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We have recently had to reinstall a very unhappy Exchange 2003 server for a client, and whilst rebuilding their server we moved them onto a temporary one.

During the course of all this, ExMerge was used due to Windows being so broken that none of the backup software could run. As a number of the user mailboxes were way over 2GB, we had to do date ranges of a few months at a time to avoid ExMerge's 2GB limit.

We went back as far as 2006, as the files produced by ExMerge seemed empty that far back.

Unfortunately, one of the users has reported that around 2 3rds of their contacts are missing, and that pre-2006 sounds about right for the missing items.

Is there any way I can mount the old EDB file into Exchange, or otherwise read their contacts into a usable format?

The server is running Windows Server 2003 SBS R2 (SP2), and Exchance 2003 (SP2, I think).

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Ontrack Powercontrols will do this for you. It might be a bit costly to buy just for a one-off though, but you might have luck with the trial version. I don't think it has any limits except a 14-day trial period.

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You could mount the EDB in a Recovery Storage Group on the new server. Then you could connect to that mailbox and exmerge just the contacts out.

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That very much depends on how the new server was built... it doesn't look like he used setup /disasterrecovery, or he would have just mounted the old database instead of ExMerging it out :-( – Massimo Dec 16 '09 at 20:32
I agree, more information is needed. – DanBig Dec 16 '09 at 21:13

How exactly did you rebuild the server?

And, BTW, why did you go the ExMerge route if the database was good?

It's quite easy to rebuild an Exchange server if Active Directory is working correctly, as most of Exchange's configuration is stored there; the only time where you have to actually rebuild the whole thing from scratch is when AD is badly damaged, too.

And even then, it's perfectly possible to rebuild the domain and the Exchange server in such a way that the old database can stillbe mounted, provided A) the database is actually undamaged and B) you get some tricky details right (names and paths, mostly).

Please provide some more details on your issue; anyway, if the database is actually mountable, then a way can surely be found to mount it somewhere; maybe not on the same server, but even a temporary recovery one will do, until you ExMerge out what you need.

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The original problem with the server was that Windows was completely broken in very strange ways, so we had to handle it carefully. AD was sort-of working, but lots of important services were broken such as the Volume Copy service meaning the backups would not run. I believe the exchange database is usable (as in not damaged), but remember it's from the "old" domain. I have tried to mount things in a recovery storage group, but it doesn't appear to work, maybe another artificial limit imposed by SBS? – Drarok Dec 17 '09 at 13:54
Wait, wait, wait, there's just too much going on here. Was that server a domain controller, too? Was it the only one? Did you rebuild the domain from scratch? – Massimo Dec 17 '09 at 14:59
...did you say "SBS"?!? – Massimo Dec 17 '09 at 15:01

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