What would be the reason of attaching and using an EDB file from another server? In a normal scenario this wouldn’t be the case but in this particular case where there was just one physical server with our Active Directory along with Exchange 2010 SP1 since the total users were about 20 members. There was a fire in the server room and the server was lost. In a normal scenario one would restore the backup but to the misfortune only the EDB file was being backed up. The Active Directory in this case was also lost and the admin last hope was to reconstruct the Active Directory and Exchange Server. Attach the EDB file and start working It’s not an easy task.
First one would need to install the server, configure DNS, DHCP and the Active Directory services. Setup the new schema and install all the new Windows Updates to have the server up to date. After installing all the pre-requisites, one would need to install Exchange Server 2010 and upgrade it to the same level as the previous one. In this case it would need to be upgraded to SP1 or higher.
After trying to mount the EDB on the new server, since it was imported from a different Active Directory and Exchange server, you will get an error and will not be able to mount. After checking with the EseUtil using the /mh as below, you can see a lot of information about the EDB file but looking the field of the state of the database you can see it’s in Dirty Shutdown
To mount a database, it should be in clean shutdown state. You may use Eseutil to bring the database to clean state and then attempt to mount the database.
However, an easier way is to use an Exchange recovery software, such as Stellar Repair for Exchange. By using this software, you can avoid multiple steps involved in setting up server, fixing database, etc. The software lets you fix the database and export the mailboxes from the database to a new Live Exchange server in a few clicks.
EseUtil /mh “d:\mail\recovery.edb”
In a normal scenario your database will show as Clean Shutdown and in the next step we will try to explore ways to recover the database and remove the Clean Shutdown message from the status. Looking at the results from the EseUtil using the /mh parameter we can see that the EDB to be active it is missing some log files and it will be shown as below
Log Required: 4-4 (0x4-0x4)
Since the log files aren’t available anymore, you would need to try a soft restore on the database to try to reconstruct the log file. Since the error is 0x4 the command needs to be constructed as below. Of course, depending on your error message, the number changes.
EseUtil /r E04 /l “d:\mail” /d “d:\mail”
If this one fails, then there no way to recover but by using the hard recovery. Small things to keep in mind with this is that it will take a considerate amount of time. Another thing to take in consideration is that the hard recovery will just discard the database pages that could not repair so with the /s parameter you need to accept data loss. This can be done by using the below command.
EseUtil /P “d:\mail”
Once this long process is done, the database is fragmented and in need of a defragmentation process. If you are using an older version from Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 you can use the IsInteg tool but after Exchange Server 2010 SP1 you can use the PowerShell command New-MailboxRepairRequest. Note about this command that it will take a long time and you cannot stop it once started. The only way is to kill the process but I wouldn’t suggest it as it would corrupt the database even more.
Once you manage to recover Exchange database you will be able to mount the database and access your emails. This of course will come to a cost, a lot of downtime, high administration cost and frustration on your Exchange admins but the most downside is the loss of data. Looking at this one would expect the business owners to accept the cost and downtime, unfortunately in most cases not but on the other hand if you are facing such a predicament you can use a third party called Stellar Repair for Exchange which makes life easy.
Instead of all this hassle, all you need to do is attach the database file to the application, browse the data store of the mailboxes, either export one or multiple mailboxes to PST or other formats like HTML, EML and PDF or your easily export the mailboxes to a live Exchange Server. The application can also export one or multiple mailboxes to Office 365 just in case you have a hybrid setup or even if you are migrating. There are a lot of search criteria to choose from and the possibilities are endless. It’s a must have application for when such issues or requirements happen. You will never know when a disaster can happen, the best way to handle these is to be prepared for it.
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.