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Technical Info: Exchange Server 2003 in a mixed AD 2003/2008 environment on a Windows Server 2003 Standard 32-bit computer.

Background: We recently changed backup solutions. Of course, just before we did someone deleted all of his sent items and didn't report it to us for a couple of weeks. Now, the best solution we have for recovering those emails is a backup of the priv1.edb and priv1.stm files created a while back during a defrag of the Exchange server database.

What I tried: I installed Exchange on a secondary server, hoping that I could pop in those files and Exmerge the relevant pst file out of there. However, I didn't want to risk any conflicts with the live Exchange server, so I disconnected it from the network. But then I discovered it won't let me go into ESM without being on the network, so this wouldn't work.

Questions:

  • How does one export a mailbox out of the Exchange database (EDB) file, without attaching it to a server?
  • Am I going to have to attach the database file to the live Exchange server during off-hours, exmerge the pst files, and then swap the live database back?
  • Or, can I protect the live database by setting the main Information Store to offline while I work on the second instance of Exchange Server with the old database file?

Any advice is much appreciated!

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1 Answer

up vote 2 down vote accepted

The approach I took previously, such restoring old data from Exchange 5.5 when we long ago moved to Exchange 2003 was this:

  1. Created a new domain on a disconnected environment, having the name of the original server/domain.
  2. Restored the Exchange to the new, disconnected environment and recovered all the data.

That was long time ago, when the virtualization was not really "known", today that would ways easier. So build new virtual environment and restore all the data there.

You need info such as this. Google for more.

OR you can go ahead and get a tool which can open edb files. Those are also available. They might be expensive though.

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The most popular utility seems to be Enstella, which runs $300. I don't think it will make monetary sense for us to break down and do that. –  erictheavg Jan 23 '12 at 15:54
    
@erictheavg - So, just go ahead and recreate the "restore" environment on VM. –  Vick Vega Jan 23 '12 at 15:57
    
I got distracted for much of the day, but yes, I am setting up a VM instance and will extract the data that way. It's just good to check that I'm not overlooking something simpler than that. Thanks! –  erictheavg Jan 23 '12 at 21:52
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