Using Exmerge to recover folders and mail from the dumpster

Posted on 2011-02-22
Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Hi there,
I am trying to recover a client’s deleted folder from their mailbox on an Exchange 2003 server. the folder resides in the dumpster and cannot be recovered via "Recover Deleted Items" option as it fails with a permissions error. I have checked permissions on this mailbox and they check out OK.

I downloaded and installed Exmerge version on the server and attempted to recover the “dumpster only” from the mailbox. I selected the following:

1.      Extract or Import
2.      Step1: Extract data from an Exchange Server mailbox
3.      Selected Exchange server (in this case an SBS 2003 server)
4.      Selected all options under options – data including items from Dumpster
5.      Import Procedure – merge data into the target store
6.      Folders – process only these folders: Deleted Items.
7.      Apply action to sub folders and selected folders.
8.      Selected mailbox
9.      All other options are defaults.

Note: Administrator has “Send As” and Receive as” rights to mailbox store and the ExMerge program resides in C:\Program Files\Exchsrvr\bin\Exmerge folder.

It completes with errors. Please see ExMerge.log details below:

"[16:33:13] Error copying recoverable deleted items (From the Dumpster).
[16:33:13] Error copying folder 'Email Archive' from the dumpster. (MAPI_W_PARTIAL_COMPLETION)
[16:33:13] Error copying folder 'Microsoft at Home' from the dumpster. (MAPI_W_PARTIAL_COMPLETION)
[16:33:13] Error copying folder 'Microsoft at Work' from the dumpster. (MAPI_W_PARTIAL_COMPLETION)
[16:33:13] Failed to repair the anti-SPAM rule in the target mailbox since the Inbox entry ID is not found.
[16:33:13] Failed to repair the anti-SPAM rule in the target mailbox after migration.
[16:33:13] Number of messages processed for mailbox 'clients mailbox': 1360
[16:33:13] Number of folders processed for mailbox 'clients mailbox': 3
[16:33:13] Non fatal errors encountered. Copy process completed for mailbox 'clients mailbox' ('INFO').
[16:33:14] Number of items copied from the source store for all mailboxes processed: 1360
[16:33:14] Total number of folders processed in the source store: 3
[16:33:14] 1 mailboxes successfully processed. 0 mailboxes were not successfully processed. 1052 non-fatal errors encountered.
[16:33:14] Process completion time:  0:00:00:03 "

I then added PST file to Outlook and was able to see the recovered folder(s) in the Deleted Items but they are empty i.e. no mail is present.

Can you please help?

Note: I have tried several attempts with different options i.e. Selected all folders i.e. inbox etc. this creates a larger PST file and can see mail in inbox etc. but not the deleted folders.

Question by:eastharbourit
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Expert Comment

ID: 34958182
Hi is the Mailbox larger that 2GB? If so exmerge doesn't support mailbox's larger than 2GB. Suggest you use outlooks Export Feature found under file.

Expert Comment

ID: 34958204
LVL 31

Expert Comment

ID: 34958615
Can you screenshot the permissions error that you are getting when you run tools --> Recover Deleted Items
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LVL 17

Expert Comment

ID: 34963335
1. I agree with MegaNuk3 would be good to see the error you are getting

2. Could also be an issue with an excessive PST size as Dezzy Suggested.

3. Also how was this deleted, i.e. did someone do a regular delete that would have put it into the Deleted Items folder or did they do a hard delete i.e. SHIFT + DELETE?

4. How long ago was this deletion made?

5. Do you have a Backup that the data may still be within?

5. If you want to check out a 3rd party utility that can expose whats recoverable in that mailbox check out my profile since this will at least let you see whats truly recoverable and then you can debug ExMerge from there

Author Comment

ID: 34965047
Thanks for your input peoples.

Please see screenshot of the permissions error when attempting to recover deleted items from the dumspter.

 Recover Deleted Items Screenshot
Yes the mailbox is 8GB in size and I thought this may be the problem when using Exmerge to export the whole mailbox as the export stops just over 2GB. So I then tried to export the dumpster only selecting the Deleted Itemsfolder only from the Import section. This completes (with errors) but does create a PST file of approx 900MB.

The folder was deleted a while ago and can not be recovered from backup. They also do not know when or how it was deleted. In saying this the folder is visible in the dumpster.

TIGERMARK: I follow the instructions provided and imported the PST file into the original mailbox wit the same results i.e. the deleted folders are present but are empty.
LVL 31

Expert Comment

ID: 34965077
Open the PST file from Outlook and see if it is empty.
LVL 17

Expert Comment

ID: 34965254
1. Agree with MegaNuk3, open the PST with outlook and the data will be there or it wont

2. ExMerge by default just stops at the 2GB mark and usually corrupts the PST, no error or warning so a but frustrating but its just the way it is.

3. Check my profile for a 3rd party utility that may be of assistance, i.e. even with a DEMO license you will be able to see if the data is recoverable and can even search for items

4. So do you not backup the system in general at all or ??  Just curious as to how you know there is no backup of this mailbox??
LVL 17

Expert Comment

ID: 34965367
BTW regarding backup I am speaking of the entire database at a time when this mailbox was intact so that data could be extracted from the backup of the database (EDB/STM), not a mailbox level backup.

Author Comment

ID: 34966969
I have tried opening the PST file from Outlook and can see mail in the root of the Deleted items folder but not in the recovered folders.

I will try out the recovery tools and get back to you with the results.
LVL 17

Expert Comment

ID: 34970803
And I assume that your missing data items  are not in the deleted items folder?

Author Comment

ID: 35002865
Lucid8: I downloaded and installed Digiscope and I am able to see the folder and all its sub folders sitting in the Deleted items folder. Due to the "Demo" license and I cannot view individule items. It appears it is recoverable but I dont understand why i cannot see the mail items after i Exmeged the dumpster only, which is under 1Gb in size.

Note the other software you recommended did not work due to errors and not compatiable with Outlook 2010.

LVL 17

Expert Comment

ID: 35003028
if there is data within a folder you will see it even with a DEMO license.  You cant open it but you can see it.  NOTE: If you need support on our products you should open a support case with and the team will be happy to assist.

Sounds to me that what happened based upon your description is that

1. Someone did a standard delete on the folders which  placed them into the deleted items folder which would have placed all the folders and items into that folder for recovery, i.e. you should have been able to walk the structure to see all the items available for recovery but you are saying you CAN see the folders but not the items, via Outlook (or a 3rd party tool) is that correct?

2.  It then appears as though someone went into each folder and deleted them from the folder structure.  This would remove them from the folders and place them in the root of the Deleted Items folder.  If they then emptied the deleted items folder they would be marked as a hard deleted items and the only way you can then see them is by adjusting your registry entry for the owner that deleted the items  however the trick is knowing where the items were deleted from, i.e. did the user do a hard delete from the original location or from the deleted items folder?  So with the above entry you have to know where to look, vs using a 3rd party utility like the one in my profile will expose the hard deleted items as being grayed out.

I would suggest that you contact our support to confirm what you are seeing and to also check out the MS article


Author Comment

ID: 35003554
Lucid8: I understand what you are saying and it sounds like that but I can’t imagine anyone would have done this as they were not even ware it was deleted!

Yes i can see the deleted folders but cannot see the items within them in fact any of the deleted folders!

Within Digiscope i cannot see anything within these folders; I can see items in the Inbox, Sent items etc. but not the items in the deleted folders.

I created a folder and placed several emails in there then moved it to the Deleted items folder. Emptied the folder andopened the folder withing DigiScope and cannot see the items in the test folder either!

“You must open or restore this folder to view its contents”.
LVL 17

Accepted Solution

lucid8 earned 500 total points
ID: 35003587
Best to open a support case directly with us in order to get you the best resolution and to keep this area clear of product specific issues.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 35177234
Solution requires purchase of software from Luid8 to resolve.
LVL 17

Expert Comment

ID: 35182078
Thanks for the points

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