBS2k8, PST backups

Ive got a client with SBS2K3 in place. Server hardware is unstable and we cannot do a migration to SBS2K8. That is not an option. Luckily, the network is so small client is fine with the idea of manually moving over user data and building new SBS2K8 server fresh and recreating accounts.

The only obstacle I have email from old server. All users have cached mail boxes. I was wondering if there is a way to back up the mail via outlook for each user to a PST. Create the new profile on the desktops, configure outlook for the new server and then import a PST into the new exchange environment via outlook.

I hope this is clear. Essentially:
Old SBS2K3: Back up email via outlook to a PST.
New Client on New SBS2K8 Network: Configure outlook profile, import PST.

Is this possible or will it not store the imported mail to Exchange?
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GoUW_Joshua
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GoUW_Joshua
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1 Solution
 
MesthaCommented:
What you have proposed is basically what happens using exmerge and import-mailbox. It removes the data to a PST file, then you import it. Exchange will not care what the data is.

You will lose the link in meetings, and old email cannot be replied to by just hitting reply. You have to select the user fresh from the GAL. I have certainly done the import through Outlook method, particularly on smaller environments.

Simon.
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GoUW_JoshuaAuthor Commented:
Simon,

I greatly appreciate the feedback. What would your recommendation be then? We're talking about 10 users total. I've never actually done either of these methods. Whichever is quicker time wise would be what I'll go with.

Thank you,
Joshua
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MesthaCommented:
How large are the mailboxes?
If they are all under 2gb each, then an exmerge is the quickest way to get the content out to PST files. The import can be a little fiddly to setup, so for a small number of users like this I would import through Outlook - you have to visit every machine anyway, so doing the import with the wizard in Outlook is no great issue.

If they are over 2gb then out through Outlook is the best option, as exmerge can only cope with 2gb in a single export. While you can export by doing multiple passes and using date filters, it reaches a point where that is simply too slow compared to going out through Outlook.

A quick tip to extract through Outlook is to change the setting in Outlook to deliver email to a Personal Folder, rather than the mailbox. Outlook will then remove all of the content for you. Its a remove, not a copy out. So you will be down to a single copy.

Simon.
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GoUW_JoshuaAuthor Commented:
Thank you again for the helpful reply.  I am going to proceed with the export today as mailboxes are under 2gb each.  I have read around that you cannot import PST data from Exchange 2003 mailboxes.  Can you confirm that this is NOT the case?  I have seen conflicting reports and I wanted to double check before I start and have to rethink my import halfway through.

Thanks!
Joshua
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MesthaCommented:
There is no limitation in the PST files that can and cannot be used, so I don't know what you have been reading to give you conflicting information.

The only issue is that you cannot use Outlook 2007 PST files with EXMERGE.

Simon.
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