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I have an older 2008 R2 box running Exchange 2010 on it. Right now im using Windows Backup to backup the Exchange data but would like to know if im able to just backup the Exchange .edb file instead of the entire system? I really only care about the Exchange data on this server and want to make sure I can restore it one day, if needed.

I can't seem to find a solid answer for this question on the web. It looks like its fine to just backup the .edb as i've seen some granular restore programs that are only asking for the .edb file.

Can anyone give me a proper answer to this? Im thinking, worst case, I can spin up a new server and load that .edb, or something along those lines.

Thank you!

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    Define "proper answer" it should be clear with just a little research that what you want to do is inadvisable, at best. – Jim B Dec 22 '17 at 3:37
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You can't restore Exchange completely and fully from just a backup of the EDB file. You can use third party tools to extract and export the mailboxes from the EDB file but that hardly sounds like a sound disaster recovery plan to me.

Your question smacks me as being a bit "penny wise and pound foolish". Why not just continue to perform proper backups with Windows Server Backup?

  • Our new backup strategy backs up Exchange up a local server and then it gets pushed up to AWS for DR. The versioning and retention policies you can set in AWS work really good if you have a single file. It gets a little messy when dealing with the files that Win Backup creates. But, I need a solid full backup... so, this will not work and ill continue doing what im doing or maybe look in to a solution that can image the entire volume in to a single file. Thanks for reply. – saleetzo Dec 22 '17 at 18:43
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My understanding is that the way to do that is to put the Exchange data on a drive that doesn't contain anything but Exchange files and then only back up that drive, or then do an application backup.

Technet says, about application backups of Exchange:

Backups taken with WSB occur at the volume level, and the only way to perform an application-level backup or restore is to select an entire volume. To back up a database and its log stream, you must back up the entire volume containing the database and logs, not just the individual folders. You can't back up any data without backing up the entire volume containing the data.

You should probably also be aware that:

When restoring Exchange data, all backed up databases must be restored together. You can't restore a single database.

This article shows someone only backing the Exchange data drives.

It might be a good idea to back up the entire server on a less-frequent schedule and the Exchange data only on a more frequent schedule.

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    Yeah I saw a lot of stuff on backing up the entire volume. I guess I can just keep doing what im doing. It does look like it could be much cleaner in 2016, compared to 2008 Windows Backup. Thanks for assist! – saleetzo Dec 22 '17 at 18:36
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Have you checked https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd876854(v=exchg.141).aspx?

By default, volumes that contain operating system components or applications are included in the backup and can't be excluded.

  • Good link here. I think I only glimpsed through this when I first saw it. But, I like that Win is doing the consistency checks for Exchange while doing the backup process. Looks like i'll be sticking with the Win backup solution. Thanks for assist. – saleetzo Dec 22 '17 at 18:46

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