XADM: Restoring a Single Database from Full Online Backups

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This article discusses the recommended approach to restoring a single database from full online backups for Microsoft Exchange Server 5.5. This article further assumes that you do not want to play forward beyond the date of the backup.


Assume that full backups are being taken of the information store databases (Priv.edb and Pub.edb), and the following backups have been made:

  • Monday - Full backup of information store (Backup #1, Log #1)
  • Tuesday - Full backup of information store (Backup #2, Log #2)
  • Wednesday - Full backup of information store(Backup #3, Log #3)
  • Thursday - Full backup of information store(Backup #4, Log #4)
During a full online backup, log files that have been committed to the databases are removed from disk. Following Thursday's backup, assume that only Log #4 exists on disk.

Assume that on Tuesday, a user deleted an important public folder and that to restore it, you need to recover the Pub.edb database back to Monday's backup and do not want to play forward any other transactions (you do not want the delete of the folder to be replayed). Also, you do not want to lose any data in the Priv.edb database.

Since the goal is to restore an old backup of a database, and not play forward, it will be necessary to remove log files that exist after the point in time you want the database to be restored to. In our scenario, anything after Log #1 should be removed. It is only safe to remove log files if the databases are consistent (which happens as a normal part of shutting down the information store). To remove the log files:

  1. Stop the information store.
  2. Ensure the Priv.edb database is consistent. To do so, at the command prompt, run:
    eseutil /mh priv.edb
  3. Do a full offline backup of the Priv.edb database and log files (this is a safety measure -- the backup isn't needed as part of the solution steps).
  4. After the offline backup completes, remove any log files that are present as well as the checkpoint file (*.log, Edb.chk).
  5. Restore the Pub.edb database from Backup #1. From within the Ntbackup program, select the Public check box, and clear the Private check box.
  6. Start the information store (if it didn't start automatically based on your restore selection).
Because the Pub.edb database is restored from tape in an inconsistent state (which is normal) with the log files at the time of backup, when the information store starts, recovery will begin, and will replay the newly restored transaction log files. The Priv.edb database will not be affected by this operation.

Log files contain the database signature of databases they are associated with. If the database signature has changed for a database, the Exchange database engine may produce an event log error about the inconsistency. In our example, if the Priv.edb database has been defragmented offline (which changes the database signature) after the date of the backup that we restored, the transaction log files restored from tape will be expecting a Priv.edb with a different database to be present. After restarting the information store and all the transaction logs have replayed, the Exchange database engine may log the following error:
   EventID:   134
   Source:    ESE97
   Type:      Error
   Category:  Logging/Recovery
   ((263) ) The database C:\ExchSrvr\mdbdata\priv.edb created at
   14:43:38 was not recovered.

This error is logged because during the the Exchange database engine initialization process, an attempt is made to associate the log files on the disk to the database. Because the database was defragmented, it carries a new database signature which prevents Jet from associating the log files to the database. This is not a fatal error, nor does it imply that the Priv.edb database is somehow damaged. Since the restore was for Pub.edb, and Priv.edb was in a consistent state, no transactions would have played into the Priv.edb database even if the database signature was still the same.

After recovery, the information store will run in a normal state with the current Priv.edb and the old Pub.edb.

You will see the following Warning by the information store:
   EventID:   1091
   Source:    MSExchangeIS
   Type:      Warning
   Category:  Recovery
   You have restored a public information store only.  This
   server contains
   a private information store and a public information store.
   Only the
   data in the public information store has been modified.

NOTE: Because the original transaction log files were removed in step 4 above (anything above Edb0001.log in our scenario), the Exchange database engine generation number will be started at the next log file number. This implies that the next log file in our example would be Edb0002.log. Because there was already an Edb0002.log file backed up in Backup#2, care must be taken to not confuse the log file numbers. A full online backup should immediately be taken, and all previous backups discarded (to avoid conflicts with transaction log files in the future).


Article ID: 191357 - Last Review: October 10, 2013 - Revision: 3.3
  • Microsoft Exchange Server 5.5 Standard Edition
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