How can I restore exchange from an .ost file?

Posted on 2011-03-23
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I have a customer that had a RAID array go awry, but was able to get the data off the array. I have next to no experience with exchange so restoring it has become a very educational undertaking.

With 3 clients, the only service the customer is using from the server is exchange and only contacts and a shared calender(no email). I have next to no idea how the server was actually configured because I was never able to log into it.

I've reinstalled SBS2003.
I've tried to restore exchange via stopping all(what looked to me) exchange services and copy and past the entire MDBDATA dir(actually what was inside it as the dir itself would not copy(permisons)). I hope this wasn't a bad move, but the more I read about exchange, the more I realize it was either risky or detrimental. This did, as far as I can tell, absolutely nothing. I've tried restoring from a .pst file I made from one of the clients offline. This actually rendered the contacts, but no calendar.

What I guess I would like to know is, can I use the offline data from the .ost file directly to update the server and repopulate the calendar in some way or fashion, OR there must be a way to hard copy those files from MDBDATA on to the server.

I don't terribly mind reinstalling the server(if needed), though that would be nice to avoid as it will take half the day.

I'm sure there is a simple answer to this but I just don't know it and I'm getting frustrated reading Microsoft's manuals as they aren't really helping a whole lot.

Thanks in advance,

Question by:Zatarah

Accepted Solution

EvilKnievel earned 500 total points
ID: 35197511
What you can do is use an OST2PST converter (google is your friend). After conversion you can simply import the PST files into exchange using outlook. All the data is stored in the OST files, including calendar etc.
Hope this helps!

Author Comment

ID: 35197552
I did actually manage to get a PST file by exporting from a client in offline mode. But when I tried to import to the client while connected to the server, it did nothing. I'm guess that that tool isn't going to help me if I've goten thus far.

Thanks at anyrate

Expert Comment

ID: 35203295
What's the problem or error you see when trying to import the PST file back?

Some other options similiar to OST2PST can be found at http://www.datanumen.com/aexr/compare.htm
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Author Comment

ID: 35205660
What's the problem or error you see when trying to import the PST file back?

No error, but no data or calendar to be precise. Oddly enough, I notice the data store file .edb, get bigger each time I imported the .pst file. It's gone from ~57MB to over 250MB in size so far trying to import. So obviously it's doing something but for whatever reason, it's not showing up in outlook.

I have come up with a temporary solution so they can work. I was able to duplicate the calendar into a new shared one from an offline machine. When I connected it to the server, it wiped out the original but the new one remained and uploaded to the other clients.

I would very much like to iron it all out still, but this will have to do for the mean time.

Expert Comment

ID: 35206185
Can you check if there's any calendar data in the PST file itself? You can try that by opening outlook, choose file --> open --> Outlook Data file (.PST)
Maybe the problem lies within the conversion.
LVL 17

Expert Comment

ID: 35207863
EK is correct check the PST first and then also how are you trying to IMPORT the PST?  Could be an issue there as well, i.e. are you

1. using IMPORT from OUTLOOK
2. Opening the PST and Drag-n-Drop
3. Attempting to use ExMerge?  If so ExMerge only support ANSI PST files so that could be an issue as well.

Author Comment

ID: 35210107
I had a client in offline mode running from the .ost file. I exported to a .pst file. I then connect to the server and imported that .pst file.
I haven't tried importing that .pst file to my home machine. I'm going to try that next. That will hopefully shed some light.
I haven't attempted to use ExMerge just yet. After I had a working calendar up and running I didn't want to mess with the server side until I was a little more sure about what was causing the problems in the first place.
LVL 74

Expert Comment

by:Glen Knight
ID: 37445855
This question has been classified as abandoned and is closed as part of the Cleanup Program. See the recommendation for more details.

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