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ExMerge replacement that can handle mailboxes larger than 2GB?

Posted on 2012-03-28
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Last Modified: 2012-07-18
My company is in the process of migrating our internal Exchange 2003 mail to a hosted Office 365 service.  As part of this project, we have a number of mailboxes that are still on our internal server which will not be migrated, so we want to archive them.  Normally I do this using ExMerge, but it has a 2GB file size limit when exporting to a PST file, and some of the mailboxes are larger than this.  I know I could use Outlook to archive the entire mailbox, but I would rather not do that if I can avoid it.

Are there any tools that you can recommend which perform the same function as ExMerge, but can handle any size mailbox?
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Question by:FWeston
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lucid8 earned 500 total points
ID: 37782166
Yes there are several tools on the market but only a few that do an accurate and complete job.  Do a Google search for;

"Export, or Recover Mailboxes, Folders, or Individual Items within an Exchange Offline EDB or Production Database"
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by:lucid8
ID: 37782235
BTW the issue you are experiencing is due to the PST format that ExMerge supports which is ANSI and it has a 2GB limit and actually it starts to degrade at about 1.8GB.  To make things even more challenging ExMerge will not tell you that its reached its limit instead it will just corrupt the PST and you wont find out until you try to open it.  

What you want is a tool that can utilize the UNICODE PST format which has a 20GB limit and if you have mailboxes larger then 20GB you want to find a tool that supports "PST Overflow Split Option" for both ANSI and UNICODE Formats i.e. if the PST size limit is reached it will spawn a new PST, i.e. Joe Nixon.pst,  Joe Nixon1.pst, Joe Nixon2.pst,  Joe Nixon3.pst etc
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by:FWeston
ID: 37782263
Yes, I did see your product and it appears to do what I need, but it's too expensive.  We have mailboxes in 5 or 6 stores, so the cost would be over $2k for a 3 month license.  There are only a handful of mailboxes larger than 2 GB, maybe 10, so I can't justify the cost.  I know I could move all the mailboxes to one store, but that's a pain.  I think it would attract more smaller customers if you had a per mailbox licensing scheme, i.e. 10 mailboxes = $500.  I could justify that.
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by:lucid8
ID: 37782279
How many mailboxes overall are you dealing with?
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by:FWeston
ID: 37782286
I don't have an exact count but would estimate at 35.
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by:lucid8
ID: 37782366
OK so  based upon your situation I would recommend doing one of the following;

NOTE: First thing I would do is move your users to office 365 so that you can ensure that no additional email is coming into the existing Exchange server otherwise you will need to do multiple exports to play catch up.  This will allow users to send and receive new mail but not historical until you ingest the PST's.  

OPTION 1: Move all the larger mailboxes to one store, and then use a 3rd party export tool.   Agreed its a pain but if you move the users first there is no downtime effecting the users during the MB move process and if you  turn on circular logging during the moves you will avoid log buildup which can get quite large during moves.

OPTION 2:  Identify the larger mailboxes and export them via Outlook 2003 or later which by default is UNICODE PST

OPTION 3: use ExMerge and export items by date.  Not fun and its very time consuming but it will work and its free.
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by:FWeston
ID: 37782661
The mailboxes I need to export are for employees who no longer work here - so they are not being used for anything, we just never got around to archiving them.  I am going to use Outlook to export the mailboxes which are larger than 2GB.  Not very efficient but it seems like the least amount of effort and cost.  Thanks for your help.
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Expert Comment

by:lucid8
ID: 37782669
Thanks for the update and agree with your analysis since its a small #
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