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The EDB file is the main repository of the Exchange database. Repairing a corrupt EDB file is the worst-case scenario for every Exchange administrator.
Ways to recover a corrupt EDB file ^
Several ways exist to recover data from a corrupt EDB file:
- Restore the EDB file from the last backup
- Recover the EDB file using Exchange native tools (ESEUTIL).
- Use a third-party tool such as Stellar Phoenix Mailbox Exchange Recovery.
Restoring the EDB file from the last backup is usually a time-consuming and nerve-racking procedure. You have to overwrite the corrupt EDB file with the last backup, which often means that you lose the most recent data. The Exchange server will be offline during the recovery process and you will have to expend a lot of time and effort before you are online again.
An alternative is to recover the database with Microsoft’s ESEUTIL tool. However, this is also a very complex and time-consuming procedure. You first have to repair the database with the ESEUTIL /R command. Next, you run ESEUTIL /D to defrag the database. Finally, you have to execute ISINTEG -fix to finish the repair.
The Exchange server will be down until the recovery of the database has completed. You could create a dialtone (empty) database, so users can send and receive emails while the recovery process runs. This could take a couple of hours or days depending on the size and level of corruption.
After the database is fixed, you have to merge it with the dialtone database that contains the live mailboxes. Microsoft doesn’t offer easy-to-use graphical tools for this procedure. You have to work with PowerShell, and the process is fairly complex.
Recover with Stellar Phoenix Mailbox Exchange Recovery ^
With Stellar Phoenix Mailbox Exchange Recovery, the recovery of a corrupt Exchange database is much easier and more straightforward. The tool supports Exchange 2013 and all previous versions.
When you start the tool the first time, it will ask you to run either a quick scan or an extensive scan. A quick scan is faster and fixes most corruption issues. If a quick scan fails to fix the issue, you have to run an extensive scan. It takes more time, but your problem is more likely to be solved.
Selecting the scan mode
After the database is recovered, you can preview the emails from each mailbox and all its folders, including the inbox, sent items, outbox, drafts, deleted items, calendar, contacts, and notes folders.
You can export the database in different formats, such as PST, MSG, EML, HTML, RTF, and PDF, to share it with users. In addition, you can export the email contents directly to the target mailboxes of the dialtone database. You can do this for an individual mailbox or for all recovered mailboxes.
Exporting mailboxes in different formats
To perform this operation, you need the Server Console EXE tool to grant full mailbox rights to disconnected mailboxes. You can download the tool from the vendor’s website.
The entire procedure is much easier than with the native Exchange tools. Manually exporting or restoring the database and merging it with the live database using PowerShell requires extensive experience.
Restore with Stellar Phoenix Mailbox Exchange Recovery ^
You first have to restore the database from a backup to a recovery database. Next, you have to mount the database with Exchange and extract the data you need with PowerShell cmdlets. You can then share the PST file with the user or merge the data with the target mailbox. This is a longwinded procedure if you just want to restore a couple of individual mailbox items that a user accidentally deleted.
With Stellar Phoenix Mailbox Exchange Recovery, the restore process is much easier. First, you use the tool’s search features to locate the items you want to restore. You can search in different fields (To, From, Subject, Body, etc.) and limit your search to specific dates.
Searching user emails
You can then easily connect to the restore database and directly copy the emails to the user’s mailbox.
In addition to the ability to restore individual mailbox items, Stellar Phoenix Mailbox Exchange Recovery allows you to save the complete recovered database in the image format, so you can restore data quickly next time.
The only feature I missed was detailed logging. The tool logs some information such as when the EDB file was scanned and the number of mailboxes it found. However, when I did multiple operations such as exporting messages in multiple formats, the actions did not appear in the logs.
In my view, Stellar Phoenix Mailbox Exchange Recovery belongs in every administrator’s toolbox. It is a very easy-to-use tool that any administrator can use to repair a corrupt EDB file or recover user data with minimal or no prior training. If you are an Exchange administrator, you should give the tool a try. You can download it here.