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Archiving old 2003 exchange data using exmerge or something better?

Posted on 2011-04-21
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Hi

I'm trying to archive data using exmerge. Some user mailboxes are 10 to 15gb, and the store is approaching 65gb in total on 2003 small business server. I've tried running exmerge to backup the entire files before then going through and archiving off specific date ranges. It maxes out at 2gb file sizes which isnt very helpful. Particularly as i ask it to archive a 14gb mailbox, it sticks at 2gb, carries on running for 2 further hours and then states success!  This leaves me nervous about running an actual archive and delete operation, as I don't know what the size of the data is between given date ranges on any of the mailboxes. I wouldnt want to guess year 2009 is less than 2gb, start the process, it sticks at 2gb and carries on deleting from the mailbox reporting success at the end!

Maybe theres an updated version of exmerge which can handle greater than 2gb files? 2gb is not the limit of a pst anymore so it would be very useful. Or maybe there are other tools I can use?

Any help on best practice here would be useful.

Thanks
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Question by:eMicros
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Expert Comment

by:The_Kirschi
ID: 35444388
ExMerge does not work, that's right. At the moment I don't know of any other tool except an Outlook client. See

http://www.experts-exchange.com/Software/Server_Software/Email_Servers/Exchange/Q_23882361.html

What are you trying to accomplish by archiving actually?
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Author Comment

by:eMicros
ID: 35444592
The mailstore is approx 65gb, the absolute limit in SBS 2003 is 75gb. The server drive is nearly full and the nightly NT backup to NAS drive never completes because theres simply too much to backup overnight. I am archiving off old documents and old email. I want each user to have a 2gb limit on their mailbox, theres 10 to 12 users. When this is complete the backups will be Ok again and I dont have to worry about size limits in exchange. I want the quotas to take care of the housekeeping on my behalf :) At the moment some people delete nothing and have 15gb mail stores, its too much.

What i wanted to do was use exmerge to backup all the mail boxes before then archiving off the mail through use of psts created with exmerge or created in outllook. If I can't use exmerge, I guess It looks as though I will need to create a PST in outlook, copy the emails into it and then delete them from the mailbox within outlook.  Do you agree?

(I really had hoped to do all this remotely on the server, and not have to go around everybodies PCs creating PSTS and manually copying and deleting.)
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by:Cliff Galiher
Cliff Galiher earned 1000 total points
ID: 35444701
A common method is to set up an "export" workstation, create a user for doing the export jobs, grant that user full control on all mailboxes, then use your dedicated workstation (remotely if you wish) to connect to each mailbox and use Outlook to export it to a pst.

You also do not need to create a PST and then copy. Use the "import and export" menu option in the File menu of Outlook to directly export to a PST (creates the PST and exports the data) and saves the double process of copying and other hassles of mounting and dismounting a PST manually.

You can do all of your exports on a single machine relatively quickly. The only downside is that one machine cannot be the server.

-Cliff
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by:The_Kirschi
ID: 35444715
Yes, I unfortunately have to agree. But I think 10-12 users is not too much to do a manual archiving with Outlook.
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by:eMicros
ID: 35444768
Thanks for your reply

Sounds like a decent solution. Will i need to login on the "export" workstation as each user in turn, open outlook, run the export to PST, then delete the old emails, then logout, login as next user. etc.

Or is there a trick to login as one user and just connect to different exchange stores?
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by:The_Kirschi
ID: 35444804
The windows login will of course be the same but you need an Outlook profile for each mailbox separately and close and re-open for each mailbox to export.
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by:eMicros
ID: 35444816
Ok, i get it.

Thanks for your help, and cgaliher too. I'll try your suggestions and get back in touch.
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Assisted Solution

by:Cliff Galiher
Cliff Galiher earned 1000 total points
ID: 35444895
Actually, by granting the "full access" permission to the mailboxes on the exchange server, you can run through the outlook configuration wizard (which runs when you choose to add a new account) and attach to each mailbox without creating new profiles or logging out of the workstation. Simply add an account, connect to the mailbox you need to export, run the export, then delete the account. Rinse and repeat.

-Cliff
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Author Comment

by:eMicros
ID: 35444904
Thanks. I'll do that !
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Author Comment

by:eMicros
ID: 35444953
Ok, ive tried your suggestion and it doesnt work :(
I cannot add more than one exchange server account, and i cannot delete the main account. Maybe i could add a secondary useless pop3 account and then make it deafult and then delete the exchange, and tehn add another exchange. But i dont want to do that.

I've tried in outlook, and ive tried in control panel->mail

I think multiple profiles actually are necessary, unless you have a plan?
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Accepted Solution

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Cliff Galiher earned 1000 total points
ID: 35445028
Actually, what I've always used is the "additional mailboxes" option. Go to your existing Exchange account, go to the advanced properties, and one of the tabs (varies by Outlook version) has a field where you can add additional mailboxes. In the rare times where I need to export in this fashion, I just add all the mailboxes at one time then can select each mailbox in Outlook for export. Sorry, should've explained that before...

-Cliff
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Author Comment

by:eMicros
ID: 35446805
OK

Ive tried the export from outlook 2003 and that maxes out at just under 2gb as well.
So i have the same issue really! I have PSTs over 2gb on other machines, not sure why im stuck to that limit on an export.
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Expert Comment

by:Cliff Galiher
ID: 35447773
I've not hasps that issue with outlook 2003 and above. You may be having other issues...check exchange events and health.

-Cliff
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Author Comment

by:eMicros
ID: 35448012
It was definitely a size limit issue, because it stopped an sai there was an error with the export. I cancelled then restarted it, forgetting to delete the pst the first run had created and it complained that the pst file had reached it's limit
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Author Comment

by:eMicros
ID: 35448025
Ntfs file system on the pc by the way, not fat! I did check :)
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by:Cliff Galiher
ID: 35448532
And you have ensured you are using outlook 2003? 2002 has a 2 gb limit and does not support Unicode.

-Cliff
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Expert Comment

by:lucid8
ID: 35449342
The ExMerge issue you are encountering is because

1.      ExMerge only supports the ANSI PST Format which has a 2GB limit
**ExMerge will not warn you if a PST goes over 2GB, it will just corrupt the PST and you won’t know it until you try to open it.

** ANSI PST's actually start to degrade at about 1.8GB so I would not go over that limit in order to ensure the data is recoverable

2.      Here is an article on how to script the creation of overflow PST's if you reach the 2GB limit http://theessentialexchange.com/blogs/michael/archive/2009/10/16/exporting-mailboxes-larger-than-2-gb-on-an-exchange-server.aspx

3.      Alternatively, you can look at 3rd party tools that can do what you’re asking about and more, just put a search into Google for something like “Export or Recover Mailboxes from an Exchange Offline EDB or Live Production Exchange Server” "Export Mailboxes from Exchange Information Store"  or "Export Mailboxes from Exchange 2003 Information Store" or "EDB to PST" and you will find several options.  
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Author Comment

by:eMicros
ID: 35452533
Cliff

I have tried again the process you describe, adding all the additional mailboxes , and have so far exported a different users mailbox which is nearly 4gb at present so clearly this issue where the other one bombed at 1.8gb must be a separate issue which I'll revisit after i've exported the other mailboxes.  It did complain about limits on the original export, but subsequently opening outlook after it had bombed complained each time about exchange being in recovery mode. The ost file was no good, removed account , removed ost and started again. So far so good. Will be back in touch.

Thank you
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Author Comment

by:eMicros
ID: 35452534
and yes, outlook 2003 :)
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Author Comment

by:eMicros
ID: 35688940
Thanks , I've managed to sort this now using cgalihers suggestions. I didnt create a new user with additional perms though for exchange, i just logged in as administrator on a client pc , added all the mailboxes and ran off the exports. took a while, but was a simple solution
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