Recovering from Exchange disaster - help loading data

Posted on 2011-10-14
Last Modified: 2012-05-12
I had my only exchange server die on me and I had a backup issue as well.

Long short had to create a new server and have all of their old emails in .pst files. It kind of works out in a sense to have a new dB since it was very large anyway. My question is how exacly is the best way to get everyones contacts calendars and old emails into the database.

I only want to put 2010-2011 info in and leave the rst as an archive. I have heard that with .pst files the dB size may swell due to redundant email instances. What is my best option here. Basicall my users have just yesterday and today's email.

Question by:zyanj
    LVL 17

    Expert Comment

    There are several ways you can handle this.

    Option 1 : Use the Get-MailboxImportRequest commandlet to import the people's PST files back into their mailboxes.  We use this every time we need to migrate from one exchange organization to another.  This is available for Exchange 2010 SP1.  On Exchange 2007, you can do pretty much the same thing but it's a bit more complex because you have to set up a 2nd machine which has the 32 bit version of the exchange management console, plus outlook 2007 installed.  On Exchange 2003, you would use EXMERGE to merge in the mail files to the mail databases.

    Option 2 : Using outlook, use File -> Open -> Import -> Import from another program or file -> OUtlook Data File (.pst) -> Do not import duplicates.  This you will have to do at the client side.

    Option 1 is much nicer :)  Here are some commands you may find useful, but please read up on the Internet about them first.

    The following command will give members of the Universal Security Group "Mailbox Import" (which you have to create beforehand) the ability to do mail exports and imports

    New-ManagementRoleAssignment -Name "Import Export Mailbox Admins" -SecurityGroup "Mailbox Import" -Role "Mailbox Import Export"

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    The following queues up a mailbox import. You MUST use a UNC and therefore you may have to play around with permissions on the data source where all the PST's are sitting.

    New-MailboxImportRequest -Mailbox trond.skagestad -FilePath \\mgmt11.mgmt.local\PST\trond.skagestad.pst -ConflictResolutionOption KeepLatestItem -BadItemLimit 10

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    The following shows you the queues, and also shows you the status of how things are.

    Get-MailboxImportRequest | Get-MailboxImportRequestStatistics | ft Status,TargetAlias,Percent*,BytesTransferred*

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    The following can remove stuff from the queue, based on their current status.

    Get-MailboxImportRequest -Status InProgress | Remove-MailboxImportRequest
    Get-MailboxImportRequest -Status Queued | Remove-MailboxImportRequest
    Get-MailboxImportRequest -Status Completed | Remove-MailboxImportRequest
    Get-MailboxImportRequest -Status Failed | Remove-MailboxImportRequest

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    LVL 6

    Expert Comment


    If your server was not Exchange 2007 / 20010 but good old Exchange 2003, you will want to use Exmerge Tool

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    It will allow you to bulk import Items from PST selecting the starting date and ending date of elements you want to import



    LVL 17

    Accepted Solution

    Regarding ExMerge be aware that it does not support UNICODE PST files, only ANSI and ExMerge wont tell you what the problem is it will just give you a nonsense error that will make you run in circles so its going to depend on how you came about the PST files.   If the PST files were exported via Outlook 2003 and later that they will be UNICODE so best to import via Outlook.

    Now if you are using 2010 then Lester gave you some great information above, however you will want to ensure that you are patched up to SP1 RU5 since there have been a ton of fixes on the import/export mechanism and also allot of fixes around certain ANSI data types within messages that cause the import to fail and the CAS service to die.  To be clear I ma not talking about ANSI PST files but fields within legacy messages that have an improper ANSI data type.  Previous versions of Exchange were more forgiving and allowed this to be stored without incident but 2010 just pukes. MS has found and fixed most of these but there are still a few rogue incidents out there but if you patch to SP1 RU5 you will have less chance of running into it.  If you do experience this then SOME people have been able to work around it by importing via Outlook OR by opening the PST file and then re-exporting it to the new UNICODE PST format.
    LVL 17

    Expert Comment

    Thanks for the points!

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