Retrieve Outlook Rules from dead server

Posted on 2013-06-20
Last Modified: 2013-06-24
We have retrieved the HDD of our Windows 2003 Server, which recently gave up on life.

The clients all had local .ost files that we could export their Exchange mail and contacts from, but we are just missing the Outlook Rules (server based ones) and the appointments from the Public Calender.

The drive won't boot into Windows, (which would have been the easiest way) so I am simply wondering if there is a way to either extract the information somehow from the file structure.... OR create a new exchange environment elsewhere and then copy over the relevant files to allow us to extract these from the new environment.

Many thanks in advance.
Question by:JedNebula
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LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 39264541
IF you still have the OST, you should be able to open the cached copy of the mailbox with Outlook. With that, you can export the rules and then later re-import them:

Author Comment

ID: 39265251
Hi Julian123,

Thanks very much for the reply.

If I go to the Send/Receive tab, click Work Offline and then try and access my Rules, I get this error:

Does this mean I don't have a local cached copy?

I'm not sure this would work for the Public Calender entries either would it?

LVL 63

Expert Comment

by:Simon Butler (Sembee)
ID: 39265313
Is the domain dead?
If not then you can recover Excahnge and mount the databases.
If it is, then you are probably out of luck. The rules in public folders are stored in the server and most third party utilities for extracting the content don't go after them - users only want the core data.

It is possible to build another Exchange environment that can mount the databases, but everything has to be identical - servername, Exchange org name etc.


Author Comment

ID: 39265417
Hi Simon,

We had one server which should have been replaced ages ago. It was our domain controller and our Exchange Server. There were three hard disks running of a raid controller.

It looks like the motherboard has gone on it, so we pulled the drives out, backed them up to a client machine, one by one and managed to generate a VHD file from an on-line utility.

We tried to boot the VHD in MS Virtual PC 2007, which to begin with wouldn't get anywhere so I followed this link here and repaired the MBR and rebuilt the NTFS boot sector.

The machine then got a bit further in VPC, but still didn't reach the logon screen. I belive Windows Server 2003 has a white progress bar at the bottom of the screen when booting. This is how the window has looked since about 10pm last night:

So Yeah I think the domain is dead Simon. All the clients are still running off their domain accounts still though (along with the permission/sharing problems that come along with that.)
Efficient way to get backups off site to Azure

This user guide provides instructions on how to deploy and configure both a StoneFly Scale Out NAS Enterprise Cloud Drive virtual machine and Veeam Cloud Connect in the Microsoft Azure Cloud.

LVL 63

Accepted Solution

Simon Butler (Sembee) earned 500 total points
ID: 39265464
It hasn't got past the first step in the boot. I presume you have tried safe mode?
Your options are probably limited to what I said above if you cannot get the domain up.
Single point of failure with only one DC. If you had two then it would be trivial to restore Exchange.


Author Comment

ID: 39265674
I have tried Safe mode. It does get a bit further, but stops on this screen:

safe mode
I guess I will need to write them off then.
LVL 63

Expert Comment

by:Simon Butler (Sembee)
ID: 39265925
That error is covered here:

Although that is pointing to the problem being an external device.
It something with the boot record, that is for sure.


Author Comment

ID: 39265996
We did have a tape drive on the box (and it was an HP server) so maybe the comments match my problem. I though the first one looked hopeful. I will leave it on over the weekend just in case.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 39271026
Will just have to write them off as lost :-(

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