Email Repair

Fix-Unable to Initialize Exchange Information Store Service

Author: Ravi Singh | Updated on September 2, 2020 | Email Repair

Summary: The article explains Exchange error "Unable to initialize the Microsoft Exchange Information Store service", its causes, and solutions to resolve the error manually. It also explains a solution to repair EDB, if it corrupts due to the Exchange error.

Errors in Microsoft Exchange services such as MS Exchange Information Store Service may appear anytime due to software or hardware related problems. Solving them without or with minimal downtime is the primary task of any Exchange server administrator.

"Unable to initialize the Microsoft Exchange Information Store service." is a critical MS Exchange services error that is displayed when the Exchange server fails to start or initialize the Information Store Service after the Exchange Server 2010/2007 restarts. If the error persists even after several restarts, it indicates a problem with the Exchange Server.

Also, this critical error with Event ID 5003 puts the entire database (EDB) at risk. It may damage the EDB files including priv1.edb and pub1.edb and turn them inaccessible. Thus, it's critical to resolve the error immediately.

Why Microsoft Exchange Information Store Service is not starting?

MS Exchange Information Store Service may fail to initialize due to several reasons. However, the error message usually appears when the clock on the Server computer and the domain controller is not synced appropriately. Due to this, a time change is recorded either on the Server or domain controller and thus, Exchange server fails to initialize the Information Store service.

Other reasons that may cause the Exchange Information Store service error,

  • Deleting the default policy from 'Email Address Policies' tab
  • Replacing the default policy by custom email address policy

Steps to Fix Exchange Information Store Service Error

Follow these troubleshooting steps to resolve the Exchange server error.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Before proceeding, back up EDB files and mailboxes.

Step 1: Restart the Server (If you haven't already)

Simply login to the Windows server and restart it. After the restart, check if the system initializes the Microsoft Exchange Information Store Service successfully.

Step 2: Make Sure that Domain is Correctly Configured

Check the Exchange configuration settings and ensure domain name and settings are rightly configured.

Step 3: Verify that Domain is Currently Online

Ensure Domain Controller and services are online.

Step 4: Reset Time on Exchange Server and Domain Controller Manually

If you have access to Exchange Server and Domain Controller, check that both machines' time is synced. If not, manually set the clock on both and restart.

Step 5: Restart Exchange Active Directory Topology Service

Open Services and restart the Exchange Active Directory Topology Service. Once the service starts, you can then initialize the Exchange Information Store Service. But before restarting the service, launch the command prompt as Administrator and execute the following command,

Net time \\ADServerName /Set

Now restart MS Exchange Active Directory Topology Service by following these steps:

  • Press Windows+R, type services.msc and press 'Enter' or click 'OK'
  • Scroll down and locate Microsoft Exchange Active Directory Topology service
  • Click 'Restart' or Right-click on the service and choose 'Stop'
  • Once service stops, right-click again and choose 'Start'

Note: It is vital to restart Exchange Active Directory Topology Service to fix Exchange error.

Step 6: Workaround to Replace Default Policy

The procedure to replace the Default policy is discussed below. Follow the given steps carefully to avoid any inconsistency issues.

  1. Press Windows key + R, type 'adsiedit.msc' and click OK
  2. In the Select a well-known Naming Context window that appears, go to the Configuration option and then click on OK button
  3. Expand the following options to proceed further:
    • Configuration (the_Domain_Controller_Name. the_Name_Of_The_Domain.com)
    • CN=Configuration, DC= domain, DC=com
    • CN=Services
    • CN=Microsoft Exchange
    • CN=Organization
    • CN=Recipient Policies
  4. Right-click on Email Address Policy and select Properties from the options
  5. Click on Attribute option and then search purportedSearch. Make sure that the value assigned is (mailNickname=*). If the value corresponding to the purportedSearch column is not (mailNickname=*), it needs to be modified manually by following the given procedure:
    • a. Go to purportedSearch value, click on Edit and then click on Clear option

      b. Next, in the Value field, type (mailNickname=*) and click on OK to save changes

  6. Once you have completed modifying the value corresponding to purportedSearch column, click on Attribute, then click on msExchPolicyOrder and click on Edit
  7. Next, go to Clear, provide value 2147483647 in the Value field and double click OK
  8. Then exit Active Directory Service Interface (ADSI) Edit
  9. Restart the Exchange Server to update modifications

If all these steps and replacing the Default Policy by custom email address policy fails to fix Exchange error, there is no other option left to bring the database to a consistent mode. And if these steps fail to fix the error, you may face data loss or corruption on any one or more EDB files.

Use an Exchange Repair Tool to Fix Corrupt EDB

Doesn't matter if the server still fails to initialize Microsoft Exchange Information Store Service or not, there are chances that the EDB file may get corrupt in this chaos.

To fix EDB corruption, you can use backup to restore the database. If a backup isn't available or obsolete, use a professional tool such as Stellar Repair for Exchange.

Free download


The tool not only helps recover data from Exchange mailbox database when it becomes corrupt or inaccessible but also when the database is in inconsistent state.

This EDB recovery software is an ultimate tool for Exchange admins to restore the database to its original working state with minimum efforts and downtime.

The recovered data can then be exported to the Live Exchange Server environment with a few clicks. The application also helps export the recovered Exchange Mailboxes data to Office 365.

Further, you can resolve any Exchange mailbox corruption by using this software. It can recover data from Exchange database after a dirty shutdown, JET engine failure, improper shutdown, corrupt header, virus infections and other similar errors. Also, it can process multiple offline EDBs without compromising the integrity of mailboxes.

The tool supports Exchange Server 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007 and lower editions.

In case, the administrator or user needs to access mailbox data via other applications, the tool allows exporting recoverable data to PST, EML, RTF, PDF, MSG and HTML formats. Thus, one can import or view the exported mailboxes through various applications such as Windows Live Mail, MS Outlook, Apple Mail, etc.

We hope this guide helped you fix the Microsoft Exchange error Unable to initialize the Microsoft Exchange Information Store service.

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