How to Take Exchange 2016/2013 Mailbox Backup Using PowerShell Cmdlets

Summary:This is an instructional guide on how you can create Exchange 2016 or Exchange 2013 server backup by using the PowerShell or Exchange Management Shell (EMS) cmdlets. It also discusses the benefits & drawbacks of the entire process, and suggests an alternative backup solution for Exchange 2016 and 2013.

Taking a backup can curb data loss to a considerable extent. Similarly, Exchange mailboxes need a strict backup strategy that must be followed by database administrators (DBAs) to safeguard data against adverse conditions. The backup files must be stored carefully, preferably at least two copies – one onsite and another at an offsite location, so that they can be restored in the instance of server failure or downtime.

All Exchange Server editions come with backup capabilities. You can create a backup of the entire server, single or multiple Exchange databases, and individual or multiple mailboxes based on the needs. When it comes to back up Exchange 2016 or Exchange 2013 mailbox, you can do it via,

  • Exchange Admin Center (EAC)
  • Exchange Management Shell (EMS) Cmdlets

These allow you to back up individual or multiple mailboxes at once in PST file format. However, in this guide, we will discuss methods and steps to create Exchange server mailbox backup using EMS cmdlets on a Windows server.  

EMS or Exchange Management Shell is a command-line shell build on top of PowerShell to perform various Exchange administrator tasks and operations such as backup.

Why Use EMS PowerShell Commands for Exchange 2016/2013 Backup?

Exchange Admin Center (EAC) features GUI interface which makes it easy to back up and export mailboxes from Exchange database to PST format.

However, EAC offers only limited options for backup. Plus, if you want to run other procedures, they can only be performed via Exchange Management Shell.

In a nutshell, PowerShell cmdlets give you better control over Exchange backup.

Methods to Take Backup of Exchange 2016/2013 Mailbox via PowerShell Commands

Here are a few methods to create Exchange 2016/2013 server mailbox backup by using PowerShell (EMS) cmdlet.

Method 1: Using New-MailboxExportRequest Cmdlet

Admins can export Exchange mailboxes to PST file using NewMailboxExportRequest command in EMS.

Pre-requisites

  • The user should be a member of role group with Mailbox Import Export role added. Admin can use the following command to assign permission to a user.

New-ManagementRoleAssignment -Role “Mailbox Import Export” -User DomainName/UserName or alias

  • Create a shared folder location to save exported PST backup files of the mailbox.

Steps to Back up Single Mailbox via PowerShell Command

First, ensure you know the name of the mailbox. To list all the mailboxes in your organisation, enter the following command in Exchange Management Shell (EMS),

Get-MailboxStatistics -Server YourExchangeServerName

Once identified, enter the following command to create mailbox backup on the shared folder location in PST format,

New-MailboxExportRequest -Mailbox “MailBoxName” -FilePath \\Servername\SharedFolderPathName\FileName.pst

By utilizing additional parameters such as -ContentFilter, you can modify or limit the scope of exported contents.

How to Use Parameters in PowerShell cmdlet to Back up Exchange Mailbox?

-ContentFilter Parameter

For instance, the following command lets you export items received before 01-01-2020 with subject beginning with ‘RE’,

New-MailboxExportRequest -Mailbox “MailBoxName” -ContentFilter {(Received -lt ’01/01/2020′) -and (Subject –like ‘Re*’)} -FilePath \\Servername\SharedFolderPathName\FileName.pst

-ExcludeFolders and -IncludeFolders Parameters

For instance, following command uses -IncludeFolder parameters to export only Inbox and Sent Items folders to PST for Exchange mailbox backup.

New-MailboxExportRequest -IncludeFolders “#Inbox#/*”,”#SentItems#” -Mailbox “MailBoxName” -FilePath \\Servername\SharedFolderPathName\FileName.pst

IsArchive Parameter

It is a switch parameter that describes the archive as the only export medium.

New-MailboxExportRequest -Mailbox “MailBoxName” -IsArchive -FilePath \\Servername\SharedFolderPathName\FileName.pst

-Name Parameter

The parameter is used to set name for an export request. It is used for tracking individual request when there are multiple export requests executed.

By default, Exchange assigns 10 consecutive names to the export requests per mailbox. When all 10 export requests are taken, the user is required to either remove the export requests or assign customized names using -Name parameter in order to proceed further with Exchange 2016/2013 mailbox backup process.

A single New-MailboxExportRequest command can contain more than one parameter to accomplish any particular operation.

How to Know It Worked?

You can do so by using the following commands,

Get-MailboxExportRequest -Mailbox “MailboxName” | Format-List 
Get-MailboxExportRequest -Status completed -Database RDB01

The latter command displays completed request of backup in RDB01 database.

To check the export progress, type following command

Get-MailboxExportRequestStatistics

You may also go to the Shared Folder location to check the backup PST file.

Export Multiple Mailboxes to PST for Exchange 2016/2013 Backup

You can also back up multiple Exchange mailboxes by using Foreach command. You may create and use a PowerShell script to back up selected users’ mailboxes at once or combine Foreach and Get-Mailboxes commands to back up all mailboxes in your organisation.

Pre-Requisites

  • The pre-requisites to perform the bulk export process are similar to that of a single mailbox export.

Back up Certain Exchange Mailboxes

Creating a script to export and backup certain Exchange mailboxes is easy. You need to create a variable and store the usernames of mailboxes that you want to backup.

$ExchangeMailboxes = "userName1", "userName2, "userNameN"

Then enter the following command to export these user mailboxes to PST for each


($User in ($ExchangeMailboxes)) { New-MailboxExportRequest -Mailbox $User -FilePath \\Servername\SharedFolderPathName\$($User).pst" }

The command starts creating backup of all mailboxes in your Exchange 2016/2013 server at the Shared Folder location.

Pros and Cons of PowerShell Based Exchange Backup Method

Although PowerShell commands help you back up Exchange mailboxes and give you more control over Exchange server, it may not work always. There are a few drawbacks and advantages of this method, which are discussed below,

Pros

• Converts EDB mailboxes to PST with mailbox filtering capabilities
• Supports bulk conversion of EDB mailboxes to PST altogether
• Modify PST export requests during the backup

Cons

• The backup process via PowerShell commands is lengthy and time-consuming
• Demands expertise and permissions for the execution of the export task
• Requires a huge amount of space in server storage media
• Involves the risk of PST corruption
• No preview is available for incorporated EDB contents
• Lack of centralized management of backup strategies and tasks
• Risk of huge data loss is involved due to typos

As an administrator, if you want to avoid these complexities involved in manual EDB to PST conversion via PowerShell commands, you can use an EDB to PST Converter tool such as Stellar Converter for EDB. The software allows you to export single or multiple mailboxes to PST file format and help you back up Exchange 2016/2013 mailbox with a few clicks.

Method 2: Back up Exchange 2016/2013 Mailboxes using Stellar Converter for EDB

Stellar Converter for EDB is a GUI-based tool that can be used for creating Exchange backup securely with minimum efforts and without errors. It almost automates the Exchange backup task. Also, you can:

• Export offline Exchange mailboxes to PST along with all integrated folders
• Export EDB mailboxes to multiple file-formats including EML, MSG, RTF, HTML, PDF, and Office 365
• Find and preview particular mails or mailboxes in the offline EDB
And it supports Exchange versions 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007, 2003, 2000, and Exchange 5.5.

Steps to convert Exchange Mailboxes to PST with the help of Stellar Converter for EDB:

  • Download, install and launch Stellar Converter for EDB
free download
  • Select Convert ‘Offline EDB’ option and then Select offline EDB file by clicking ‘Browse’ option
  • Click ‘Next’
  • After the scan, check the preview of mailboxes
  • Select mailboxes you want to backup and click ‘Save’ from File menu option
  • Select ‘PST’ file option and then specify the destination path where you want to save the converted PST file
  • Click ‘OK’ to start saving mailboxes to PST file at the selected location
  • Once finished, click ‘OK’ and close the program

After creating a backup of Exchange mailboxes in PST format, make sure to create at least 2 copies of each mailbox backup, one onsite and one offsite at another location. For maximum resilience against data loss, you may also follow the 3-2-1 backup strategy.

In case you find any issue or problem with the PowerShell based backup method or software, please leave a comment.

Comments(20)
  1. Natalie June 22, 2018
    • Eric Simson June 25, 2018

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