How do I store/backup email boxes of former employees on Exchange 2003? Also log file issue

Posted on 2010-09-21
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-05-10
We run Exchange 2003 with just one storage group for all employees. I have several former employees where we have keept their inboxes in the store because I don't know how to archive them or move them out of the store. Now that my store is eating up so much space, I thought I could remove the old mailboxes and archive them to another drive, but I have absolutely no idea how I could do this or if it's possible.

Also, along the same lines, my shadowprotect backups don't seem to be purging my log files, and my drive is bloated with them. Can someone get me directions on how to manually move log files? I did it a while back but I don't recall how I did it.

Question by:ArcJC
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Expert Comment

ID: 33726992
why don't you use exmerge to export them to pst files..

that way you can store them anyway you'd like and their off the system?

or just use your normal backup procedure.. and back them up to tape.

to answer your 2nd question..
check to see if shadowprotect has a setting to do a full backup with remove of logfiles?

read this: http://forum.storagecraft.com/Community/forums/p/241/879.aspx

circular logfiles seem to be a good solution.. but you'd have to make sure that the backups are working and that you have a good plan to do full backups.

Author Comment

ID: 33727071
Since our backup system has been unreliable, I've been reluctant to go to circular logging. Everytime I schedule shadowprotect to do a full backup, it errors on me and I end up doing it manually.

What is exmerge?

Expert Comment

ID: 33727493
you have a few options but the easy and cheap ones try first.

exmerge would be the easiest and cheapest method. the only issue is if the mailbox is huge like 4gb then exmerge may not work.

other option would be to activate the old user accounts and sign on to outlook as them. then create multiple psts and create them by year and move emails into a few psts. then store those on a dvd, file server whatever, usb drive etc.
if user account is gone then create a dumby account in AD, without a mailbox. then in teh ESM locate the old mailbox in the database, right click, reconnect and choose the account without a mailbox. then you can exmerge or log on as new account to a pc, setup outlook and start pst moving.
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Expert Comment

ID: 33727797
Use exmerge to create PST.
For logs use the eseutil /mk and check the last commited logs and remove all the logs before it.
Check the checkpoint  file
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Accepted Solution

p_nuts earned 1000 total points
ID: 33729342
fix your back up issues. without errors the logs should be cleared. try to change your backup from bricklevel to mailstore level. you can use a recovery store if a single email needs to be restored.

exmerge is a ms tool that allows you to import / export mailboxes

petri has some excellent stuff on exchange and exmerge http://www.google.com/m?client=ms-opera-mobile&channel=new&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&q=petri%20exmerge
LVL 17

Assisted Solution

lucid8 earned 1000 total points
ID: 33734741
  1. ExMerge is definitely your best free option and will give you the ability to have separate PST files for each user.
  2. That said keep in mind that ExMerge can only create ANSI PST files which have several limitations including the fact that the PSTs can only be up to 2GB and to really be safe its about 1.8GB.  Anything over that and it becomes corrupt.  The really good part is that you wont know its corrupt until you go to mount it up because ExMerge wont tell you the file is over limit or corrupt.
  3. As an alternative you should check out third party products that can open a raw EDB file to do searches extractions an recoveries.  Kroll, Quest and Lucid8 are three good options to check out.
  4. Also exporting the PSTs will get you portability by user, however you will not really be saving space because you lose single instance messaging when you export to PST.  Granted you can store the PST files in an alternate location but it will take up more space then you are currently using.  If you find that a third party utility doe the trick for you then you may consider storing a copy of the EDB away form the exchange server and of course in a place that can back it up to take as well for DR purposes.
  5. lastly on the shadow protect backup issues, you most definitely need to resolve whatever the issues are ASAP since from the sounds of it you really don't have any recoverable backups for Exchange.  This should be your # 1 priority IMHO.  Have you spoken to the Storage Craft guys about the issues your experiencing?
Troy Werelius

Author Comment

ID: 33756316
Wow. You all are so much smarter than I am. I can barely follow. I tried exmerge and it wanted me to move the box to another exchange server, which I don't have, so I just did it the hard way by opening them in Outlook and manually archiving them to a PST.

As for storage craft, no, I haven't contacted them. I have verified multiple times that I am creating functional backups, but it never clears my log files. I don't know why this is, so I'm just going to remove them manually. I've done this before, but I was hoping to find a solution so I didn't have to keep doing it automatically.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 33756346
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LVL 17

Expert Comment

ID: 33756409
You can certainly remove the log files manually, however that can be a dangerous move as well, i.e. the logs are not guaranteed to be committed instantly so be really careful about deleting them otherwise you could cause yourself more harm then good.
  1. I would still suggest that you talk to Storeagecraft because they should be handling the log deletion if the backup is Exchange aware and happening properly.
  2. If you are still determined to do a manual deletion I would
    1. first dismount the associated stores which will force the all uncommitted logs to be committed  
    2. then move the log files to an alternate location
    3. start up the stores again
    4. if all is good then you can delete the log files
Troy Werelius

Author Comment

ID: 33756531
Lucid8: I save the files on an external drive, leaving at least the current week's worth in the original location. I have dismounted and remounted successfully. Question, though: "if the backup is exchange aware" --- how would I determine this?
LVL 17

Expert Comment

ID: 33756590
The product you are using should tell you if its Exchange aware or not, i.e. you can get applications that just snapshot the drives so that you have a copy of the data, but an Exchange aware application will get the data, mark the db as being backed up and then remove the logs that were backed up as part of the process.  
I know that SC has Exchange Aware applications but I don't know enough about them to know if they have an option to NOT clear the logs.  So really is could be that you have a version of SC that works but you may not have the Exchange Aware portion OR it could be that there is an option in SC to turn on/off the log removal

Troy Werelius


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