I take weekly backups of exchange in full. I also take complete weekly backups of the entire server.

It is a Server 2003 R2 with AD and Exchange 2003 all on one box.

One users inbox has disappeared. She has 19000+ junk items now. It is possible the inbox got mixed into the junk. Regardless it is such a huge mess she is not going to go through all of that....

I want to restore he mailbox from the backup.

I followed this MS KB http://support.microsoft.com/kb/823176 I had to use Method 3. I have a VM of Server 2003 R2 with exchange but I am having failures on the restore from NT backup. The backup log just states to check the application log.... Application log points to backup log...

Only info Is failed to restore

Only thing different is the computer name...

The only error I can find is in the Application log.

Information Store Database not found

All others just say that the backup failed.

Any assistance is greatly appreciated.


I have successfully proven I can restore the DB into a recovery storage group in my VM Unfortunately due to the actual account being on a different store I am unable to do the recovery... Error is The attempt to log on to the Microsoft Exchange Server computer has failed. The MAPI provider failed. Microsoft Exchange Server Information Store ID no: 8004011d-0512-00000000

Two questions

QUESTION 1 Should I repeat my steps on the production exchange server in the recover storage group? then merge into her original account? I am just concerned with doing recovery like that on the live server....

QUESTION 2 Is there any way I can extract her .PST from my recovery VM and then import into her outlook?

On the Recovery VM:

I restored the raw DB from my full backup

repaired it with ESEUTIL

then mounted in the recovery store.

Was thinking I could just repeat and mount in the main store on the VM?

Thanks for the suggestions.

  • 2
    Have you ever successfully restored anything from these backups before? – Ben Pilbrow Mar 5 '11 at 14:29
  • To be clear you are getting stuck on method 3 step 9? – pablo Mar 5 '11 at 14:39
  • 1
    If you don't have a working Exchange server backup then i'd suggest that restoring one person's mail is probably the least of your worries. How was the backup made in the first place? And as Ben says, have you ever successfully restored from it? If the user's stuff is in the deleted items folder, it will be because they've put it there. I appreciate they don't want to have to sort it out but with no working backup that might be the best option right now. – Rob Moir Mar 5 '11 at 15:11
  • Her items are not in the deleted items :(, Yes i have restored individual files from the backups... – Campo Mar 5 '11 at 15:55
  • The backups are made with NTbackup – Campo Mar 5 '11 at 16:01

The way you've described it, option 3 may not be the best for you (I'm confused why you didn't use option 2?). In fact, Method 3 makes less and less sense every time I read it (probably only because it's Saturday though).

Method 3: Restore a Mailbox from Backup to a Recovery Server

Use this method if the mailbox object in the recovery storage group cannot be matched to a user object in Active Directory that has the same msExchMailboxGUID value. This situation may occur if the user account is deleted from Active Directory or if the Exchange attributes are removed from the user account, and the mailbox in the Exchange store was not reconnected or was purged.

That aside, the following things spring to mind.

  • Make sure your disk layout of your VM is the same as your production server. If you have separate volumes for Windows, Exchange DBs and Exchange Logs make sure these exist on the new VM with the same drive letters.
  • In your restore, do a custom restore and untick the Public Folders. I've had a weird issue before where the Public Folders weren't in the backup (on purpose) and that messed up the Information Store restore for no good reason

You might also want to try something a bit different (although this is a bit more involved). Basically, totally blow away this VM (please uninstall Exchange properly though for your own sanity), start from absolutely nothing and restore each required component.

Make sure this VM is not connected to your production network

  • Install Windows
  • Update Windows to the same Service Pack level as the production server
  • Restore the latest Active Directory backup you have onto this VM
  • Install Exchange using the setup.exe /disasterrecovery switch
  • Install the same Exchange Service Pack as the production server using the update.exe /disasterrecovery switch
  • Try your restore again
  • ExMerge the restored Mailbox into a PST and copy whatever is missing into their production Mailbox

Meta: You gotta love that KB article. It says This article describes two methods that you can use to recover or to restore a single mailbox in Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 then promptly gives you 3 options!

  • Thanks for this info. Yah i did notice that it said there were two then gave the third option. There is no recovery storage group.... :( I will try the full restore option. Issue is no computers and no space for a full restore :(. I guess I will have to hack something together to get the space required. Or setup a physical machine. I have a complete backup of the machine including the system state I could try restoring that. I have successfully restored files from the backup. But never the full machine. let alone to different hardware. – Campo Mar 5 '11 at 15:51
  • You create a recovery storage group when you need it (also a while since I've done that). I think you just right click on the server and choose "New Recover Storage Group" – Ben Pilbrow Mar 5 '11 at 15:58
  • 1
    This KB Article may be useful to you – Ben Pilbrow Mar 5 '11 at 15:59
  • I am going through this article. This does seem better. But I am getting mixed info and need some clarification. I can mount the existing database to the recovery storage group and recover the mailbox... But if I do that then I will just get the same thing? So restore from the full backup the OLD DB from last weekend to a alternate location. Mount in the recovery storage group and restore the mailbox? Thanks :) – Campo Mar 5 '11 at 16:24
  • 1
    The mystery 3rd option is more for restoring old messages for compliance than recovering individual messages that have been lost on an otherwise live system imho. Campo - if you're desperate then you might consider the exchange recovery tools from ontrack (ontrackpowercontrols.com/solutions/exchange-overview). I've done a lot of exchange DR in my time, and the ontrack tools are expensive but reliable if you can restore the database but not mount it. – Rob Moir Mar 5 '11 at 16:36

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