Achieve Dial Tone Recovery in Exchange Server 2013

Updated on July 3, 2019

Alternative plans can be very useful in times of need. Today's discussion will focus on one such alternative. Case in point – Exchange Server 2013 Dial Tone Recovery. Let's start with a brief introduction. When dealing with failures which affect the Exchange Server, the time invested in repairing or recovering the damaged Exchange database can prove to be quite expensive. As such, a good approach is to use some alternate mailbox for the time being.

Dial tone portability is a feature of MS Exchange Server 2013 specifically designed to fulfill this need. It provides a limited business continuity solution by serving as a temporary mailbox while the original mailbox is being repaired. The temporary mailbox can be on the same Exchange Server or any other Exchange Server in the organization. This process of using this dial tone portability feature is called Exchange Dial Tone Recovery.

Dial tone recovery can prove to be a boon in situations of disaster. If an Exchange Server becomes unavailable, mail account holders whose mailboxes reside on that server will be unable to send and receive emails. As such, it becomes the obligation of the organization managing the said Exchange server to offer an alternative to the users for the time during which the original server is being repaired. It is in such a situation that a temporary dial tone mailbox database is created. Though this temporary mailbox restricts them from using their contacts or meetings, it is still a big relief from absolute outage. When the affected server comes back online, the dial tone mailbox's contents can be merged with the original mailbox database.

Dial Tone Recovery Process

Though it is pretty much clear now what dial tone means and how it functions, the following detailed steps covering the exact procedure of the process will further enhance your understanding:

Situation: Exchange server becomes inaccessible due to some issue.

Steps to be followed: 

  1. Create a temporary dial tone database.
  2. Shift the affected users to this temporary database.

Situation: Original Exchange Server comes back online.

Steps to be followed:

  1. If the dial tone database is on a different server, transfer it back to the server the affected database was on.
  2. Create a dummy database with recovery enabled. This dummy database will be replaced by the dial tone database.
  3. Replace the dummy database with the dial tone database by overwriting the dummy with the dial tone.
  4. Merge the ready dial tone database into the original recovered Exchange database.
  5. Perform any leftover cleanup activities.

Important - Before you begin the recovery process

Before you start with the above mentioned process, please take care of the following things:

  • The total time taken in the creation and activation of the dial tone database is about 5 minutes. The time to restore the original Exchange database could be longer depending upon how you are recovering it. (A recommended way of recovering Exchange Server database follows this section).
  • There is a limit on the maximum number of databases on one Exchange Server. Exchange Server 2013 Standard Edition allows a maximum of 5 databases per server and Express Edition allows 50. Before attempting to create a dial tone database, make sure that there is room for it on the server where you are planning to create it.
  • Only users with special permissions can perform this process. Only the people in the Organization Management role group have the necessary permissions to perform a dial tone recovery for Exchange Server 2013.

Recommended Way to perform Exchange Server 2013 Recovery

There are various ways to recover an inaccessible Exchange Server. However, you will come to realize that the best way to do so is by using a professional third-party software. It is efficient, saves time, saves effort and gets the job done smoothly. One of the best software available online which excel in Exchange recovery is Stellar Repair for Exchange. This software uses advanced algorithms to facilitate quick and accurate Exchange Database (EDB) repair. Some salient features of this software are:

  • Repairs corrupted EDB files which lead to the Exchange Server becoming inaccessible
  • Restores data stored in corrupted EDB files as MS Outlook PST files
  • Enables saving recovered data in other formats such as EML, MSG, PDF, RTF, HTML as well
  • Exports recovered mailboxes to Live Exchange Server
  • Recovers accidentally deleted mailboxes
  • Allows users to search for particular emails in the repaired file
  • Generates Log report of the entire recovery process
  • Works with a wide range of Exchange server versions including MS Exchange Server 2013 / 2010 / 2007 / 2003 / 2000 and 5.5

Wrapping it Up

So the next time you find that your Exchange Server Mailbox is not available, repair it using Stellar Mailbox Recovery and restore all your data. And while that's happening, don't miss out on important emails. Perform a dial tone recovery and keep working.