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How to Extract Exchange Mailboxes from EDB file

Eric Simson  | Updated on January 19, 2021 | Exchange Server   | 10 Comments   | 6 min read

Summary: In this post, we’ve mentioned all the possible manual as well as alternative methods to extract mailbox from EDB File. Also, we’ve outlined the best practices implemented by Exchange administrators to perform this task, in case the EDB file is corrupted.

Microsoft Exchange server uses EDB (Exchange database) files to save all your important mailbox information, including emails, calendar events, contacts, notes etc. All the messages that are in-process as well as non-SMTP messages are also stored in EDB files. This file is, therefore, quite crucial for the proper functioning of the server.

You can extract mailbox from EDB file and save it in PST format by using Exchange Management Shell (EMS) cmdlets, such as New-MailboxExportRequest or Exchange Admin Center (EAC). However, sometimes, Exchange database goes offline or becomes dysfunctional due to various reasons, such as virus infections, system failures, hard drive failures, etc. More often than not, in such problematic cases, a damaged or inconsistent EDB file is the culprit.

Since the EDB file is where all the action takes place, any kind of damage to this file can lead to temporary or permanent mailbox inaccessibility or data loss. This can be quite devastating. Further, you can’t extract mailbox from such EDB file. To extract mailboxes from EDB file by using EMS or EAC, the database should be mounted and online.  

Thus, to revive a failed Exchange server, you can either repair the EDB file or extract mailbox from EDB file that has been damaged and save it in Outlook PST format or import directly into a new EDB file on live Exchange server by using an Exchange recovery tool.

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In this post, we’re focusing on the latter option wherein crucial mailbox data will be extracted from damaged EDB file. But before that let’s take a look at the scenarios in which you’d need to extract data from EDB file.

Reasons to Extract Mailbox from EDB File

Following are some reasons that may require you to extract mailbox from Exchange database file (EDB). 

  • Migrate mailbox to another Exchange server or Outlook profile.
  • Exchange database is not mounted and fails to mount due to damaged mailbox or database.
  • Exchange log file has a mismatched signature. This happens even when the database is consistent.
  • There is tampering from the antivirus program. Sometimes, the antivirus program installed on the server deletes or quarantines the log file. This can stop the database from mounting.
  • You run the Eseutil command and do not delete the log files. Another common Eseutil error is to run it with the incorrect log file name.
  • Exchange server is not working but all items from your Exchange account are stored in a cache. If this cache becomes corrupted, it will cause synchronization problems and cause the Exchange server to stop working.

Depending upon the scenario, there are different ways to extract mailboxes from EDB file. Read on to find out what all you can do to salvage your important data.

Methods to Extract Mailboxes and Data from EDB File

As mentioned earlier, to extract data from EDB file, the database should be mounted and online. If the database isn’t mounted, you may use the IsInteg and Eseutil utilities to repair the EDB file and mount it.

The Eseutil tool checks the integrity of your database and repairs it. The IsInteg utility performs a few tests on the database and fixes the errors that can be fixed. However, before you use any of these utilities, perform the following procedures:

  • Log in to the Exchange server with your administrator credentials.
  • Create a replica of the database files by using the backup directory.
  • Reallocate unwanted data and free up some hard disk space.
  • Run CHKDSK to see if there are no bad segments in the hard disk.

Once done, you can run the Eseutil utility to fix database by using the following steps:

  • Open command line.
  • Navigate to the C:\Program Files\Exchsrvr\bin folder using cd command
  • Run the eseutil/p <database_name> command.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The above command executes Hard Recovery on the database.

Then run IsInteg tool. Here are the steps:

  • Open command line.
  • Move to the C:\Program Files\Exchsrvr\bin folder.
  • Run isinteg – fix.
  • This will fix all errors. If the errors still persist, run the isinteg – fix command again.

NOTE: If this procedure fails to yield the desired results, use Mailbox Exchange Recovery software such as Stellar Repair for Exchange to recover mailbox from repaired EDB file. Stellar Repair for Exchange repairs the corruption and extract data from EDB file to PST, live Exchange or Office 365 account.

If Exchange isn’t working, manually extract Exchange mailbox from EDB file. You can use the ExMerge utility or New-MailboxExportRequest PowerShell cmdlet to convert EDB data to PST format so that you can access it easily through Outlook.

Here’s how you can use these utilities to extract mailbox data from EDB file.

Method 1: Use ExMerge

Perform the following procedure to extract Exchange mailboxes from EDB file by using ExMerge utility.

  • From the Microsoft support page, download the ExMerge utility.
  • Launch ExMerge.exe on your machine locally.
  • On the ExMerge.exe wizard, click on Next.
  • Select the Extract or Import (Two Step Procedure) option, and click on Next.
  • Select Step 1: Extract data from an Exchange Server Mailbox and click on Next.
  • In the Microsoft Exchange Server Name field, type the name of the Microsoft Exchange server from which you want to extract Exchange mailbox data from EDB.
  • From the Available Databases drop-down menu, select the database from which you want to extract the data and click on Next.
  • Select the mailboxes you want to operate on.
  • In the Folder Name field, click Change Folder to browse to the location where you want to save the PST file.
  • Click Next.
  • After the Process Status window displays the Operating completed successfully message, click Finish.

The ExMerge tool is an excellent free option to extract Exchange mailboxes from EDB. However, it is not always a feasible choice owing to the following limitations:

  • To run this utility, Exchange server 2003 must be installed on the system, along with administrative tools.
  • It supports EDB to PST only on Exchange versions: 5.5, 2000, and 2003.
  • Supported OS includes Windows Server 2003, XP, and Windows 2000 SP3. This utility does not work smoothly with Exchange server 2007.
  • A mailbox of size 2 GB or less can only be exported to PST or to another server.
  • For large-sized EDB file, the software takes around 45 minutes which means the process is time-consuming.
  • Only private Information Store can be exported from EDB to PST with ExMerge tool.

Thus, you’d need to have a very specific set of eligibility criteria if you wish to use the ExMerge tool to export EDB to PST.

Method 2: Use Exchange Management Shell (EMS)

You can use the New-MailboxExportRequest cmdlet in Exchange Management Shell (EMS), if you have Exchange 2007 or higher version installed, to extract mailboxes from EDB file.

You can refer to our detailed guide on How to Use New-MailboxExportRequest cmdlet to extract Exchange mailboxes to PST.

Method 3: Use Exchange Admin Center

You can also use the Exchange Admin Center or EAC to extract mailboxes from EDB file to PST format. To use it, you must have Mailbox Import Export Role assigned. The steps are as follows:

  1. Login to EAC and click on Recipients.
  2. Right-click on the mailbox that you want to export and choose Export to a PST file.
  3. Choose the desired option from Export to a .pst file dialog box and click ‘Next’.
  4. Now choose a location where you want to save the mailbox and click ‘Next’.
  5. Finally, choose the user account where email will be sent once the mailbox extraction is complete. Then click ‘Finish’.

Limitations of Above Methods

Following are some limitations of the manual approach to extract mailbox from EDB file.

  1. Requires Admin access, along with Mailbox Import Export Role (not assigned to Admin by default).
  2. These methods won’t work if the database is offline or dismounted.
  3. You can’t extract mailboxes from EDB file if the database or mailbox is corrupt.
  4. None of these methods are universal, this means each runs and works on specific Exchange version.

NOTE: To overcome the limitations of manual methods, extract Exchange mailboxes data from EDB by using a third-party tool. Using a reliable third-party tool to convert EDB to PST saves not just your time and effort but also relieves you of the risks of migration. We recommend using Stellar Converter for EDB to fulfil the job with finesse.

Conclusion

In this post, we’ve discussed methods and steps to extract mailboxes from EDB file in Exchange through tools, such as ExMerge, EAC, and EMS PowerShell cmdlet (New-MailboxExportRequest). Although you can use these tools to extract mailboxes to PST format, they have their limitations. To overcome these limitations, you can use third-party tools. If your database is corrupted, then Stellar Repair for Exchange tool can help you extract mailboxes from Exchange EDB file to PST and various other formats. If the database is in working condition or you have decommissioned Exchange server, you can use Stellar Converter for EDB to directly extract mailboxes from EDB file and export them to PST, live Exchange, or Office 365.

Comments(10)
  1. Mark Hemmeter July 6, 2019
  2. Mark Smith August 9, 2018
  3. Addison June 22, 2018
    • Eric Simson June 25, 2018
  4. Maria February 26, 2018
  5. Abe August 28, 2017
  6. Hackens August 21, 2017
    • Eric Simson August 22, 2017

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