How to recover or to restore a single mailbox in Exchange Server 2003

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Article ID: 823176 - View products that this article applies to.
For a Microsoft Exchange 2000 Server version of this article, see 813337.
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SUMMARY

This article describes two methods that you can use to recover or to restore a single mailbox in Microsoft Exchange Server 2003. If deletion retention settings are configured for mailboxes, and if the time that deleted mailboxes can remain on the server is not yet expired, you can recover individual or multiple mailboxes by using Exchange System Manager.

If you delete a mailbox and the retention settings for deleted items are not configured for mailboxes or if the time that deleted mailboxes can remain on the server has expired, you can recover mailboxes to an alternative server or to a recovery server. You can recover the mailboxes from a backup without any interruption to your production environment.

Method 1: Restore a Mailbox By Using Exchange System Manager

Use this method if the retention settings for deleted items are configured for mailboxes, and the time that deleted mailboxes can remain on the server has not yet expired.

Verify or Configure Mailbox Deletion Settings

To verify or configure mailbox deletion settings, follow these steps:
  1. Start Exchange System Manager
  2. If the Display administrative groups option is enabled, expand Administrative Groups, and then expand AdministrativeGroup (where AdministrativeGroup is the name of your administrative group).

    Note To display administrative groups, right-click YourOrganization, click Properties, click to select the Display administrative groups check box, click OK, click OK, and then restart Exchange System Manager.
  3. Expand Servers, expand YourServerName, and then expand YourStorageGroupName.
  4. Right-click Mailbox Store, and then click Properties.
  5. Click the Limits tab.
  6. In the Keep deleted mailboxes for (days) box, specify the number of days that deleted items can remain on the server before they are permanently deleted, and then click OK.

Restore a Mailbox by Using Exchange System Manager

To restore a mailbox by using Exchange System Manager:
  1. Start Exchange System Manager
  2. If the Display administrative groups option is enabled, expand Administrative Groups, and then expand AdministrativeGroup (where AdministrativeGroup is the name of your administrative group).

    Note To display administrative groups, right-click YourOrganization, click Properties, click to select the Display administrative groups check box, click OK, click OK, and then restart Exchange System Manager.
  3. Expand Servers, expand YourServerName, and then expand YourStorageGroupName.
  4. Expand Mailbox Store, right-click Mailboxes, and then click Run Cleanup Agent.
  5. Right-click the mailbox that you want to recover, and then click Reconnect.
  6. In the list of Microsoft Active Directory directory service accounts that appears, click the user account where you want the mailbox to connect, and then click OK.
  7. Quit Exchange System Manager.

Method 2: Use the Recovery Storage Group Feature to Recover the Mailbox

The recovery storage group is a specialized storage group in Exchange 2003. After you restore a mailbox store to the recovery storage group, use the Exmerge.exe tool to move the recovered mailbox data from the recovery storage group to the regular storage group. For more information about how to recover a mailbox by using the Recovery Storage Group feature, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
824126 How to use Recovery Storage Groups in Exchange Server 2003

Method 3: Restore a Mailbox from Backup to a Recovery Server

Use this method if the mailbox object in the recovery storage group cannot be matched to a user object in Active Directory that has the same msExchMailboxGUID value. This situation may occur if the user account is deleted from Active Directory or if the Exchange attributes are removed from the user account, and the mailbox in the Exchange store was not reconnected or was purged.

To recover a mailbox from backup, you must have a recovery server that has sufficient storage capacity to install Exchange Server 2003 and to restore the private information store database. This server can be on the same physical network as your production Exchange Server 2003 computer.

To restore a mailbox from a backup to a recovery server:
  1. Make a note of the following information that is on the production Exchange Server 2003 computer:
    • Organization name
    • Administrative group name
    • Storage group name
  2. Install Windows 2000 Server or Windows Server 2003 on the recovery server, and then create a new Active Directory forest.
  3. Run Exchange Server 2003 Setup, and then create a new organization that uses the same name as your existing Exchange organization.
  4. Do one of the following, as appropriate to your situation:
    • If the name of your administrative group is First Administrative Group, go to step 6.

      -or-
    • To install Exchange Server 2003 to an administrative group other than the First Administrative Group:
      1. Run Exchange Server 2003 Setup, and then install Microsoft Exchange System Management Tools.

        Important At this point, do not install Microsoft Exchange Messaging and Collaboration Services. Type the name of your administrative group (the same name as the administrative group on your production server).
      2. Start Exchange System Manager.
      3. Right-click your organization, and then click Properties.
      4. Click the General tab, click to select the Display administrative groups check box, and then click OK.
      5. Quit and then restart Exchange System Manager.
      6. Right-click Administrative Groups, point to New, and then click Administrative Group.
      7. In the Name box, type the name of the administrative group, and then click OK.

        Important You must use the same name that you used to name the administrative group on your production Exchange Server 2003 computer.
      8. Quit Exchange System Manager.
  5. Run Exchange Server 2003 Setup, and then install Microsoft Exchange Messaging and Collaboration Service and Microsoft Exchange System Management Tools (if the Exchange System Management Tools are not already installed on the server).
  6. Configure the storage group name to use the same name as the production Exchange Server 2003 computer. To do so:
    1. Start Exchange System Manager.
    2. Expand Administrative Groups, and then expand AdministrativeGroupName.
    3. Expand Servers, and then expand YourServerName.

      If the name of the storage group on the production server uses a name other than First Storage Group, configure the storage group name to use the same name as the storage group on the production Exchange Server 2003 computer.
  7. Dismount the database. To do so:
    1. Right-click Mailbox Store, and then click Dismount Store.
    2. Click Yes when you are prompted to continue.
    3. Right-click Mailbox Store, and then click Properties.
    4. Click the Database tab, and then click to select the This database can be overwritten by a restore check box.
    5. Click OK.
    6. Quit Exchange System Manager.
  8. Delete the existing database and log files that are on the recovery server. To do so:
    1. Start Windows Explorer.
    2. Locate and then click the C:\Program Files\Exchsrvr\Mdbdata folder.

      Note The C:\Program Files\Exchsrvr folder is the default installation location for Exchange Server 2003. If you installed Exchange Server 2003 to a different folder, the location of the Exchsrvr folder is different on your computer.
    3. On the Edit menu, click Select All.
    4. Press the DELETE key.
    5. Click Yes when you are prompted to confirm the deletion.
  9. Restore the database files from backup.
  10. Mount the database. To do so:
    1. Start Exchange System Manager.
    2. Expand Administrative Groups, and then expand AdministrativeGroupName.
    3. Expand Servers, expand YourServerName, and then expand YourStorageGroupName.
    4. Right-click Mailbox Store, and then click Mount Store.
    5. Click OK when you receive the message that indicates that the store successfully mounted.
  11. Create a new user in Active Directory Users and Computers. Make sure that you do not make the new user account mailbox-enabled. To create the new user:
    1. Start Active Directory Users and Computers.
    2. Right-click Users, point to New, and then click User.
    3. Specify the user name and the user logon name in the appropriate boxes, and then click Next.
    4. Specify the password information for the user, and then click Next.
    5. Click to clear the Create an Exchange mailbox check box, and then click Next.
    6. Click Finish.
  12. In Exchange System Manager, expand Mailbox Store, right-click Mailboxes, and then click Run Cleanup Agent.
  13. Recover the mailbox. To do so:
    1. Right-click the mailbox that you want to recover, and then click Reconnect.
    2. In the list of Active Directory accounts, click the user account that you created in step 12, and then click OK.
  14. Use Microsoft Outlook to export the mailbox data to a .pst file or use the Exmerge.exe tool to extract data from multiple mailboxes.

    To download Exmerge.exe, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
    http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&familyid=429163EC-DCDF-47DC-96DA-1C12D67327D5

Additional information

The ExMerge utility does not support Unicode .pst files. If you export data from Outlook 2003, the default .pst format is Unicode. To work around this issue, create an ANSI .pst file. This is a .pst file that is compatible with Outlook 97 and with Outlook 2003. To do this, follow these steps:
  1. In Outlook 2003, click New on the File menu, and then click Outlook Data File.
  2. In the New Outlook Data File dialog box, click Outlook 97-2002 Personal Folders File (.pst), and then click OK
  3. In the Create or Open Outlook Data File dialog box, choose a location in the Save In box, and then type a name for the file, such as Exmerge.pst. The Save as type setting will be Personal Folders Files (*.pst) . Click OK.
  4. In the Create Microsoft Personal Folders dialog box, you can modify the Name line with a display name that is unique, such as "Exmerge Data" without the quotation marks. This is how the .pst file will appear when you view it in the Folder List in Outlook. Click OK . Keep the defaults settings for the other settings.
  5. The new file will appear in the Folder List in Outlook. Right-click this file, and then click Close folder name. folder name is the display name that you set in step 4.
  6. On the File menu, click Import and Export.
  7. In the Import and Export Wizard, click Export to a file, and then click Next .
  8. On the Export to a file page, click Personal Folder File (.pst), and then click Next.
  9. On the Export Personal Folders page, select the folder to export. If you want to export the whole contents of the mailbox, click the user name at the top of the Select the folder to export from tree, and then click Next.
  10. On the Export Personal Folders page, use the Browse button to locate and to select your newly created .pst file. Click OK when it is selected, and then click Finish . To view the file contents to make sure that the data was exported correctly, open the file in Outlook. To do this, click Open on the File menu, click Outlook Data File, and then click your file.

REFERENCES

For more information about Exchange Server 2003, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb123872.aspx

Properties

Article ID: 823176 - Last Review: October 25, 2007 - Revision: 2.7
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 Enterprise Edition
  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 Standard Edition
Keywords: 
kbhowtomaster KB823176

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