Data Management

Eight steps to restore an individual Exchange 2010 mailbox with System Center Data Protection Manager

Exchange admins often have to restore an individual mailbox rather than an entire database. John Joyner shows you eight steps to do this using PowerShell commands and Microsoft System Center DPM.

There are few viable organizations that don't back up their Exchange databases. The total loss of an email system and all the corporate knowledge it contains is at best a catastrophe for any organization. Everyone will agree that if you are using on-premise or private cloud Exchange servers for your business, the databases must be backed up. Most IT pros know there are dozens if not hundreds of Exchange backup tools and solutions, and the cost and complexity factors can run quite high.

While the main purpose of Exchange backup is to enable server, storage, and datacenter disaster recovery (DR) scenarios, a common and routine request of Exchange admins is to restore an individual mailbox. Microsoft does not provide a native and fully automated way to granularly restore a single mailbox from an Exchange database backup. This feature can be a make-or-break decision for Exchange admins when selecting a backup solution. Some good news is that a combination of native Exchange 2010 PowerShell commands and Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager 2010 (DPM) can achieve mailbox-level recovery with surprising ease.

Without the ability to restore an individual mailbox, it is necessary to first restore an entire Exchange database, and then extract the desired mailbox from the recovered database. Having your Exchange 2010 recovery database folders pre-staged, and customizing the following steps for your environment can reduce the time needed to perform individual mailbox restores to a manageable level. Mailbox recovery using native Exchange 2010 and DPM 2010 features is a fairly straightforward process. Here are some proven steps to deliver a recovered mailbox to a user in the form of a PST file.

Scenario

User John Smith reports he accidentally force-deleted some emails out of his mailbox, and he needs the data back. After confirming that deleted item recovery is not available to the user with Outlook, complete these steps and afterwards instruct the user to add the PST as a Data File to his Outlook profile. The entire contents of the recovered mailbox will be in a folder named "Recovery" inside that PST, and the user can browse to the PST and copy and paste the missing emails back into their normal mailbox.

1. Using Exchange Management Console, find out which mailbox server the database of the current mailbox is on, for example, "John Smith" mailbox is in database DB01 on mailbox server MAILBOX01. 2. Create a new temporary user with "(Recovered)" in the user name, with the mailbox located in the same database. "John Smith (Recovered)" in DB01 in this example. 3. Activate a recovery database on that mailbox server, MAILBOX01 in this example, by running this Exchange PowerShell cmdlet:
New-MailboxDatabase -Recovery -Name RDB1 -Server MAILBOX01 -EdbFilePath "C:\mountpoints\rdb1-db\RDB1-DB.ebd" -LogFolderPath "C:\mountpoints\rdb1-log"
Tip: Prepare two pairs of recovery database storage folders for each mailbox server. A recovery database named RDB1 might have storage folders pre-staged, such as C:\mountpoints\rdb1-db and C:\mountpoints\rdb1-log. MAILBOX01 would have an RDB1 and an RDB2 prepared, each with a database and a log folder pre-created and ready to restore into. 4. Perform the mailbox restore operation in the DPM console.
  • Navigate to the Recovery space, then browse in the left pane to select the Exchange server name where the database replica resides (DB01 in this example). If you are using Exchange 2010 high-availability Database Availability Groups (DAGs), the replica will be listed in DPM under a mailbox server running a standby database copy, not the primary server where you created the recovery mailbox.

Figure A - Selecting to recover an Exchange 2010 mailbox with DPM 2010
  • See in the screenshot of the DPM console (Figure A) that DPM will recover the mailbox from the standby copy backed up from mailbox server MAILBOX02.
  • Select the recovery date and time from the calendar portion of the display. Locate the user mailbox in the Recoverable Item area, right click, and select Recover.
  • Choose to recover to an Exchange Server database, and type the name of the server and recovery database that are prepared for the restore, such as MAILBOX01 and RDB1.
  • Click through to complete the wizard and start the restore job.
5. When the DPM job is complete, run the following Exchange Powershell cmdlet to migrate the recovered mailbox content to the recovery user mailbox in a folder named "Recovery":
Restore-Mailbox -Identity 'John Smith (Recovered)' -RecoveryDatabase RDB1 -RecoveryMailbox 'John Smith' -TargetFolder Recovery
6. Next, extract the contents of the recovery mailbox to a PST folder to deliver to the user by running the following Exchange Powershell cmdlet:
New-MailboxExportRequest -Mailbox JohnSmithRecovered -FilePath \\MAILBOX01\RECOVERED.PST$\JohnSmith.Recovered.pst
Tip: Pre-create the shared folder that will contain the PST file, RECOVERED.PST$ in this example. The folder needs to grant full access to the Exchange Trusted Subsystem group. 7. Deliver the PST file to the user, and delete the Active Directory account and mailbox of the temporary user "John Smith (Recovered)" in this example. 8. Finally, remove the recovery database created for this restore job by running the following Exchange Powershell cmdlet:
Remove-MailboxDatabase -Identity RDB1

There will still be files in the recovery database and log folders (C:\mountpoints\rdb1-db, etc. in this example). The contents of these folders must be manually deleted before you can use those folders in the next recovery job.

About

John Joyner, MCSE, CMSP, MVP Cloud and Datacenter Management, is senior architect at ClearPointe, a cloud provider of systems management services. He is co-author of the "System Center Operations Manager: Unleashed" book series from Sams Publishing, ...

26 comments
fortyndis
fortyndis

Exchange Server Recovery Software is now updated with excellent set of features! The new updated 14.05.01 version of Exchange Server consists of major additions that not only increase the overall productivity of the tool but lets the user perform better and quick Exchange file recovery. http://exchangerepairsoftware.blogspot.com

JohnBond1
JohnBond1

EDB Repair Kit

This Exchange EDB repair software is the only tool required for comprehensive, fast and cost-efficient recovery of Exchange server data after serious data corruption accidents.


For more information: http://www.edb.repair/

joshuajones1310
joshuajones1310

 Hello everyone


Hi John Joyner, Thanks for sharing this informative information it is very help full post and I really enjoyed reading it, you are a great author John. I am bit late to know as I used Exchange recovery software for repairing corrupted EDB file (http://edbconversion.wordpress.com/software/). This software helps me to restore mailbox data from inaccessible EDB file to Live Exchange server EDB file format and Outlook PST file format. 

ericsimson5
ericsimson5

What will happen if powershell scripts & Microsoft System Center DPM does not restores the mailboxes from corrupt or damaged exchange database. In many cases, it has been observed that due to any hardware/software problems or due to the improper execution of the PowerShell Scripts, it gets difficult to restore even a single mailboxes. And, the person who is an expert in PowerShell scripts, can only execute the cmdlets properly. It is not necessary that every Exchange Admin is expert in PowerShell cmdlets, so in that case, you can try any third party exchange recovery tools like 


http://www.stellarinfo.com/edb-exchange-server-recovery.htm

http://www.pcvita.com/edb-converter.html

storyreadin
storyreadin

EDB recovery tutorial provide effective solution for exchange mailbox data recovery, With the help of tutorial user can easily recover email and other data from corrupted database. For more help visit here http://www.edbtopsttutorial.net/

jhondrake
jhondrake

Good article, I found good information related to restore individual Exchange mailbox from http://www.exchangerecoveryreview.com which allow to restore individual exchange mailboxes from live exchange server, unmounted edb files to pst, eml and msg format without any problem.

christina_recovery
christina_recovery

I have used New-MailboxRestoreRequest command but my database couldn’t restored then I tried a conversion tool named as EDB to PST which has features to recover corrupted, offline EDB file, it performs even recovery of permanently deleted emails. If anyone didn’t get the solution even after using inbuilt commands, then they can go for this recovery cum migration tool.


More Information - http://www.recovery-tools.org/exchange-server-edb/

ericsimson5
ericsimson5

I tried Powershell cmdlet New-MailboxDatabase -Recovery to restore mailbox but it did not work for me as some hardware error occured in between which halted the restoration process. Then I tries Stellar Exchange server recovery software and successfully restored my mailbox quickly without any hassle. For more info, you can visit http://www.stellarinfo.com/edb-exchange-server-recovery.htm 

strainmark25
strainmark25

Thanks for such a well-informed post for the recovery of Exchange mailboxes though I use a GUI application (http://www.convertedbtopst.com/exchange-recovery/ )during Exchange Server crash and it is time saving as well as safe to use and easily restore Exchange mailboxes from offline EDB.

jayshawn30
jayshawn30

Thanks for sharing this informative post with us. A very precise solution for Exchange users who have been facing the same trouble since long. In case the inbuilt tools provided by Microsoft failed to bring in results, users can go for a third party application. Browse here for in-depth information - http://www.exchangerecover.com/recovery-tool-for-exchange.html

jcosta7218
jcosta7218

Just to thank you. Thank you. Saved my day.

Joaquim Costa

luciferjemmie
luciferjemmie

Thanks john for showing knowledgeable steps to recover mailboxes. I m bit late to know as i used a Server-Compatible app (http://www.edb-pst.net/exchange-mailbox-recovery.html) when Exchange server was crashed. I really needed a short escape to restore all mailboxes while Exchange was unavailable. Well, its never too late for Good Ideas, Cheers!!

jennylembert
jennylembert

Here is a third party tool: http://www.recover-computerdata.com/exchange-server-recovery.html that offers following options to Exchange server users: - Repair and Rebuild Damaged Exchange databases - Options to recover lost/deleted mailbox items. - Option to convert EDB to PST file to access the mailbox items - Allows users to mount rebuilt databases directly to MS Exchange Server - Able to fix all corruption situations - Compatible to all versions of MS Exchange Server - A free trial version is also available !

luciferjemmie
luciferjemmie

Thanks john for showing such interesting and knowledgeable steps to recover Exchange mailboxes. I m bit late to know as i used a GUI based app (http://www.edb-pst.net/exchange-mailbox-recovery.html) when Exchange server was crashed. I really needed a short escape to restore all mailboxes while Exchange was unavailable. Well, its never late for Good Ideas, Cheers!!

mikeld24
mikeld24

John, Your instructions for this process contain unnecessary steps. You can restore directly from a Recovery Database (RDB) to the affected user's mailbox. You do not have to create a temporary user to recover the mail. You can skip steps 2, 5 & 6. Command to create a a new Mailbox Restore Request New-MailboxRestoreRequest -SourceDatabase RDB1 -SourceStoreMailbox 'John Smith' -TargetMailbox jsmith -TargetRootFolder Recovery Command to check on the restore request Get-MailboxRestoreRequest | Get-MailboxRestoreRequestStatistics This will allow the user to go through the recovered email with having having to copy a PST on the network and will save the email admin from doing necessary work.

christa321
christa321

Thanks John for the useful steps to restore mailbox. I just want to add that there are some third party Exchange server recovery applications available online which help to repair and restore corrupted mailboxes like this: http://www.recover-computerdata.com/exchange-server-recovery.html These utilities come with a rich GUI and allow the users to easily recover and restore single as well as multiple Exchange mailboxes at a time.

Scott Lowe
Scott Lowe

I love DPM... it's a great tool. However, for this kind of recovery, it's an absolute monster. For SharePoint and SQL, DPM is incredibly good (and FAST). MS needs to improve Exchange recovery. Scott

cdhscott
cdhscott

Recovering deleted items from a users mailbox should be much, much, much easier than the example above. For events this common, a 100% gui interface should be implemented. I don't have time for the junk above or the memory space to remember the process. Recovering email should be as easy as recovering deleted items using Undelete.

gabriel.tate
gabriel.tate

I like whats written about 2010 DPM but I have never been able to get it to work. After manually installing the agent on several severs, the service will not start. I always get error 1168. We actually have a license for it but its worthless since I can never get the agents to work.

alengum
alengum

@ericsimson5  However, above solution worked for many, but 3rd party tools are always easier to use.

John Joyner
John Joyner

Hi Mike - Thanks for the input. Of course the export to PST is not technically necessary if you restore directly from the RDB to the user's mailbox. However these steps were prepared for a large enterprise environment where a mailbox recovery scenario that was supported by all use cases was needed. These use cases frequently include forensic and ex-employee scenarios where recovery of old mailboxes to current mailboxes is not desired. So the extra steps provide a repeatable process that satisfies all stakeholders.

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