How to repair Corrupt Exchange Mailboxes

Updated on July 3, 2019

Most Outlook users have Exchange accounts, and when Outlook connects to the Exchange server, all the mailbox items are synchronized with it automatically. Any organization that uses MS Exchange Server typically stores hundreds of mailboxes on it. Thus, in the event of technical faults with the server, a lot of time and effort is invested into problem finding and rectifying. But often, even after putting a lot of effort hours into it, some problems cannot be fixed since they are just too complex.

It is in such scenarios that a third-party Exchange database repair tools come into the picture to quickly fix complicated issues and bring the server back on track. We’ll be discussing one such reliable tool that will help you fulfill Exchange mailbox repair request with ease and proficiency. Before we look at the solution, let’s understand the root causes:

Reasons behind Exchange Corruption

When we use the term ‘Exchange Corruption’, it means EDB file corruption. EDB file is the Exchange Database file which is the storehouse of all data that resides on the Exchange server. Damage or corruption in this file leads to corruption of the Exchange server. 

Some common causes behind EDB file corruption include:

  • Virus infection
  • Improper system shutdown
  • Application malfunction
  • User errors
  • Missing database objects

Database Errors that lead to Corruption

More often than not, the server displays some symptoms that eventually lead up to corruption. These symptoms are displayed in the form of errors that unexpectedly crop up while trying to perform various operations on the database. Here’s a list of some common Exchange error codes that lead up to corruption:

  • Error -515: "JET_errInvalidLogSequence"
  • One of the log files is missing or doesn’t match the other logs in the sequence.

  • Error 1018: “JET_errReadVerifyFailure”
  • Page-level corruption in the EDB file.

  • Error 1216:  "JET_errAttachedDatabaseMismatch"

Assessment of header information in log files and databases shows some important files have been removed. Find here more about Jet Engine Errors

  • Error 1601: "Operation terminated with error -1601 (JET_errRecordNotFound, The key was not found) after 2.354 seconds."
  • The internal structure of STM file has been damaged while trying to repair it.

  • Error 1605: "Operation terminated with error -1605 (JET_errKeyDuplicate, Illegal duplicate key) after seconds."
  • Premature exit of Eseutil /p while rebuilding B-trees directly

  • Event ID 9175: "The Microsoft Exchange Server computer is not available. Either there are network problems or the Microsoft Exchange Server computer is down for maintenance. The MAPI provider failed."
  • Exchange mailbox failed to mount since Information Store Service was stopped or is damaged

  • Exchange Dirty Shutdown Error: "ERROR: database was not shutdown cleanly (dirty shutdown)."

Information store service was abruptly shut down causing corruption in EDB and STM files.

Exchange Mailbox Repair using ESEUTIL

Microsoft offers an Exchange mailbox repair tool called ESEUTIL to perform Exchange 2013 mailbox repair, Exchange 2010 mailbox repair as well as Exchange 2007 mailbox repair.

ESEUTIL stands for Exchange Server Database Utility, and it is an executable application that finds and repairs errors in Exchange mailbox, public folder, or transport server queue database. The utility can be executed with a number of switches, each performing different functions. The current case of fixing database corruption lies within the scope of ESEUTIL repair mode (ESEUTIL /p). This mode corrects corrupted or damaged databases at the page and table levels, but not at the application level. The syntax of ESEUTIL command in repair mode is:

ESEUTIL /P databasefilename.edb

Once the repair process completes successfully, it is advisable to run an integrity check on the database to ensure that it is consistent. For this, a tool called ‘ISInteg’ is used as follows:

ISInteg –fix

Once this tool finishes working, you should save all data into PST files using ExMerge, create a blank database and again use ExMerge to save all data from PSTs into the newly created database.

Situations Where the Repair Process Fails

Although the ESEUTIL command-line utility is a free way to fix minor issues within the corrupt database, yet it isn’t a very powerful utility. There are a number of cases in which it fails to complete the repair process or results in data loss. Consider the following scenario for instance:

The repair process initiated by executing the ESEUTIL command with the /p switch attempts to repair and validate all system tables and indexes. But, any table, index, or other data that cannot be repaired is discarded. In such a case, the repair process exits with ESE Event ID 500 which indicates that one or more bad pages of data were lost during the repair process. The event also suggests the user run an application-level integrity check on the database since the database might be left in an inconsistent state.

Limitations of ESEUTIL

As is clear from the above scenario, there are situations in which ESEUTIL tool fails to work. Additionally, there are other drawbacks associated with the utility too:

  • It takes a lot of time to complete the repair process
  • Some internal procedures carried out during the command’s execution are incorrect and can lead to severe and irreparable database damage
  • It permanently deletes all the data it cannot recover
  • The tool needs a lot of free space to perform its operation
  • It is technically demanding; Thus, it may be quite difficult to work with the tool if you’re less skilled or haven’t used it earlier

Repair using Stellar Repair for Exchange

To overcome the limitations of ESEUTIL, it is advised to use a trustworthy and efficient third-party Exchange repair software – Stellar Mailbox Exchange Recovery.

This software performs Exchange 2013 mailbox repair, Exchange 2010 mailbox repair, and Exchange 2007 mailbox repair with the help of robust scanning algorithms that searches for recoverable items within severely corrupted EDB files. All mailbox items are then restored into a new PST file which can be imported into MS Outlook. The product helps you restore deleted mailboxes as well as particular deleted emails. Further, the latest version of the software also allows you to recover Unicode EDB files. And to top it all, you can save the recovered data in a variety of formats including MSG, EML, RTF, HTML and PDF.

Below are the steps to perform Exchange 2013 database repair, Exchange 2010 database repair, and Exchange 2007 database repair using this software:

  1. Download, install and launch the software
  2. On the software’s home screen, ‘Browse-and-Open’ corrupt EDB file or ‘Find’ it if you don’t know its exact location
  3. Once the EDB file has been selected, choose a scanning mode. ‘Quick Scan’ is a fast scan while ‘Extensive Scan’ takes a little more time but yields better results.
  4. Once scanning has been initiated, you can track process status through a progress bar. As items are discovered, they’ll be populated within a tree-view list on the left panel of the screen.
  5. You can select any item to preview it in the right side of the screen
  6. Once you’re satisfied with the preview, select one or multiple items to be recovered and click on ‘Save’ from the software menu.
  7. Select the desired output format in which you wish to save your recovered data. Also pick a destination where you wish to save it.
  8. Click ‘OK’ to finish the process.

Saves Recovered Mailbox in PST format

Stellar mailbox recovery software allows you to save all data recovered from corrupted EDB file in PST format. Here’s how you can do this:

  1. Follow steps 1 through 6 of the procedure mentioned in the previous section
  2. When the software prompts you to select an output format, select PST.
  3. Also, browse and specify a destination folder to save the recovered data.
  4. Click ‘OK’

Want to export repaired mailbox to Office 365? Use Stellar Exchange Mailbox Recovery software!

One of the major strengths of this software is that it allows you to directly export all recovered data to Live Exchange Server as well as Office 365. Here are the steps to export the repaired mailbox to Office 365:

  1. Follow steps 1 through 6 of the procedure mentioned in the previous section
  2. When the software prompts you to select an output format, select Office 365.
  3. A dialog box will appear prompting you to supply your Office 365 login credentials. Key in the required data.
  4. Click ‘OK’

How to prevent EDB file Corruption?

While the above mentioned software is a sure-shot remedy for Exchange corruption, it would be the best if you can avoid EDB file corruption altogether. Here are some tips that can help you avoid EDB file corruption:

  • Perform a manual integrity check on the database every quarter
  • Ensure that you always have a full backup of the database, especially before performing a manual integrity check
  • Also, ensure that there is quite a lot of free disk space on the server before you initiate an integrity check. You’ll need at least enough space for the entire volume of the database, plus 10 – 20 % for the overhead