Summary: In this guide, we will discuss steps to export disconnected Exchange mailboxes to PST files in MS Exchange server 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007, 2003, and 5.5. This guide will help you migrate your disconnected mailbox from one Exchange server to another Exchange server, Outlook profile, or Office 365 account
A disconnected mailbox is often referred to as an offline mailbox, which is not linked to any user account in the Active Directory (AD). Thus, you cannot access the mail items stored in the disconnected mailbox. Many times, you may find yourself in a situation where you need to export the disconnected mailbox from your Exchange server that belongs to either ex-employees or old mailboxes in the Exchange database. Such disconnected mailboxes are often marked for deletion.
When a mailbox is disconnected, although it exists in the Exchange mailbox database (EDB), there is no user associated with it. Thus, you cannot directly export a disconnected mailbox to PST. Neither New-MailboxExportRequest command nor EAC can export disconnected mailboxes to PST as the command needs an identity/user association to connect to the mailbox and create mailbox export requests. In such cases, you need to perform additional steps where you need to create a temporary AD user, connect it to mailboxes and then export the mailboxes to PST. You can also use an EDB to PST converter software, such as Stellar Converter for EDB to directly extract mailboxes from offline or disconnected Exchange database or mailbox to PST. It saves time and efforts that may cause downtime in case of manual method.
Steps to Export Disconnected Exchange Mailbox to PST
Normally, to export a mailbox from your Microsoft Exchange server, you would use the New-MailboxExportRequest command in Exchange Management Shell (EMS), Exchange Management Console (EMC), or Exchange Admin Center (EAC).
However, when a mailbox is disconnected, you are required to perform additional steps to connect the mailbox to a user account in the Active Directory and then export the mailbox to PST via these Exchange tools.
The steps to export disconnected Exchange mailbox to PST via EMS, EMC, and EAC are as follows,
Step 1: Create a Temporary User Account
Create a temporary user account by using the EMS cmdlets.
Open the Exchange Management Shell as administrator and then execute the following command to enable AD module Import-Module ActiveDirectory
Then run the following command to create an AD User New-ADUser C.John
Check and confirm if the user is added to AD users list by using the following command, Get-ADUser -Filter * -Properties samAccountName | select samAccountName
This will list all the AD users. If you find C.John as AD user in the list, it means that the user is added to AD
Step 2: Connect the Disconnected Mailbox to Temporary AD User
Now you need to connect the temporary AD user (created in the earlier step) to the disconnected mailbox. For this, you can use the Exchange Management Console in Exchange 2010 or earlier versions and Exchange Admin Center in Exchange 2013 and later versions.
Connect AD User to Disconnected Mailbox via Exchange Management Console (EMC)
Open the Exchange Management Console and expand Recipient Configuration
Click on Disconnected Mailbox and find the disconnected mailbox that you want to recover and export to PST
Then click on the Disconnected Mailbox and choose ‘Connect…’
In Connect mailbox wizard, select ‘Existing User’ radio button and then click Browse to select the temporary AD user you created
Enter an Alias for the mailbox and click Next
Then click the Connect button
Connect AD User to Disconnected Mailbox by using Exchange Admin Center (EAC)
In the EAC, go to Recipients > Mailboxes and click on three dots
Then click Connect a mailbox. This will display a list of disconnected mailboxes on the Exchange server in your Exchange organization
Then click on the disconnected mailbox that you want to reconnect, and then click on the Connect button
In the next window, if it asks for confirmation that you want to reconnect the mailbox, click Yes
If everything goes right, the disconnected mailbox will be connected to the temporary AD user. Now that the mailbox is connected to AD user, you can use the New-MailboxExportRequest cmdlet in Exchange Management Shell to create a mailbox export request and export the disconnected mailbox (now connected) to PST. You can also use the Exchange Admin Center to export the mailbox to PST file.
In Exchange versions earlier than Exchange 2010 SP1, you can use the ExMerge utility to export mailbox to PST.
If you are using Microsoft Exchange 2007, then you must ensure the following to export disconnected Exchange mailbox to PST,
1. You must update the MS Exchange 2007 to Exchange 2010 SP1 or later to install and use the Exchange Management Tools
2. Microsoft Office 2003 or 2007 must be installed with the same requisites as of the operating system i.e. 32-bit and the user should be part of the Exchange Server Admin with permissions to Mailbox Export and Import in the Exchange Server
IMPORTANT NOTE: The New-MailboxExportRequest cmdlet is only available in on-premise Exchange 2010 SP1 or later versions. After the disconnected mailbox has been exported to the PST file, disable the mailbox in your Exchange environment and delete the temporary AD user.
How to Resolve Issues While Exporting Disconnected Mailbox to PST?
During mailbox export, you may experience some issues such as,
These errors are mostly related to permissions, mailbox access, and connectivity. However, we have already covered these common errors related to mailbox export to PST. Thus, if you encounter any of these, you can resolve it by following the linked guides and export disconnected mailboxes to PST. But if the errors remain unresolved or disconnected mailbox to PST export fails, you can download Stellar Converter for EDB software.
With the help of this software, you can export disconnected Exchange Mailbox to PST without creating an AD user or additional permissions that you required to export disconnected mailbox to PST via Exchange EMS, EMC, or EAC.
All you need to do is select the Exchange database file or EDB where the disconnected mailbox resides, convert it and then save the disconnected mailbox to PST file. It’s the fastest, most reliable and error-free method to export disconnected mailboxes to PST.
And unlike Exchange tools, this software works with all Exchange versions including 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007, 2003, and 5.5.
Besides exporting mailboxes from EDB files to PST, this EDB to PST Converter software provides options to export the disconnected mailbox to other formats, such as RTF, EML, PDF, MSG, HTML. You can also export the disconnected mailbox to a live Exchange server or Office 365 account. All this, with a few clicks and at your leisure.
Although you can export disconnected mailboxes to PST by using proprietary Exchange tools such as Exchange Management Console (EMC), Exchange Management Shell (EMS), and Exchange Admin Center (EAC), it involves several manual steps and permissions. These permissions are not even assigned to the Exchange administrator account by default.
Also, there are chances of errors during PST export, which can lead to unnecessary waste of time and effort. To avoid such situations and export disconnected, disabled, deleted, or soft-deleted mailbox to PST, use Stellar Converter for EDB software.
It’s a one-stop solution for all Exchange backup and migration needs, which makes Exchange admins job much easier and almost automated. You can download the free demo version now and try it yourself.
Eric Simson is an Email Platform Consultant and is associated with Stellar Data Recovery from last 6 years. He writes about the latest technology tips and provides custom solutions related to MS Outlook, MS Exchange Server, Office 365, and many other Email Clients & Servers.