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exchange 2003: orphaned mailbox disappeared

Posted on 2013-01-24
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Last Modified: 2013-02-17
I had a 10GB orphaned mailbox in my mailbox store. I clicked "Run Cleanup Agent" and it disappeared. The priv1.edb file has not decreased in size by 10GB, so I have faith that the mailbox is still in there. How can I find it?
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Question by:SonicVoom
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by:FdpxAP-GJL
ID: 38817585
Did you post this as another question and then delete it? if you did I was answering your old question when you deleted it.

I think you ma have flushed the mailbox and it may be deleted.

the EDB file does not shrink automatically. it only does so when a compression takes place. With exchange 2003 I think that it only happens when you do it offline .

Regards

Gordon
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by:SonicVoom
ID: 38817594
I did delete the old question, thanks for working on it! This question cut to the chase.

I was/am afraid of that. I am in the process of copying over a backup of the store from this afternoon. I don't yet know what I'm going to do with it. I have a hope that I can mount the backup in a usable manner, and somehow export the deleted mailbox, and then import it back into exchange.

Any wisdom to flesh this out?
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by:FdpxAP-GJL
ID: 38817619
First thing, I would leave the live server alone, and back it up before doing anything else. Put that backup to one side.

What are you copying and from where to where?

If you have the EDB file from before the problems, I would use something like

http://www.kerneldatarecovery.com/exchange-server-recovery.html

That should allow you to get the mailbox back as a PST. The you just copy the data back to the user folder.

Gordon
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by:SonicVoom
ID: 38817673
I'm reconstructing an .edb from this afternoon, copying it to the exchange server. I was thinking that I was likely to need to import or attach it to exchange somehow to get data out of it.

While your recommendation to not touch the server is obviously extremely smart, I'm half way finished moving this 45GB file, and do not like the thought of starting that over.

I have already added an (empty) mailbox back in place of the one I deleted. At least it will still get emails if any are sent this late, which is unlikely. I'd considered looking into reconstructing that mailbox from what emails might be still in transaction logs- At very least to cover the gap between today's backup and restore. But maybe all available just incase this isn't finished by the time business starts in 8ish hours.

I'll try Exchange Server Data Recovery as soon as I get my .edb. Should I bother with the transaction logs? I've never needed to before, but this opportunity seems ripe if any.

thank you thank you thank you for everything already!
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by:cpmcomputers
ID: 38817954
Just a word of caution here
This exchange 2003 is on an sbs 2003 box
So can have only one administrative database

Be careful not to bring your current
Database down in the process
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by:cpmcomputers
ID: 38817961
Did the user have cached exchange mode enabled in which case they may have an ost file on their pc that can be recovered to an importable pst file using osttopst

Alternatively use Gordon's above recovery suggestion  (personally I have done this using a product from Stellar Pheonix
That allows recovery of mailboxes from the
Old edb on another pc (thus avoiding damaging the current setup on the sbs box
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by:SonicVoom
ID: 38818301
I admit I don't know what you're referring to by "administrative database".

I'm confused because my .edb didn't mount correctly when I tried to add it as a recovery storage group. I probably set the file paths incorrectly...

I first watched a couple youtube videos on mounting recovery storage group, but the backup came from ntbackup, not raw .edb

When I mount my recovery storage group, it shows Logons and Mailboxes inside, but both are empty. Can someone point me to a very blatant tutorial?

I'm making another backup first, but I'm nervous about deleting the recovery storage group, because its mailbox store has the exact name as the live store: "Mailbox store (SERVER-001), I'm terrified that exchange will screw up and delete the live one. I'm being irrational, right? :)
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by:cpmcomputers
ID: 38818336
I meant first administrative group/ first storage group
The recovery group will only show mailboxes available for reconnection that have not been deleted within the past 30 days

I am a bit confused in that you say the recovery storage group did not mount and yet you then say it shows logins and mailboxes ?

I would hold fire in deleting anything til you work out what exactly is going on here
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by:cpmcomputers
ID: 38818417
If you want to pursue recovery via the recovery storage group method I would suggest you read the article and follow to manual moving of the files to ensure you do not delete your "live " database

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/824126

Personally I would look to a third party solution such as suggested above
Particularly as exmerge has a 2GB limit and the file youare looking to recover is 10Gb
(Not impossible but you will have to do multiple passes of the file and be inventive about what you select to recover on each pass)

How many users do you have and what is the size of the .edb and stm files
SBS2003 has a 75GB limit remember

I have just created a recovery group on an sbs2003 server for you as a test
Deleting an unmounted database from the recovery storage group prompts it will remove it but you will need to delete the files manually - by default these are placed

C:\Program Files\Exchsrvr\Recovery Storage Group
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cpmcomputers earned 500 total points
ID: 38818559
Hi I have been looking further into this for you

I think the problem I mentioned earlier is going to prevent you from using the recovery group

The full details are contained in the following article

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa998109(v=exchg.65).aspx

Specifically,


"Ordinarily, recovering a deleted Exchange mailbox is a straightforward operation. If the mailbox still exists in the original database, you can right-click it in Exchange System Manager and connect it to any Active Directory account that you want. This has the effect of "undeleting" the mailbox. You can then access items as if the mailbox had never been deleted.

However, if you have purged a mailbox (or items from it) that must be recovered, you must then restore a backup of the database that still contains both the mailbox and the items. If the mailbox is still in its original connected state, a recovery storage group can be used to extract purged items. However, a recovery storage group cannot be used to extract data if the entire mailbox has been purged or moved.Nonetheless, the recovery storage group can be useful in recovering a purged mailbox. As described earlier, when using a recovery storage group, data restore and data extraction are two separate recovery steps. You can restore a database containing a purged mailbox to a recovery storage group and then move the database to an ordinary storage group to perform data extraction for a purged mailbox.

You will not be able to do the final step in SBS2003 because it only allows a maximum of one storage group
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by:cpmcomputers
ID: 38818671
Some other factors to take into account

Run Cleanup agent does not delete mailboxes (that is a specific wizard in exchange or a prompt if deleting via active directory) It only removes mailboxes that have been manually purged ( again a wizard in exchange) or that have passed the mailbox retention period (default 30 days ) set

Check at ESM Mailbox store (right click properties)/ Limits tab
If the checkbox at "Do not permanently delete  mailboxes or items until the store has been backed up" was not ticked You may find that the backups you are attempting to use do not have the mailbox in them - that will be a question of the timing?

Hopefully it is (or was) ticked I cannot recall if is is by default
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by:Manpreet SIngh Khatra
ID: 38823931
Run cleanup agent would only remove a mailbox from ESM when the number of days for keeping a mailbox in disconnected container is completed

Rest this or any deleted items from Mailbox can never regain any physical space in EDB files so you always have to run through Offline defrag or if Ent create a new MailboxDatabase and move users to get all the free space :)

- Rancy
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by:SonicVoom
ID: 38899588
Thanks for your help
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